What Is Neuropsychology?

psychpost | 9/05/2012 05:00:00 AM | 3 Comments

MRI Scanner, Widely used in Neuroscience research. source
Neuropsychology is a field of research which investigates how the structure and functions of the brain relate to psychological processes and behaviors. Neuropsychology is built upon the biological knowledge of the nervous system and uses this knowledge to better understand psychological processes.

Neuropsychology has many methods for investigating the importance of different brain regions in relation to specific psychological functions. These methods include:

·Standardized Neuropsychological Tests
·Brain Scans (Imaging): fMRI, MRI, PET, CAT
·Electrophysiological Measurements: EEG, ERP, MEG
·Lesion Studies: Actual Brain Lesions, TMS (Virtual Lesions)

Notable ground-breaking examples relating brain structures to psychological functions come from lesion studies. The most well known examples come from Broca and Wernicke's research which led to indentifying brain regions necessary for producing and understanding speech. The best known example is a patient known as H.M, a part of his brain known as the Hippocampus was removed and was later indentified to be an area required for forming new explicit memories.

The term Neuropsychology is an umbrella term which refers to many different branches of specific research. The branches include (but are not limited to) :

·Behavioral Neuroscience, which focuses on how biological processes underlie behavior.
·Cognitive Neuroscience, which focuses on how the brain controls and modulates cognitive functions such as memory, attention, and learning. 
·Social Neuroscience, which focuses on the role the brain plays in social processes and social behaviors.