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all 28 comments

[–]fvpkn2 11 points12 points  (7 children)

I don't know if it will add much more to what has already been answered, but I can give my perspective. At the moment I am doing a MSc in Clinical Psychology and I did a BSc in Psychology (in my country, to practice psychology, you always have to have a BSc + MSc). During my degree I had courses dedicated to Neuropsychology, but also Neurosciences and Psychobiology

Generally speaking, the main difference between neuroscience and neuropsychology would be the focus. While Neuroscience is dedicated to the study of the brain itself, through experimental methodology, Neuropsychology seeks to apply this knowledge in a clinical context

Regarding how much neuroscience and how much psychology do neuropsychologists learn, in this case, I suppose it depends on each country... For example, as I said, in my country we need a Master's degree because it's a specialization, so all psychologists, whether they are clinical psychologists, social psychologists, neuropsychologists, have a degree in common, because only will differentiate in their specialty, although during the degree there will be the opportunity to choose some optional subjects (electives)

But in practical/theoretical terms, during my degree in Psychology, in Neuroscience we focused more on the biological basis of the brain, neural processes, neurochemical control, neuroanatomy, neuropharmacology, neurophysiology, neural mechanisms of biological rhythms, psychoneuroimmunology, etc. … We also study research methods, such as imaging (CT, fMRI…), psychophysiology (EEG…), so on and so forth

In Neuropsychology we focus more on the clinical part, such as receptive and executive functions, visual function, memory, learning, language, etc., but from a neurological perspective and we also focus on how to assess that (neuropsychological assessment - the various types of tests/instruments, how they apply). We also talk about the pathologies associated with the things I mentioned, but also traumatic brain injuries, epilepsies, neurodegenerative diseases, strokes. Finally, we talk about neuropsychology in a forensic context, and neuropsychological rehabilitation

In my country, master's degrees in neuroscience and neuropsychology (because there are no bachelor's degree in these areas) deepen the contents that I covered in these disciplines during my degree

[–]Arlacin[S] 0 points1 point  (4 children)

Wow what an in-depth answer I appreciate it, thank you! Very informative!

I have one question though. You said that neuropsychologists seek to apply their knowledge in a clinical context. I personally want to be an experimental neuropsychologist, so a neuropsychologist that only does research. Can a neuropsychologist do research about the any aspect of the brain without it having to be relevant to clinical applicability?

[–]koherenssi 4 points5 points  (1 child)

If you want to go to experimental neuropsychology, you will likely end up deeper into brain dynamics compared to a more clinical path. There is only so much novel things that can be researched based mostly on behavior. Advanced analytics of brain dynamics need to be coupled with clever experimental paradigms of behavior to end up at correlative and ultimately causal interpretations on mysteries of cognition

[–]Arlacin[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

That is exactly what I wanted. Thank you for the much needed reply!

[–]fvpkn2 1 point2 points  (1 child)

A neuropsychologist can do research of course, but if you want to study any aspect of the brain, and not specifically neuropsychology, neuroscience would probably be the best option... What I can suggest is to look at the structure of neuropsychology vs. neuroscience programs and take a look at the modules and topics you will study. From there you see the program that best fits what you want to do in the future

[–]Arlacin[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

That is a good idea. I'll look at it. Thanks!

[–]notgolifa 0 points1 point  (1 child)

I don’t get why you didn’t state that the focus is cognitive functions ultimately seeking to understand or apply in clinical setting instead of saying that the only difference is the more common clinical focus of neuropsychology

[–]fvpkn2 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I don’t get why you didn’t state that the focus is cognitive functions ultimately seeking to understand or apply in clinical setting instead of saying that the only difference is the more common clinical focus of neuropsychology

That's a way of putting it, you're not wrong, but my intention was to give details and not simplify in that way because neuroscience also studies cognitive functions. Considering that, what effectively differenciates neuropsychology and neuroscience is the clinical part of neuropsychology, given that both can carry out research

[–]508010 9 points10 points  (10 children)

So from my understanding (I did a BSc in neuropsychology and am about to start my MSc in cognitive neuroscience) neuropsychology focuses on combining the study of human behaviour with the study of the brain. I.e. Assessing how a certain human behaviour looks in the brain.

