Why is cognitive neuroscience important?, Other Subject

Solving the mind-body problem has been a fundamentally intriguing question since the days of ancient Greek philosophers and indeed research on the neural basis of the human mind is clearly warranted as a pure basic research venture, however, cognitive neuroscience also yields manifold benefits to applied research and other fields of science. For example, attempts to build artificial intelligence and robots have already benefited from the knowledge of cognitive processes and the underlying neural mechanisms. In many ways the brain is a highly efficient computer that is able to carry out many information- processing tasks more quickly than the most powerful of man-made computers. Thus, gaining deeper understanding of the core processing principles and organization of brain functions will offer important insights to computer and computational sciences.


Clinical research into disorders of the brain where cognitive processes are deficient, such as various types of dementias, severe mental health disorders such as schizophrenia, developmental disorders such as autism, and problems experienced by people with brain damage, are also benefited by knowledge acquired in cognitive neuroscience basic research. Clinical research often aims at development of drugs that alleviate cognitive deficits that patients suffer from and thus the fruits of cognitive neuroscience research are also widely utilized by pharmaceutical companies in their vast research and development efforts.


Development of various types of man-machine interfaces in engineering is another rapidly growing application area where cognitive neuroscience plays a central role. This includes design of human-computer as well as human-cell phone interfaces. The latter includes, for example, design of touch screens, vibration alarms, and various attempts towards offering enhanced reality, for instance, to enhance the awareness of the user to attractions such as restaurants of preferred ethnicity that are nearby. The first brain-computer interfaces have also been recently implemented by computer game industry where the player partly directs the actions in the game with his/her brain activity that is measured with specific sensors placed on the scalp of the player.
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