Cognitive neuroscience is an academic field concerned with the scientific study of biological substrates underlying cognition, with a specific focus on the neural substrates of mental processes and their behavioral manifestations. It addresses the questions of how psychological/cognitive functions are produced by the neural circuitry. Cognitive neuroscience is a branch of both psychology and neuroscience, unifying and overlapping with several sub-disciplines such as cognitive psychology, psychobiology and neurobiology. Before the advent of fMRI, cognitive neuroscience was called cognitive psychophysiology. Cognitive neuroscientists have a background in experimental psychology or neurobiology, but may spring from disciplines such as psychiatry, neurology, physics, linguistics, philosophy and mathematics.
Methods employed in cognitive neuroscience include experimental paradigms from psychophysics and cognitive psychology, functional neuroimaging, electrophysiological studies of neural systems and, increasingly, cognitive genomics and behavioral genetics. Clinical studies of patients with cognitive deficits constitute an important aspect of cognitive neuroscience. The main theoretical approaches are computational neuroscience and the more traditional, descriptive cognitive psychology theories such as psychometrics.
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