What do Neuroscientists do?

Margo Upson
Margo Upson

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.

Neuroimaging can be used to diagnose a number of brain and central nervous system issues, as well as to assist with treatment.
Neuroimaging can be used to diagnose a number of brain and central nervous system issues, as well as to assist with treatment.

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.

A neuroscientist may use a microscope to study the tiniest cells found in the brain.
A neuroscientist may use a microscope to study the tiniest cells found in the brain.

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.

Neuroscientists may study MRIs to help them get a clearer picture of the brain.
Neuroscientists may study MRIs to help them get a clearer picture of the brain.
Margo Upson
Margo Upson

Margo has a varied academic background, which has involved everything from psychology and culinary arts to criminal justice and education. These wide-ranging interests make her an ideal wiseGEEK writer, as she always enjoys becoming an expert on new and unfamiliar topics.

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Discussion Comments

anon250432

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

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