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Neuroscience/Neuropsychology question

SA nospam at nospam.net
Mon Jul 3 01:13:29 EST 2000

In article <393F336F.B8FF6500 at ix.netcom.com>, Jane Harper 
<jharper at ix.netcom.com> wrote:

> Richard Norman wrote:
> > 
> > Generally, one year of calculus is required for a biology major.
> > That will get you through a lot. (sad to say -- I was a math major
> > and I really despair at the lack of interest biologists show for math)
> And of course the psychology programs, even those with heavy
> neuroscience, don't even require that -- only statistics.  Sigh.

In contrast to Calculus, a good understanding of Statistics is actually 
important to most experiments in Neuroscience and Psychology. Hence the 
requirement.  Calculus has fairly limited application in these fields 
(in computational neuroscience and modeling), whereas you cannot write a 
paper without some stats, and you can certainly get one rejected for 
poor stats.  Now as far as neuropsych, calculus would be totally useless 
and statistics essential. 

Anyway, if you have a strong quantitative background, it doesn't matter 
in what, you will be able to pick up the skills to analyze the data you 
collect. Generally speaking these won't be learned in classroom, 
although you may get a better understanding of what you are doing if you 
have a good classroom background.  But I certainy dont agree with the 
hoohahing about calculus. I took two years of calc in college (and had 
AP credit for another year before that) and have have only used it in 
one project in the last 7 or 8 years. In contrast, stats are necessary 
almost every day. And you would be surprised how poor the understanding 
of stats and experimental methods most calc junkies have. 

It would also be a good idea to get some experience programming, 
especially if you want to pursue cognitive neuroscience, this is 
essential in writing testing programs, and esp in analyzing fmri or 
similar imaging.

Anyway, taking classes 
> > If you really want to understand the biophysics of excitability,
> > you will need far more -- two years of calculus (vector calculus)
> > with differential equations, plus some very good physical chemistry
> > would really help.
> This is a little puzzling to me.  The P-chem that I'm preparing to take
> requires only one year of calc, and the physics prereq can be
> calc-free.  (And it's the p-chem for chem majors!)  In the absence of a
> solid biophysics course or courses, are there references you recommend
> for those who want to delve deeper into the subject?
> Jane Harper

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