CoGN1Cognitive Neuroscience the study of human brain

By: Vineeta Tawney

  • Cognitive neuroscience is the branch of studies which deals with the various ways how a human brain enables the human mind.
  • The brain science explores the different ways how individual neurons functions and operate and it communicates to form a way more complex neuronal architectures which comprise the brain of a human.
  • Cognitive science makes uses of the experimental methods of cognitive psychology as well as artificial intelligence for creating and testing the models of a higher-level cognition like the thoughts and the languages.
  • Cognitive neuroscience generally bridges the space between these two domains. It also maps the higher-level cognitive functioning to known brain architectures as well as the known modes of the neuronal processing.

Cognitive Neuroscience programs

  • In the Cognitive Neuroscience program, a wide variety of research techniques are used. All sort of event-related potentials (ERP) is utilized for studying the ways how different populations of neurons respond on a millisecond-to-millisecond basis while they process multiple types of information, for example, looking at a face.
  • Usually, functional magnetic imaging (fMRI) is used to observe which part of the brain is preferably activated while processing the different kinds and types of information or while engaging in different types of behaviour.
  • Very often virtual reality is used for understanding how to navigate within our own world. Cognitive psychology tasks are also used for a  better understanding of the patients who are suffering from severe brain damage and the ways how the healthy brain changes with time and age.
  • Cognitive techniques are also used for exploring the ways how the brain changes when the mind is wandering and in order to explore the differences in the brain functioning between different groups and types of people (from problem gamblers to the ones those with synaesthesia).

 Techniques Used


  • Some of the techniques used in cognitive neuroscience are certain experimental procedures which are taken from psycho physics as well as cognitive psychology along with it some has been taken from functional neuro-imaging the electrophysiology, cognitive genomics as well as behavioral genetics.
  • As far as the studies of patients with cognitive deficits are concerned it is due to brain lesions and it constitutes an important aspect of the cognitive neuroscience.
  • The damages caused in lesion brains provides a comparable basis with regards to healthy as well as fully functioning brains. All such damages often change the neural circuits in the brain and it also causes a certain malfunction during basic cognitive processes like memory or learning.
  • Along with all such damages, we can also compare the ways how the healthy neural circuits function.
  • Certain cognitive abilities which are based on brain development are studied as well as examined under the subfield of developmental cognitive neuroscience. This also shows the ways how a  brain develops over time by analyzing the differences and by concocting all possible reasons for such differences.
  • As per theoretical approaches are concerned it includes computational neuroscience and cognitive psychology as well.

History of cognitive neuroscience

  • Looking at the history of cognitive neuroscience we can find out that it is an interdisciplinary area of study which has emerged from neuroscience and from psychology. There are multiple stages which changed the way the researchers approached their investigations and it also led to the field being totally established.
  • Although the work of cognitive neuroscience is describing the ways how the human brain creates the mind but historically if we see there is a lot of progress. Investigating the ways how a particular area of the human brain provides support to mental stability.
  • As we can see early efforts to subdivide the brain has turned out to be problematic. The movement of the phrenologist have failed to supply any such scientific basis for the theories and it has been rejected as well.
  • Gestalt theory of neuropsychology and also the cognitive revolution proved to be major turning points. It contributed a great deal in the creation of cognitive neuroscience by bringing together several ideas and some techniques which enabled the researchers to create several links between the behaviour and the neural substrates.

Recent Trends

  • Recently the main focus of the research has expanded, it has expanded and changed from the localization of the brain areas for some specific functions into the brain of an adult using one particular technology.
  • As per studies are concerned it is diverging in multiple directions by exploring the interactions taking place between different brain areas by using the multiple technologies and the approaches in order to get a vivid picture of the brain functions.
  • Several advancement in the field of non-invasive functions neuroimaging and the associated data analysis methods have also contributed a great deal. It helped in the utilization of the highly naturalistic stimuli and tasks like feature films which depicts social interactions in the study of cognitive neuroscience.


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