Psychology

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

What is Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience?

Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience (CBN) is the study of the biological bases of behavior: how the brain affects behavior.  Growth in our understanding of this relationship has been one of the major scientific developments of the last 50 years.  CBN includes human and animals studies of the role of specific brain regions and neurochemical factors in behavior.  Examples include examining the effect of drugs and their mechanisms of action; the biological bases of learning; behavioral problems associated with damage to specific brain regions; anatomical and chemical correlates of mental illnesses; and the use of modern noninvasive imaging techniques to study brain involvement in human cognition, perception, emotion, cognitive aging, and other aspects of behavior.  Careers in this area often include a strong research component.  Our students have gone on to jobs such as university and college faculty positions, research at pharmaceutical companies, and  positions with government labs, such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

CBN is a specialty area within the larger field of neurosciences.  At Mason, CBN students develop a focus on the biological underpinnings of behavior, and can interact with neuroscience students and faculty in related programs, such as the Molecular Neuroscience, and Molecular and Microbiology Departments.  Nearby resources include the National Institutes of Health, the Howard Hughes Janelia Farms research campus, and many local universities, government labs, and research firms within the Washington metro area.

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