As someone who uses neuroscience in my research, I frequently get asked by students if they can do projects that involve brain data in my lab. Yes, neuroscience is cool and a rapidly growing area of psychology research, but just because research involves data that comes from the brain does not make it better research than data from basic behavior, surveys, or other measures. So I always have to ask the student, “Why would adding this neuroscience measure contribute something to the study that other measures can’t tell us?” This can often be a stumper.

So, how do we know when using neuroscience contributes something valuable to research?

According to the article attached to this post, you need a significant amount of training to not be called in by the sirens of neuroscience. What can be done about this as we train undergraduates and graduates in psychology? A very small percentage of our students will actually end up in fields of neuroscience, but I do believe that all psychology students should be able to read, comprehend, and evaluate neuroscience research to remain current and competitive in our field.

What are your thoughts?

– Dr. Aminda O’Hare