Neuroscience is becoming a popular and widely spoken about topic in today's culture with our highly advanced medical community. Without our nervous system, the body could not function. The brain is well known to be one of the most important organs in the human body, and we become "vegetables" without proper cognitive function.
Neuroscience, simply put, is the study of the nervous system. This can entail development, structure, and function. It is a subdivision of biology but is classified today as an interdisciplinary study. Neuroscience heavily focuses on many areas of study including psychology, medicine, linguistics, mathematics, philosophy, computer science, and more. Neurobiology is a more specific branch that looks solely at the biology of the nervous system.
Behavioral vs Cognitive Neuroscience
Behavioral neuroscience is concerned with the biological impact on behavior, more specifically, how brain function/activity affects behavior. With the use of advanced brain imaging techniques, scientists and doctors are now able to examine a live, functioning human brain. This is one of the biggest breakthroughs in the medical and psychological sciences since the creation of both. In previous decades, we have had to rely much more heavily on invasive animal testing to learn about the neurological system. We are progressing into an era, however, where we may be able to forego much of the cruel and aggressive experimentation that occurs with unwilling animal subjects. Cognitive neuroscience focuses on using this advanced imaging to monitor brain activity/function in a healthy brain and often compare it to that of a brain that has some sort of neurological disorder. This is to better understand the more advanced cognitive functions of the human brain such as memory, language, and facial recognition. Cognitive neuroscientists are able to examine which areas of the brain are responsible for which functions by examining the abilities, or differences in abilities, in participants with cognitive impairments in various regions of the brain. Both of these types of neuroscience aim to explain human psychology from a neural standpoint. There are many other branches of modern neuroscience including affective, cellular, clinical, computational, cultural, developmental, molecular, neuroimaging, neurolinguistic, and many more.
Neuroscientists, Neurologists, and Neurosurgeons
Neuroscientists focus on the study of the brain and its impact on behavior and/or cognition. Today’s neuroscientists work in a broad field including functional, behavioral, cognitive, cellular, molecular, evolutionary, computational, and medical neuroscience. An individual entering this field has a wide variety of branches in which they can choose to work. Neuroscientists are involved in research that helps to treat and potentially cure diseases, enhance the lives of those living with sensory impairments, learn about the most recently discovered regions of the brain, and much more. Neurologists and neurosurgeons utilize applied neuroscience to work directly with patients who may be struggling with a neurological disorder. Neurologists are involved with the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders, as well as usually responsible for referring patients to a proper neurosurgeon, if necessary. Neurosurgeons are just what the name sounds like. They perform one of the most dangerous and critical types of surgeries that can be done. Brain surgeons apply all that has been learned by neuroscientists of the past and present to carry out delicate and necessary procedures. Neurologists and neurosurgeons attend med school after undergraduate studies, with only the top performing students gaining acceptance. Neuroscientists will most often have a Ph.D. This puts all three mentioned careers at the doctorate/doctoral level of study, sometimes a combination of both. Neuroscientists with master's degrees are much more limited in their job opportunities, often serving as research assistants or associates to the lead researchers.
Nordqvist, C. (2014, Sept 26). What is Neuroscience? Retrieved from Medical News Today: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248680.php