Fragment from Fundamentals of Neuropsychology (Master in Applied Neuroscience)
Sonia Garcia, Psychologist and Training Coordinator in SAERA
The Psychology and the Neuroscience enrich each other; the psychology guides the Neuroscience in the approach to relevant questions that must be addressed and answered while, at the same time, contributes to the theoretical interpretation of the data obtained. The neuroscience is not only the anatomical and physiological study of the brain; it also seeks to find the base material of the cognitive and emotional processes that operate in the functioning of our lives. For that matter, the psychology has an arsenal of tools and a valuable set of observations and theoretical models that try to explain mental activity and human behavior. If Phrenology failed as an attempt to move the understanding of the brain and its functions forward, it was because its method was unscientific; however an additional reason is that his psychological concepts were totally naïve, far from any psychological science.
In his book The New Phrenology, Professor William Uttal emphasizes the importance of having a good psychological theory to approach the study of brain functions. It also alerts about the danger of a new phrenology, if it slides into an excessive localization that forgets the dynamic unity of brain and main
Functional images, electrophysiological records, and neuroscientific observations as a whole need to be explained and related within a coherent theory that, in turn, is the source of new verifiable hypotheses. Otherwise, only a scattered set of data would be available while awaiting their unification and theoretical integration. In this process we must take advantage of all the knowledge provided by cognitive psychology. It is, of course, a synergistic approach that goes beyond the simple sum of two converging disciplines.
All in all, it is essential to have the contribution of scientific psychology to be able to ask proper and engaging questions and, at the same time, to elaborate a response through which conceptually frame the data offered by neuroscience.