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Neuroscience is a field of study which deals with the structure , function, development , genetics , biochemistry , physiology , pharmacology and pathology of the nervous system . The study of behavior and learning is also adivision of neuroscience.

The biological study of the human brain is an interdisciplinary field which involvesmany levels of study, from the molecular level through the cellular level (individual neurons ), the level of relatively small assemblies of neurons like cortical columns, that of larger subsystems likethat which subserves visual perception , up to large systems likethe cerebral cortex or the cerebellum , and at the highest level the nervous system as a whole.

At this highest level, neuroscientific approaches combine with cognitive science to create cognitive neuroscience , a discipline first populated mostly by cognitive psychologists , currently becoming a dynamic specialty of its own. Some researchersbelieve that cognitive neuroscience provides a bottom-up approach to understanding the mind and consciousness that is complementary to, or may replace, the top-downapproach of psychology .

The concern of neuroscience includes such diverse topics as

  • the operation of neurotransmitters at the synapse ;
  • the biological mechanisms that underlie learning (both declarative learning and motor learning );
  • how genes contribute to neural development in the embryo and throughout life
  • the operation of relatively simpler neural structures of other organisms like marine snails;
  • and the structure and functioning of complex neural circuits in perceiving, remembering, and speaking.

Fields within Neuroscience

There are four main areas of study within neuroscience

  • Molecularneuroscience - In principle, there is no distinction between cellular and molecular biology of the brain and of any otherorgan. However, there are so many differences between the nervous system and the rest of the body, both in terms of cellularfunctions and the goals of the field, that cellular and molecular neuroscience functions as an independent field.
  • Development - This field studies the ways in which theectodermally-derived nervous system gets organized in the adult animal. The primary subjects of investigation are the fruit fly and the zebrafish .
  • Cognitive neuroscience and systems neuroscience - These two fields are interested inexplaining the link between the mind and the brain. Common methods involve functional imaging, recording of action potentials,and careful analysis of behavior.
  • Neurobiology of disease - This field, directly aligned with medical research, is interested incuring any diseases associated with the nervous system.

Other related and overlapping fields include:

See also:

External links

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