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Cognitive Neuroscience: The Human Condition

Cognitive neuroscience is a blend between neuroscience and behavior. It points out the deficiencies in neural systems that underlie certain behaviors. While cognitive science studies thought and learning in the human mind, cognitive neuroscience incorporates the nervous system in understanding human behavior.

It has been described as the link between the brain and the mind or how the two relate.

In brief, it can also be termed as the “neural basis of mind” to show how neural connections in the brain are involved in mental processes.

Initially, it was believed that different areas of the brain were responsible for certain behaviors, this is the phrenologist theory. However, this theory was ousted in favor of the aggregate field view which supports the theory that all areas of the brain are involved in all behaviors.

A rather interesting description of cognitive neuroscience is “the overlap of the dry and wet parts of the brain.” In this case, the dry parts are the cognitive parts such as the mind, senses, and emotions. The wet parts are the slippery parts or lobes of the brain. The two overlap when the neural activities in the brain influence metal processes.

A tale is told of Phineas Gage who got an iron bar right into his frontal brain. In spite of the fact that he survived the accident and recovered his intellect and memory, his behavior became socially repulsive. He became irritable, temperamental, and took to too much drinking.

Cognitive neuroscience has several applications, for example, neuromarketing research. Marketers study how the brain responds to an advertisement to predict the effectiveness of their ad.

It would be deficient to talk about cognitive neuroscience and not mention one Michael Gazzaniga. This world renowned psychologist has done remarkable work in the field of cognitive neuroscience. Gazzaniga together with his colleague George Armitage coined the term while sharing a taxi back in 1976. Modern cognitive neuroscience has drawn inspiration from Gazzaniga’s collection in the field.

This panel discusses the different aspects of cognitive neurosciences and their varied applications.

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