What is the Study of Neuroscience?

Neuroscience is a fascinating field of study that looks at how the human brain processes information and solves problems. It digs deep into how the brain processes language, how memory works, and even how thoughts are produced in the first place. It is also a challenging field for terminology. As with any scientific field, there are specialized terms to understand and vocab to learn. This article explains some of the most common neuroscience terms and their meanings, so you can get a better understanding of how this field of study works.


A synapse is a connection between two neurons in the brain. It is at the synapse that neurons send electrical signals to each other and the rest of the body. Most synapses are chemical, meaning that the neurons use neurotransmitters that are released from one neuron and received by the next. This is how the brain can process and store information. While it’s not exactly clear how the brain chooses which neurons connect, it is known that every neuron has the potential to create a synapse with every other neuron.


A neuron is one of the most common cells found in the brain and central nervous system. Essentially, it is responsible for carrying electrical impulses throughout the rest of the body. It is connected to other neurons via synapses. Neurons communicate with one another via axons and dendrites. Axons are like electrical wires that essentially create a pathway for neurons to communicate with one another. Dendrites are shorter and are often used for neurons to communicate with other neurons in the same cell. Neurons can be either unipolar or bipolar. The difference between these two types of neurons is in what type of neurotransmitters they send. The most common type of bipolar neuron is inhibitory.

Synaptic Cleft

The synaptic cleft is the small gap between two neurons at the synapse. Particularly in terms of the chemical nature of most synapses, the synaptic cleft is what the neurons use to communicate. The synaptic cleft is filled with a liquid called the synaptic fluid. In a chemical synapse, one neuron releases neurotransmitters into the synaptic cleft and they pass through the fluid to the next neuron. The neurotransmitters then bind to receptors on the surface of the second neuron. This allows the neurons to communicate and pass signals to one another. Of course, the system isn’t 100% efficient. When neurotransmitters are released, some will stay in the synaptic cleft and some will pass through to the next neuron. The rest will be reabsorbed by the first neuron and broken down. This can lead to short-term memory loss.


Dendrites are the spindly projections that neurons use to communicate with other neurons. Like axons, they are a part of the neuron itself but are shorter and less specialized. Dendrites collect electrical impulses from other neurons at synapses. Because dendrites are shorter than axons, they are less specialized and can collect impulses from a larger range of neurons. This means that a single neuron can collect impulses from other neurons that belong to different neurons.


Axons are the longer and thicker extensions of neurons that are used to collect impulses from other neurons. Like dendrites, they are a part of the neuron itself, but they are specialized in that they only collect impulses from other neurons at synapses. Axons are more specialized than dendrites and collect impulses from a smaller range of neurons. They are also very efficient in collecting these impulses. Normally, neurons use axons to communicate back to the cells that originally sent them impulses. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule.


The hippocampus is one of the most important parts of the brain for memory. It is believed that memories are formed in the hippocampus before being transferred to other areas of the brain. The hippocampus is also used in spatial navigation. This is why it is common for people who have to navigate using a map to see a visual image in their head. The hippocampus is responsible for this. The hippocampus is part of the limbic system of the brain. This system has a strong emotional connection and is responsible for things like long-term memories and emotions.


The amygdala is often referred to as the “boss” of the brain. It is responsible for controlling emotions and is connected to a wide range of parts of the brain, including the hippocampus. The amygdala is often referred to as the “fight or flight” part of the brain. This is because it reacts strongly to stimuli that might be dangerous (like a growling dog) and causes a heightened state of arousal. The amygdala is heavily involved in regulating fear and controlling strong emotions. This is why people who have experienced trauma have such difficulty controlling their emotions.


The neocortex is sometimes referred to as the “new bark” of the brain. It is the newest part of the brain and is responsible for higher-level cognitive skills like decision-making and problem-solving. Neocortical neurons are often shaped differently than other parts of the brain and are connected in different patterns. This allows the neocortex to handle different types of information. The neocortex is responsible for several complex tasks, like complex decision-making, language, and spatial navigation.

Corpus callosum

The corpus callosum is the massive collection of neurons that connects the right and left hemispheres of the brain. It is primarily responsible for transferring information between the two hemispheres. The corpus callosum is responsible for many brain functions, including coordinated movement and regulating emotions. The corpus callosum is often severed during a procedure called a corpus callosotomy. This procedure is used to treat severe epilepsy.


This article has explained some of the most common neuroscience terms and their meanings. It is important to understand this field of study because it helps us better understand how our brains work. This, in turn, allows us to improve our mental health and achieve our goals. Moreover, it is also important because it teaches us to appreciate and respect the power of the brain. After all, it is the organ that allows us to be human.