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What do Neuroscientists do?

Margo Upson
Updated May 17, 2024
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Neuroscientists study the brain and central nervous system. They unravel mysteries of the mind, including emotions, thought, and behavior. A career in neuroscience requires an extensive education, and a strong interest in the brain. The job is very technical, and requires a lot of specialized training.

Neuroscience focuses on the biological and physical attributes of the central nervous system, especially its control of movement, behavior, and learning. The central nervous system includes everything from the brain and spinal cord through the tiniest nerve endings and sensors all over the body. Signals sent from these sensors, such as when a hand is set against something hot, travel through the central nervous system up to the brain, where it is processed. Neuroscientists study how these signals are sent, and then how the brain decodes them, and then tells the hand to move away from the hot surface.

Emotions are also studied by neuroscientists. Emotions are processed by the brain in different ways, which can be seen by hooking someone up to a series of electrical sensors. Scientists may also use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to get a clearer image of the brain. Emotions will send electronic impulses through different areas of the brain. These areas will light up on the scan, allowing researchers to study how emotion affects the brain.

Neuroscientists use the same technology to learn about how the brain works in other ways. Research in neuroscience is being done on Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, and other neurological diseases. By understanding how these diseases impact the brain, it may be possible to find better ways to slow their progress, or even one day cure them.

Research is the most important aspect of a neuroscientist’s career. By constantly questioning how the brain works, there is a lot that a neuroscientist can learn. This may include studying genes, and how they affect brain processes, especially in the case of psychiatric patients. This also includes the study of molecules in the brain and nervous system. Breaking the system down to its smallest parts give scientists the opportunity to study brain function from the bottom up, much like putting together the tiny pieces of a much larger puzzle to get clearer understanding of the bigger picture.

There are many fields that a neuroscientist may work in. Neurobiologists study the biology of the brain and central nervous system. A developmental neuroscientist studies how the brain grows and changes over time. There are also careers in neuroscience in psychology, pharmaceutical, and medical fields.

Neuroscientists do many things. Depending on his or her field of study, they may study brain images or use a microscope to learn about the tiniest cells in the brain. All of this research combines to form an overall knowledge of how the brain and nervous system function.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Margo Upson
By Margo Upson
With a vast academic background that has ranged from psychology and culinary arts to criminal justice and education, Margo Upson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her role as a WiseGeek writer. Her wide-ranging interests and skill at diving into new topics make her articles informative, engaging, and valuable to readers seeking to expand their knowledge.
Discussion Comments
By anon250432 — On Feb 25, 2012

Amazing article. It somewhat helped me decide my future career.

Margo Upson
Margo Upson
With a vast academic background that has ranged from psychology and culinary arts to criminal justice and education,...
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