Why is Cognitive Neuroscience Important?

This article will answer the question why cognitive neuroscience is important. It will also elaborate on what is neuroscience, what is cognitive neuroscience, and what is behavioural neuroscience. The article will also elaborate on what neurology is. In the end, the article will answer some frequently asked question.

Why is Cognitive Neuroscience Important?

Cognitive neuroscientists play a crucial role in helping us understand the functioning of the human mind. Since they understand the functioning of the mind, as well as the physical aspects of the brain, cognitive neuroscientists help neurosurgeons and neurologists devise effective treatments for disorders of the brain and the spinal cord.

Counselling and psychotherapy cannot treat mental, emotional, and behavioural problems alone. Some mental disorders require to be treated with the help of medication as well. These medications help in altering the brain functions in order to enable the brain to work effectively. 

The disorders that require medications to be treated are:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Personality Disorders
  • Dissociative Disorder

What is Neuroscience?

Traditionally, neuroscience has been considered a subdivision of biology. However, now it is considered to be an interdisciplinary science which works closely with other disciplines as well. 

These disciplines include mathematics, linguistics, computer science, engineering, psychology, medicine, chemistry, and sometimes even philosophy. 

Neuroscience is also known as ‘Natural science’ because it is the study of the nervous system, how it develops, what are the structures of the nervous system, and what the nervous system does. 

Researchers usually think of neuroscience as being the same as neurobiology. However, this is not true. Neurobiology only looks at the biology of the nervous system. 

Whereas, neuroscience refers to the entire nervous system and deals with anything to do with the nervous system. Today, neuroscientists are more involved in many fields than before. They study the cellular, functional, computational, medical, molecular, and evolutionary aspects of the nervous system.

Neuroscientists are known as medical research scientists who tend to study the nervous system. The nervous system is comprised of the brain, spinal cord and nerve cells in the body. Neuroscience is considered to be a complex field of science which includes studying molecular and developmental biology, physiology, and anatomy along with other subjects.

Neuroscientists use this knowledge to study the nervous system and understand the ways to better the functioning of the brain in terms of its effectiveness. 

Since neuroscience is a diverse and large field, neuroscientists choose to focus on specialising in certain areas of study. This enables them to narrow in on the research in areas that interest them. For instance, if they choose to become a neurologist, they can work with patients who have conditions of epilepsy, strokes, and multiple sclerosis (MS).

What is Cognitive Neuroscience?

If you’ve ever wondered why we tend to do the things that we do and what makes us angry, happy, or sad, and why it happens, then these answers are the main focus of Cognitive Neuroscience. 

Humans are complicated animals who possess an even more complicated thought process. Humans are influenced by chemicals as well as electrical impulses. However, this is a simple explanation, and the processes that influence us are more complicated. 

Cognitive neuroscience studies human cognition and thought processes because it relates to neuroscience and the biological functions of the brain as well as the nervous system. Here, the goal of cognitive neuroscientists is to help psychologists to better understand the processes that influence the physiology and biology of the brain. They help psychologists to understand the thought processes, emotions, behaviours, and memories of humans.

Cognitive neuroscience is considered to be a new field in both neuroscience and psychology. In the 1970s, Michael Gazzaniga, who was a neuroscientist and George Miller, who was a cognitive psychologist, pioneered the way toward cognitive neuroscience. 

What Field is Neuroscience Related To?

Neuroscience relates most to cognitive psychology because this branch investigates the mental processes of the individual. It tries to understand how the brain engages in several mental activities.

Cognitive psychology understands how we learn, solve problems, memorise, and acquire language. It also looks into how we perceive the world, think about the world, communicate, and store information.

Cognitive psychology is closely related to the fields of neuroscience, philosophy and linguistics. It also tries to understand how people can improve their memory, increase their decision-making abilities, and boost learning.

What is Behavioural Neuroscience?

Behavioural Neuroscience helps in understanding the biological underpinning of behaviours exhibited by humans and animals. Specifically, this discipline of science aims to examine the brain’s neurotransmissions as well as how psychological events are related to biological activity.

Behavioural neuroscience is a contemporary of physiological psychology and covers many issues including molecular biological substrates of behaviour, the processes of learning and memory, motivation, emotions, and perception of sensory stimuli. It also understands the neuropsychology of an individual.

Behavioural neuroscience helps us understand how to assess, understand, make predictions about, improve as well as control human behaviour. As a field, behavioural neuroscience enables neuroscientists with the tools to understand the array of issues that concern human behaviour.

Behavioural neuroscientists do detailed research for understanding various topics such as addiction, ageing, sleep, trauma, neurodevelopmental disorders, neurocognitive disorders, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and even immune system disorders. They aim to understand the neurobiological underpinnings of the same.

Behavioural neuroscientists use the everchanging and improving neuroscientific technology to understand the issues highlighted above. Brain imaging studies help them understand how there are physical changes in the brain under the influence of drugs, and how the brain reacts to decision-making, learning, and behavioural control.

Furthermore, they also provide feedback on the reasons behind the widespread conditions and disorders. They study what are the treatments that can be more efficient and effective for brain and nervous system disorders.

What is Neurology?

Neurologists are specialised physicians who look into the non-surgical management of several nervous system disorders for both the central and peripheral nervous systems. If you’re into surgeries, neurosurgery is the speciality that you should be looking into. 

Neurologists are responsible for managing all neurological problems ranging from headaches, and migraines, to more catastrophic diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Strokes, and Multiple Sclerosis (MS). 

It is widely believed neurologists are involved more in the diagnoses of conditions and don’t play a big role in the treatment for the same. There are various conditions that have not progressed much when it comes to modern medicines. However, there has been tremendous growth in the research of neurological conditions and therapies for the same are increasing in number. 

A neurosurgeon assesses, diagnoses and treats conditions that affect your body’s nervous system, which includes your brain, spinal cord and spinal column, and all of your nerves that extend from your spinal cord.

Neurologists work along with neurosurgeons to help carry out and interpret tests required for brain disorders. Neurologists help family members and provide support. 

Conclusion

This article answers the question why cognitive neuroscience is important. It also elaborates on what is neuroscience, what is cognitive neuroscience, and what is behavioural neuroscience. The article also elaborates on what neurology is. In the end, the article will answer some frequently asked questions.

Frequently Asked Questions: Why is Cognitive Neuroscience Important?

Who is a neurosurgeon? 

Neurosurgeons are doctors that diagnose and treat problems in the brain, spine, and nervous system. These can be treated through non-surgical or surgical methods on the basis of the type and severity of the injury or disease.

What is neuroimaging used for?

Current neuroimaging techniques reveal the interconnections as well as the integrity of the brain structures. They are also used to understand chemistry, physiology, and electrical and metabolic activity.

How much intelligence is required to get into neuroscience?

You require higher levels of intelligence to get into neuroscience. You need to be able to have qualities of self-learning and analytical thinking.

What is a positron emission tomography (PET) scan?

A positron emission tomography (PET) scan is a type of imaging test that can help understand and reveal the biochemical function of your tissues and organs, as well as the metabolic activities of the brain. This test uses

a radioactive drug (tracer) and also shows both normal and abnormal metabolic activity. 

What is a CT Scan?

This is a computerised x-ray imaging procedure in which a narrow beam of x-rays is aimed at a patient and quickly rotated around the body. This produces signals that are then further processed by the machine’s computer to generate cross-sectional images, or “slices.” 

References

Gazzaniga, M. S. (2009). The cognitive neurosciences. MIT press.

Miller, G. A. (1989). George A. Miller. Stanford University Press.

What was missing from this post which could have made it better?