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Cognitive Neuroscience, What Is It?

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Cognitive Neuroscience, What Is It?

Cognitive neuroscience is the scientific field that is concerned with the study of the biological processes and aspects that underline cognition, with a specific focus on the neural connections in the brain which are involved in mental processes. It addresses the questions of how cognitive activities are affected or controlled by neural circuits in the brain. Cognitive neuroscience is a branch of both neuroscience and psychology, overlapping with disciplines such as behavioral neuroscience science, cognitive psychology, physiological psychology, and affective neuroscience.

Cognitive neuroscience relies upon theories in cognitive science coupled with evidence from neurobiology, and computational modeling.

Parts of the brain play an important role in this field. Neurons play the most vital role, since the main point is to establish an understanding of recognition from a neural perspective, along with the different lobes of the cerebral cortex.

Methods employed in cognitive neuroscience include experimental procedures from psychophysics and cognitive psychology, functional neuro-imaging, electrophysiology, cognitive genomics, and behavioral genetics.

Studies of patients with cognitive deficits due to brain lesions constitute an important aspect of cognitive neuroscience. The damages in lesioned brains provide comparable basis with regards to healthy and fully functioning brains. These damages change the neural circuits in the brain and cause it to malfunction during basic cognitive processes, such as memory or learning. With the damage, we can compare how the healthy, neural circuits are functioning, and possibly draw conclusions about the basis of the affected cognitive processes.

Also, cognitive abilities based on brain development are studied and examined under the subfield of developmental cognitive neuroscience. This shows brain development over time, analyzing differences and concocting possible reasons for those differences.

Theoretical approaches include computational neuroscientist and cognitive psychology. -Source

Cognitive neuroscience seeks to use observations from the study of the brain to help unravel the mechanisms of the mind. How do the chemical and electrical signals produced by neurons in the brain give rise to cognitive processes, such as perception, memory, understanding, insight, and reasoning? How old is knowledge — including explicit knowledge of objects and events in the world and in one’s own personal history, as well as implicit knowledge underlying acquired abilities such as skilled performance and language – represented in the physical structure of the brain, and how is it assessed and used in thought, perception, and action? These are among the central questions addressed by the field of cognitive science. -Source

Cognitive neuroscience overlaps with cognitive psychology, and focuses on the neural substrates of the mental processes and their behavioral manifestations.

The boundaries between psychology, psychiatry and neuroscience have become quite blurred.

Cognitive neuroscientists tend to have a background in experimental psychology, neurobiology, neurology, physics, and mathematics.

Clinical studies in psychopathology in patients with cognitive deficits constitute an important aspect of cognitive neuroscience. -Source

Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience

The scientific interface between cognitive neuroscience and human development has evolved considerable interest in recent years, as technological advances make it possible to map in detail the changes in brain structure take place during development. Developmental cognitive neuroscience is concerned with the brain basis of the phenomena that developmental psychologist study. Developmental neuropsychology and developmental psychopathology are both devoted primarily to studying patients, whereas developmental cognitive neuroscience is concerned with studying both typical and atypical development. Developmental neuroscience is devoted entirely to the study of developmental processes in the brain, and primarily during the prenatal period. Developmental cognitive neuroscience, on the other hand, is concerned with interrelations between psychological and biological development. Developmental cognitive neuroscientists study brain development and cognitive, social and emotional development from the prenatal period through adulthood. -Source

Social Cognitive Neuroscience

Social cognitive neuroscience is the scientific study of the biological processes underpinning social cognition. Specifically, it uses the tools of neuroscience to study “the mental mechanisms that create, frame, regulate, and respond to our experience of the social world.” Social cognitive neuroscience uses the epistemological foundations of cognitive neuroscience, and is closely related to social neuroscience. Social cognitive neuroscience employees human neural imaging, typically using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Human brain stimulation techniques such as transcranial magnetic stimulation and transcranial direct-current stimulation are also used. In nonhuman animals, direct electrophysiological recordings and electrical

stimulation of single cells and neuronal populations are utilized for investigating lower-level social cognitive processes. -Source

Cognitive Neuroscience Society

The Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS) is committed to the development of mind and brain research and air investigating the psychological, computational, and the real scientific basis of cognition.

The term cognitive neuroscience has now been with us for almost 3 decades, and identifies an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the nature of thought.

Since its founding in 1994, the society has been dedicated to bringing it’s 2000 worldwide members the latest research and dialogs in order to facilitate public, professional and scientific discourse.

Their membership is made up of students, post docs, and faculty from around the world. Their members, who are engaged in research focused on elucidating the biological underpinnings of mental processes, form a network of scientists and scholars working at the interface of mind, brain and behavior research. The findings of this research are presented at their member-supported annual scientific conference. The three-day program of plenary speakers, symposia, posters, and special events of covers all aspects of cognitive neuroscience research. Learn more -Source

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