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neuroscience

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Neuroscience is the area of biological study concerning the makeup and functioning of the nervous system. In particular, neuroscience is concerned with the human central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain and spinal cord, and the peripheral nervous system (PNS), which includes all the nerves and ganglia existing outside of those two structures, and their connections to human health and behavior.

Various branches of the multidisciplinary field explore elements of the evolution, development, anatomy, biology, pharmacology, functions and processes of the nervous system. A few of the many branches of neuroscience:

  • Behavioral neuroscience studies the interaction of neural systems and processes and behavior.
  • Clinical neuroscience is the healthcare area related to the nervous system, including neurology, neurosurgery, psychiatry, psychology, audiology and speech pathology.
  • Cognitive neuroscience explores the mechanisms underlying mental processes.
  • Computational neuroscience is two-fold, involving both the study of information processing within the nervous system and the use of computer-generated models and systems to study the nervous system.
  • Neural engineering is the application of engineering techniques to repair, replace or enhance elements of the nervous system.
  • Neuroimaging is the use of technologies such as computed axial tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and functional magnetic resonance imaging to create images of nervous system structures and functions.

Neuroscience provides insight for many areas of human endeavor. In business, applications of neuroscience research include marketing, human resource management (HRM) and customer relationship management (CRM). The study of human neural systems and processes is also essential to many areas of artificial intelligence (AI) including not just artificial neural networks but also machine learning, natural language processing, deep learning and cognitive computing.

The study of the human nervous system dates back to ancient Egypt, when trepanning was first performed as a procedure for physical or mental complaints.

This was last updated in March 2018

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