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I am electronics engineer by profession But i am confused in difference between Psychology & Neuroscience? Please explain in lay man terms?

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This will be a little contrived (you asked in layman's terms), but basically psychologists don't care about neurons. They care more about a higher-level view of how the brain works.

There's even a joke about psychologists having a "neuron envy". As for an example:

The problem is that you can have an explanation in biology at two different levels. One is a "black box," or non-reductionist approach. An example of this is behaviorism, which gives you a model of what's going on at the same level as the phenomenon you are studying.

And as an analogy

In biology, for example, Mendelian genetics--where you have pea plants and genes--could only get you so far. Sooner or later, you need to open it up and see what's inside. You have to discover the structure of the DNA molecule--an advance that gave birth to modern biology, because it told you about enzymes; it told you about ... the machinery underlying cell physiology.

In psychology, the nearest thing to that happening is neuroscience.

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A lot of neuroscience has nothing to do with the brain (never mind the human brain). For example research to regrow peripheral neuron or neurons in the spinal cord to help paralyzed individuals would be neuroscience but not psychology.

In the limit all of psychology is related to neuroscience, since if we could model individual neurons, networks, and brains, then we could predict all of human and animal behavior. That is still a long way off so I think it is reasonable to say parts of psychology are unrelated to neuroscience (e.g., social psychology and psychometrics).

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You might say that neuroscience is a study of the materials and physical processes required to make a brain operate, and that could be likened to computer hardware.

You might therefore also say that psychology is a study of some aspects of the software that runs on that hardware, and psychotherapy a way of hacking that software.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is an interesting analogy. Can you expand on this? What about the communications between the brain and other parts of the body? That would not necessarily be "psychology software". Especially the neurological systems involved in pain sensitivity etc. $\endgroup$ – Chris Rogers Apr 20 at 7:21
  • $\begingroup$ Hi Chris, We could split those communication types you mention up into input and output. The nervous system would be an input, motor control would be an output. The nervous system affects how we think/feel by changing the balance of hormones in the body in response to information received by the senses and therefore brain activity. However psychological trauma can affect how our nervous system responds to stress, and in turn this can affect things like breathing regulation, motor control etc. It's not necessarily psychology software all the time, but could be related to that sometimes $\endgroup$ – Thom Neurohacked Apr 21 at 8:16
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I would say the difference between psychology and neuroscience is like the difference between electronics and electrodynamics.

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