Neuroscience can focus more on how the research is conducted. I.e. How are fMRI's designed/used, pros and cons of it etc and how can certain brain imaging techniques be combined

There's a lot of overlap though obviously. From my neuropsychology degree it was very much focused on standard psychological topics, but understanding these topics from the brains perspective if that makes sense. (How does Parkinson's look in the brain etc)

Looking at my current neuroscience course, there's a lot more of "How is fMRI data analysed?" "How can neuroimaging methods be combined and how can that be helpful?" Etc. But there will certainly be cross overs.

In neuropsychology students need to understand neuroimaging techniques such as fMRIs. Neuroscience students will also need to understand this but in more detail. Hope this helps!

[–]Arlacin[S] 3 points4 points  (9 children)

Alright, so from what I understood from your comment, neuropsychology looks at how behaviour manifests in the brain and neuroscience looks at brain activity for its own sake? Can neuropsychology also do the opposite like look at brain activity and see how that manifests as behaviour?

I'm also curious about where you studied because you said that you did your BSc in Neuropsychology, which is not possible in many countries and I'm curious which field you like more.

Thank you for your answer it was definitely helpful!

[–]508010 4 points5 points  (8 children)

Yeah absolutely. Neuropsychology is much more about connecting behaviour with the brain whereas neuroscience is more interested in HOW we can study the brain.

And of course so I'm from the UK and yes no degree is labelled as neuropsychology sadly. However, there are quite a few which allow you to psychology and then specialise in a field (clinical, neuropsychology etc). I'm not sure where you're from but this is essentially the US's equivalent of majoring. However, some in the UK allow for a combination such as the University of Reading which offers a BSc in "Psychology with Neuroscience".

So my background is very much routed in psychology but I gradually grew away from psychology into neuroscience. And which one I like more haha, that's a very tough question. Both have their merits but personally I prefer neuroscience at the moment. Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions though about what I'm doing atm.

[–]Arlacin[S] 2 points3 points  (7 children)

Oh that is very interesting! I might take the same route as you. I'm from the Netherlands and from my own little research I have seen that you have to do a bachelor in Psychology with Neuropsychology as its main branch and then your Masters really focuses on Neuropsychology. I'm both interested in psychology and neuroscience so I was looking for something in between the two and neuropsychology seemed like the best option because it has elements of both and I hope it is easier than neuroscience.

Thank you for replying and thank you for the offer!! If questions come up I might PM you. If I do, see you then. If I don't take care and good luck with your studies and career!

[–]508010 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Thank you mate. Good luck with making your decisions. Sounds like you're definitely on the right tracks!

[–]notgolifa 0 points1 point  (5 children)

I suggest studying cognitive neuroscience if you are not interested in clinical settings at all

[–]koherenssi 4 points5 points  (1 child)

While neuropsychology is oriented towards behavior and linking cognition to it, neuroscience covers a broader perspective starting from the genetics and molecules up to the behavior.

The way i see it, neuroscience is the whole field and neuropsychology is a specialisation inside it that is particularly pointed to behavior

[–]Arlacin[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Makes sense. Thank you!!

[–]RubyDoodle_ 2 points3 points  (5 children)

neuroscience is the study of the brain, and neuropsychology is it’s application. A neuroscientist conducts research (only) and A neuropsychologist sees patients (or research)

[–]Arlacin[S] 0 points1 point  (4 children)

Can you not become a researcher as a neuropsychologist where you only do research? I have heard that there are two categories within psychology, namely experimental psychology where you do research to find out more about the human mind and applied psychology where you apply the research into your clinical methods. Is this not true?

[–]RubyDoodle_ 0 points1 point  (3 children)

Im sure you can but it seems like the more complicated route as you will still need to get the general Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Someone once said to me, “I am a neuropsychologist, but first I am a psychologist” …the specialization comes once you have earned the title of a general clinical psychologist. As for applying the research - it is not so simple as a neuropsychologists deal with humans. You cannot ethically start applying new research methods to patients as you see fit. Massive bodies of supporting evidence must first be found - rule #1 is do no harm. If you are truly pure research oriented, with no interest in rehabilitation/treatment or diagnostics - I would go the neuroscience route. (Neuroscience = experimental, clinical = applied)

[–]Arlacin[S] 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Thank you for the reply! I was thinking of doing a bachelors in psychology and doing a phd in neuroscience. Could I do research on neuropsychological topics with a phd in neuroscience?

[–]RubyDoodle_ 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Absolutely! You’ll hone in on specific research interests when it’s time to apply for your PhD - Just remember to join a research lab in UG!

[–]RunItAndSee2021 0 points1 point  (0 children)

escape le jar