Neuroscience is the study of the central nervous system and all of its wonder. The central nervous system controls the anatomical structure of the brain and spinal cord but also the mind. Neuroscientists study specific areas of the central nervous system to understand its development, genetics, and behavior.
Subfields of Neuroscience
In neuroscience, there are multiple subfields that scientists specialize in to further their interest and investigations:
- Behavioral neuroscience
- Cellular neuroscience
- Clinical neuroscience
- Cognitive neuroscience
- Developmental neuroscience
- Molecular neuroscience
- Sensory neuroscience
What is behavioral neuroscience?
Behavioral neuroscience is the study of the neurobiological basis of behavior. It addresses the neurophysiological processes behind the psychology of cognition, emotion, learning, memory, motivation, perception, and so much more. It is similar to its psychological counterpart, neuropsychology.
What are the subspecialties of behavioral neuroscience?
Behavioral neuroscience is broad and behavioral neurology explores the relationship between brain and behavior. The two are mutually exclusive. Research and clinical care have identified many subspecialties in behavioral neuroscience:
- Anxiety-like & Depressive-like Symptoms
- Age-related cognitive decline (dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease)
- Cancer-related neurobehavioral effects
- Cognitive rehabilitation
- Functional neurological disorders
- Inflammation-related neurobehavioral effects
- Locomotor function
- Parental Behaviors (Maternal, paternal, bonding, etc.)
- Memory and Learning
- Metabolic-related cognitive decline
- Sexual behavior and reproduction
- Tau-related pathophysiology of neurobehavior
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- …and many more
What is the difference between behavioral neuroscience and neuropsychology?
As an undergraduate at The University of Maryland, I struggled with discerning the difference between behavioral neuroscience and psychology. Ultimately, when I settled on a major I picked Anthropology.
We have found that there may not be a difference between behavioral neuroscience and neuropsychology. The difference lies in the academic training for each discipline and the investigator: a neuroscientist may study the behavior underlying neurophysiological processes in an animal model or patients while a clinical psychologist may study the neuropathology of observed behavior in clients.
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- Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development – Learn More About Neuroscience.
- Boston University Academics. (n.d.). Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience. Retrieved December 21, 2019, from https://www.bu.edu/academics/gms/programs/behavioral-neuroscience/.
- Clinical Neuropsychology. (n.d.). Retrieved December 21, 2019, from https://www.kent.edu/psychology/clinical-neuropsychology.
- About Neuroscience. (n.d.). Retrieved December 21, 2019, from https://neuro.georgetown.edu/about-neuroscience/.