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Cognitive neuroscience

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The term “cognitive neuroscience” is of relatively recent coinage. Sometime in the mid- eighties, I used this term in the company of respectable molecular and sensory neuroscientists,and this was immediately met with dismissiveness bordering on derision. The very juxtaposition of “neuroscience” and “cognitive” sounded oxymoronic to the traditional mainstream neuroscientist’s ear. These were the days whena deepschism existedbetween neuroscience and psychology. neuroscientists felt that the higher-order cognitive constructs like decision making or mental flexibility were too opaque to be tractable with rigorous scientific methods.And many cognitive psychologists not only knew nothing about the brain but took pride in knowing nothing about the brain on the assumtion that it was possible to studycognition in isolation while letting someone else worry about how it is “implemented” in the brain. All this changed dramantically over the few decades that ensued and today we witness increased melding of psychology and neurosciences.

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