Neuroscience/Neuropsychology question

Bill Skaggs skaggs at bns.pitt.edu
Thu Jun 8 09:29:51 EST 2000


Piaget's 2nd cousin <mr at mollusk.com> writes:

> Can someone tell me how much math background is necessary for the study
> of neuroscience and/or neuropsychology (whatever you happen to know
> about) on a MS/PhD level?
> 
> What kinds of math are used most frequently?
> 
> I have a decent scientific background, but one that is stonger in
> theory/history than it is in applied physics. 
> 
> Thanks.

In terms of what is *necessary*, basic algebra and a smattering of
statistics will get you by, and that's all that a lot of
neuroscientists know.  In terms of what is *useful*, differential
equations, linear algebra, and probability theory certainly come in
handy, and in my opinion are really essential if you want to study the
nervous system from a computational point of view.  (By "a
computational point of view" I don't mean running computer
simulations, I mean trying to understand the nervous system as a
device that performs computations.)  For neurophysiologists, who deal
with time-varying electrical signals, Fourier analysis is also an
essential tool.  At a more advanced level, dynamical systems theory
comes in very handy, and to a degree information theory and analysis
of algorithms.

	-- Bill

(PS, I was a math major as an undergraduate and also studied it in
graduate school before switching to neuroscience.)






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