Guide to Research Techniques in Neuroscience, Second Edition

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The final output of the nervous system is a behavior composed of a coordinated motor action. This behavior can be either extremely simple, such as a motor reflex, or incredibly complicated, such as dancing, typing, or playing a musical instrument. Behavior is usually defined not just by what an organism does, but what it chooses to do.

Therefore, except in rare circumstances of lesion or disease, cognition and behavior are inseparably linked, and in animals other than humans, behavior is used as a readout of animal cognition. Just as one can start with a neuron and scale up toward circuits, cognition, and behavior, a scientist can also scale down and examine the components that make up a neuron.

A neuron is itself defined as having a cell body soma , axon, and dendrites. These neuronal components contain subcellular specializations that make the neuron unique among other cell types. Specialized organelles in a neuron, such as vesicles containing neurotransmitters, provide the cell with the ability to signal to other neurons. Specialized cytoskeletal elements allow a neural process to extend great distances throughout the brain and body.

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Several proteins provide neurons with their intercellular signaling abilities and physiological characteristics. For example, biosynthetic enzymes produce neurotransmitters, while other proteins serve as receptors for these signaling molecules. One of the most important types of proteins in the nervous system form ion channels, the transmembrane structures that allow neurons to become electrically active under certain conditions. The human genome contains approximately 30, genes, with each neural subtype expressing its own subset of these genes.

The complexity of the nervous system is awesome in scope.

About this Research Topic

It is amazing that a mutation in a single gene, such as a gene that codes for a transmembrane ion channel, can produce effects that alter the electrical properties of a neuron, in turn altering the normal firing patterns of a neural circuit and thus causing an abnormal behavior. A neuroscientist can approach the study of the nervous system through any of these levels of organization. The 15 chapters of this book provide a guide to the types of experiments that can be performed at each level. However, irrespective of technique, the basic scientific approach one can use to study the nervous system is consistent from level to level, whether the subject is human cognition or axon guidance in cell culture.

Methods of Studying the Nervous System There are four general methods of studying the nervous system: 1. Examining case studies —identifying interesting events that have occurred naturally and using these events to develop hypotheses that can be tested in future experiments 2. Screens —performing unbiased searches for anatomical structures, neurons, proteins, or genes that could play a role in a subject of interest 3. Description —using techniques that allow a scientist to observe the nervous system without manipulating any variables 4.

Manipulation —testing hypotheses by determining the effect of an independent variable on a dependent variable Each of these four methods is described in more detail below. Examining Case Studies A case study is an example of an event that happened to a subject most often a human or group of humans that demonstrates an important role for an aspect of the nervous system. The circumstances surrounding the event are usually nonrepeatable and cannot be precisely recreated in a laboratory setting.

Such demonstrations are, therefore, not true experiments in that no variables are deliberately controlled by a scientist. However, these events can often reveal substantial information about an aspect of neural function that was previously unknown. For example, consider the case of Phineas Gage, a railroad worker who was involved in an accident in that caused an iron rod to pass through his skull. The rod entered the left side of his face, passed just behind his left eye, and exited through the top of his head, completely lesioning his frontal lobes.

This Research Topic will include select submissions from the International Neuroergonomics conference series www. Following the successful completion of the inaugural international Neuroergonomics Paris, , the 2nd edition Philadelphia, , aims to gather multidisciplinary research domains and scientific communities concerned with the understanding of human in complex real-life contexts. Important Note : All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements.

Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review. With their unique mixes of varied contributions from Original Research to Review Articles, Research Topics unify the most influential researchers, the latest key findings and historical advances in a hot research area!

Find out more on how to host your own Frontiers Research Topic or contribute to one as an author. Submission closed. Overview Articles Authors Impact Comments. Retrieved 4 April Retrieved 7 October Retrieved 2 October Bear, M. Connors; M. Paradiso Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain 3rd ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott. Binder, Marc D. Encyclopedia of Neuroscience.

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Principles of Neural Science 5th ed. Squire, L. Fundamental Neuroscience, 4th edition. From Molecules to Networks. Development of the Nervous System, 2nd edition. Basic Neurochemistry, 7th edition. Spikes: Exploring the Neural Code. Dale Purves, George J. Augustine, David Fitzpatrick, Lawrence C. McNamara, S. Mark Williams. Published by Sinauer Associates, Inc. Siegel, Bernard W. Agranoff, R. Wayne Albers, Stephen K. Fisher, Michael D. Uhler, editors. Andreasen, Nancy C. March 4, Damasio, A. New York, Avon Books.

The Organism. New York, Zone Books. I of the vortex: from neurons to self MIT Press. Cambridge, Massachusetts , Harvard University Press. New York, Basic Books , Inc. Seattle, Pear Press.


  • Guide to Research Techniques in Neuroscience;
  • Imaging in Neuroscience: A Laboratory Manual.
  • Technocreep: The Surrender of Privacy and the Capitalization of Intimacy;

How the Mind Works. Viking Adult. Dundalk, Ireland: Pontoon Publications. Penrose, R. Ramachandran, V. Phantoms in the Brain. New York, HarperCollins.

Neurology and Neurosciences Research Guide

New York, Vintage Books. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books. Churchland, P. Princeton University Press.

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Book Category. Nervous system. Sensory nerve Motor nerve Cranial nerve Spinal nerve.

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