Cognition and neuroscience are two incredibly complicated subjects that require specialized scientific knowledge to master in order to understand the relevant processes involved in mental functions such as memory, attention, thinking, learning, decision-making, language processing, and sensory perception.
There’s so much to learn about these topics that it’s easy to get intimidated by the sheer amount of information out there. Here are 10 mind-blowing facts that will help you better understand cognition and neuroscience and how they connect with our everyday mental processes.
The Effects of Stress on Learning
Stress is a normal part of everyday life, and in small doses, it can be extremely beneficial. Low levels of stress keep us alert and focused. In fact, when we’re too calm, our minds become complacent and may stop processing the information as well.
However, while short periods of stress are fine for us overall, chronic stress can have harmful effects on cognition and memory formation. Studies have found that chronic stress can actually shrink certain parts of our brains! But fear not — there are ways to reduce your negative emotional responses so you don’t experience stressful events in your daily life; for example meditation or yoga has been shown to help with reducing stress and anxiety.
Consciousness is commonly defined as awareness. It’s what allows us to perceive ourselves as separate beings in a physical world. This type of consciousness is called phenomenal consciousness, or what’s colloquially referred to as our perception of reality. Consciousness also encompasses self-awareness, which allows us to be aware of ourselves, including our thoughts, feelings, emotions, and sensations. Self-awareness is also referred to as meta consciousness or cognitive awareness. People often confuse these two forms of consciousness; however, they’re actually quite different processes that are both fascinating in their own right. Explore these 10 mind-blowing facts about cognition and neuroscience here!
What Are Neurotransmitters?
Neurotransmitters are chemicals that transmit signals across a synapse. There are many different types of neurotransmitters, but they fall into two categories: excitatory (to increase activity) or inhibitory (to decrease activity). Neurotransmitters usually activate receptors on other neurons to either increase or decrease their activity.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Have a hard time focusing? There’s a good chance that you have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). ADHD, a brain disorder characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, or impulsivity, affects millions of adults around the world. The number of children diagnosed with ADHD has increased dramatically over recent years.
In addition to looking at ways to control symptoms in children and adolescents, medical professionals are also researching ways to diagnose and treat adults who may not realize they have ADHD.
As we’ve seen, many of our mental processes are hardwired in our brains. But there is much to learn through further research, particularly in terms of cognition and neuroscience.
In fact, it was only very recently that cognitive neuroscience (and biopsychology as a whole) developed to its current stage. As tools for research became more advanced, researchers were able to reveal more information about how our mind works on a biological level.
Today, psychologists are continuing to break down these barriers between fields as they push for an even greater understanding of how brain structure affects human behavior. And who knows? Maybe someday soon science will unlock all secrets of cognition and biology will become a key factor in psychology once again!