What Is Behavioral Neuroscience?

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: What Is a Behavioral Activation System?

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:00 The Definition of…
  • 0:49 Learning and Memory
  • 1:53 Sensorimotor Processing
  • 2:35 Decision-Making
  • 3:39 Emotional Functioning
  • 4:26 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Patricia Johnson

Patricia is a Clinical Health Psychologist with a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. She has taught Life Span Development and worked with clients of all ages.

In this lesson, we will discuss the basics of behavioral neuroscience and the field's overall goals. We will also outline several major topics of study within the discipline.

The Definition of Behavioral Neuroscience

Describe the word 'behavior' to a friend. Piece of cake, right? Now, try explaining what behavioral neuroscience means. Well that sounds more like a tongue twister, doesn't it? It's not so bad, though. Neuroscience is the study of the brain and its functions. Although we often think of behavior as somewhat separate from our body, the two are closely related. In fact, the brain is what causes us to behave in certain ways, and behavioral neuroscience is a bridge in understanding the relationship. Behavioral neuroscience then, is the study of how a person's brain influences that person's behavior. We'll look more closely at several fields of behavioral neuroscience, so you can get a better idea of the field.

Learning and Memory

We realize that it is harder to study for a big test when we're tired, but have you ever wondered why this is true? Multiple areas can be included under the category of behavioral neuroscience. Learning and memory are two major topics of behavioral neuroscience. Learning and memory include finding out just why fatigue affects learning as well as understanding why people experience permanent memory loss, which is currently a large focus within the field. Dementia is a disease that causes people to forget important information about themselves and their surroundings. It is progressive, so it starts out slowly and continues to get worse with time. It is hard to imagine that you could eventually forget your children, your home address, or even your own name. Unfortunately, however, this is what occurs within the brain of a person suffering from dementia. Researchers in the field of behavioral neuroscience hope to find out how dementia develops and how it might be prevented in the future.

Sensorimotor Processing

The word sensorimotor describes how we experience the world around us through our senses and movement. Sensorimotor processing is another area of behavioral neuroscience, which refers to how the brain functions to help us experience the world. Many people who suffer from autism have a hard time integrating sound, touch, and smell within their environment. Those who suffer from autism sometimes rock back and forth, which is thought to be a way to soothe themselves when they feel overwhelmed by sensory cues in their environment. There are also alternative ideas about rocking behavior, which continue to be researched by behavioral neuroscientists.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account