Primers

Primers take an in-depth look at basic principles of neuroscience.

The Senses—A Primer (Part II)

Although sensory systems share basic features of organization, each is uniquely designed to respond to a particular aspect of the world. Here are some specifics on vision, hearing, taste and smell, and somatosensory systems.

The Senses—A Primer (Part I)

Although sensory systems share basic features of organization, each is uniquely designed to respond to a particular aspect of the world. We might think of the principal senses as variations on a common theme.

Memory—A Primer

Thanks to a century of research, we know a good deal about memory: what happens in the brain when we store facts, experiences, and skills in memory; what happens when we recall them.

Connectivity—A Primer

The human brain is a network of networks, an integrated system of stupefying complexity that somehow coordinates the operations of billions of units.

Right Brain-Left Brain—A Primer

The reality is not so simple—and a good deal more interesting. And like so much in neuroscience, far from fully understood.

Neurotransmitters—A Primer

There are many types of neurotransmitters in the brain—what they have in common is that they are produced inside a neuron, released into the synapse, and then cause an excitatory or inhibitory effect on receptor cells, helping to propagate or downgrade action potentials.

Genetics and the Brain—A Primer

In recent decades, genetic research has become a mainstay of neuroscience, illuminating how the brain is put together, the molecular pathways of its operations, and the myriad things that can go wrong.

Stroke—A Primer

Some strokes cause major disruption; some minor. Speedy treatment can be key.

Hormones, Sexual Dimorphism, and the Brain—A Primer

Hormones affect the entire brain both during development and throughout adult life: shaping, activating, and fueling sexually dimorphic brain circuits involved in stress and memory as well as several psychiatric disorders.

Brain Imaging Technologies and Their Applications in Neuroscience

Imaging is becoming an increasingly important tool in both research and clinical care. This paper explains in-depth a range of imaging technologies that provide unprecedented sensitivity to visualization of brain structure and function from the level of individual molecules to the whole brain. A shorter version is also available: Imaging Techniques at a Glance (below).

Imaging Techniques At-a-Glance

A shorter version of our in-depth primer, "Brain Imaging Technologies and Their Applications in Neuroscience."

Brain Receptors—A Primer

A receptor is a protein that resides on the membrane of the postsynaptic neuron. The binding of neurotransmitters to receptors is often described using a lock and key metaphor.
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