Music and the scientific method represent two of the most outstanding by-products to emerge from the endless toils and torments of the human mind … I decided to dedicate my whole career to listening to a different type of music, the kind of symphonies composed by vast ensembles of brain cells
— Miguel Nicolelis, Beyond Boundaries

Neuroscience Specialty Areas: the scientific disciplines concerned with the “embryology,” “anatomy,” “physiology,” “biochemistry,” “pharmacology,” etc. of the “nervous system.” (MeSH)

The use of general neuroscience information focused on the nervous system, the brain, and on an understanding of “neurons,”  “synapses,” and “neurotransmitters.” (Tokuhama-Espinosa, xviii) Science is concerned with the structure, behavior, and evolution of complex systems such as cells, brains, ecosystems, societies, or the global economy. To understand these systems, we require not only knowledge of elementary system components but also knowledge of the ways in which these components interact and the emerging properties of their interactions. (Sporns, 1) Working at the boundaries of different disciplines. It is at the borders that some of the most interesting problems reside. Working scientists are constantly learning new things and are not inhibited from moving into a new area because it is unfamiliar. (Kandel, 427)


Affective Neuroscience: the study of the basic emotions; the ones that Mother Nature gave us as part of our evolutionary tools for living. And they are built into the brain at a very low level. (Panksepp, BSP91) An umbrella concept for people to try to discuss and investigate what is this mysterious thing called “feelings.” (Panksepp, BSP65)

Behavioral Neuroscience: the interaction of brain processes and complex “behaviors.” (Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, About) The study of how the nervous system mediates behavioral effects in the realms of “motivation,” “perception,” “learning” and “memory,” and “attention” and “motor” performance. Research in this area investigates the complex interplay between the brain, behavior and environment, utilizing multiple levels of experimental analysis, in areas that include “communication,” biological rhythms, learning and memory, and “audition.” (UCSD)

Cognitive Neuroscience: the study of cognitive processes and their implementation in the brain. Cognitive neuroscientists use methods drawn from brain damage, neuropsychology, cognitive psychology, functional neuroimaging, and computer modeling. (UCSD) The fusion of psychology and brain science. (Goldberg, 102) Any scientific discipline that studies the human mind and how it might work. Includes computer models of thought, “artificial intelligence,”  “linguistics,” and “neuropsychology” among others. (Cardwell, 51) The thinking process itself, rather than the conscious content that results from thinking, became, and largely remains, the subject matter of cognitive science. (LeDoux, 175) The brain, in the standard way of thinking about cognitive science, is isolated from the world, isolated from the body. And it’s the cognitive scientist’s job to figure out what kinds of “algorithms” the brain is using to convert inputs from the sensory systems into motor commands for behavior. (Shapiro, BSP73)  Also referred to as ‘cognitive science.’

Developmental Neuroscience: interested in the development of the nervous system in the broadest sense. Also interested in aspects of aging, as well as neuronal dysfunctions associated with “trauma” or “disease.” (ISDN, About)

Education Neuroscience: primarily information about learning grounded in laboratory research, but that uses more technical terms than teachers are typically comfortable with. (Tokuhama-Espinosa, 16) In educational neuroscience, neuroscience informs education (not usually vice versa.) (Tokuhama-Espinosa, 10)

Mind Brain and Education Science (MBE): the intersection between education, neuroscience and psychology. Concerned with studying how humans learn best in order to develop more effective teaching methods. Emphasizes learning (and) gives equal ‘playing time’ to teaching. A paradigm shift in teaching techniques and a new model of learning from early childhood to adulthood. Other terms used to describe this intersection include ‘brain-based learning,’  ‘educational neuropsychology,’  ‘educational psychology,’ and ‘cognitive neuropsychology.’ (Tokuhama-Espinosa, 14-17) Also referred to as 'mind, brain, and education,’ and ‘neuroeducation.’

Network Science: analysis method for investigating complex systems, such as the brain, in terms of their components and the interactions among them. (Laurienti, 21) Networks have become of central interest in the natural sciences, particularly in the study of complex biological systems, including the brain. (Sporns, ix) Investigates the physiological principles that underlie the operation of neural “circuits.” (Attempts) to decipher the physiological mechanisms that allow bursts of neurobiological electricity to give birth to the vast repertoire of human action and behavior. (Nicolelis, 5) Also referred to as ‘systems neurophysiology.’

Neuroeconomics: studies of the brain during “decision making.” (Goleman, 330) The study of what happens in the brain when we make decisions, assess risk and rewards, and interact socially. (Politser, 147) Concerned with the brain mechanisms of decision making in the marketplace and using, to this end, the most advanced methods of functional “neuroimaging.” (Goldberg, 166) The analysis of the hidden neural forces that drive both rational and irrational decision-making in our economic lives - an arena where the high and “low roads” both play powerful roles. Much of this research centers on the brain areas that are active during interpersonal situations that have ready implications of understanding the irrational forces that move economic markets. (Goleman, 71)

Neuropathology: the branch of pathology that deals with diseases and disorders of the nervous system. (Oxford) “Morphological” and other aspects of diseases of the nervous system. (NCIt)

Neuropharmacology: the branch of pharmacology that deals with the action of drugs on the nervous system. (Oxford) Concerned with the effects of drugs on the nervous system. (NCIt)

Neurophysiology: the study of the function of the nervous system. (The Brain-Francis Crick, 133) A branch of neuroscience concerned with the physiology of the nervous system. (NCIt)

Neuropsychiatry: psychiatry relating mental or emotional disturbance to disordered brain function. (Oxford)

Neuropsychology: the branch of science that deals with the relationship between behavior and the mind on the one hand, and the nervous system, especially the brain, on the other. (Oxford) Aleksandr Luria integrated aspects of the psychoanalytic method and of psychology into neurology, becoming the founder of neuropsychology. (Doidge, 33) Examines alterations in mental processes produced by brain damage. (Kandel, 121) Also referred to as 'neurological psychology.'