Modern neuroscience assesses the nervous system, studying its structure, how it develops and works. The discipline also looks at how the nervous system changes and malfunctions. Neural pathways in the brain transmit information and it’s these connections that are a key area of study for neuroscientists.
Cognitive neuroscience draws from linguistics, neuroscience, psychology and cognitive science. Cognitive neuroscientists can take two broad directions; behavioral/experimental or computational/modeling, the aim being to understand the nature of cognition from a neural point of view. All details can be found at Foundations of Behavioral Neuroscience 9e.
As a discipline, behavioral neuroscience began to take some vague shape in the 1700s, when philosophers started to seriously consider what has been coined the mind-body problem. That is, the extent to which the mind and the body are connected. The unsolved problem looks at the relationship between consciousness and the brain – one being a mental set of properties, the other physical.
Questions of how these two properties interact largely underpin the mind-body problem. Whether mental states are physical, whether each is distinct or one is a subclass of the other, and whether physical states influence mental states or vice versa all form the basis of the problem.
Then there are questions around consciousness, the physical self and intentionality – what are these concepts? How do they relate to the brain and the body? And does the mind belong to the body, or is the body simply a residence for the mind?
Basically establishing the body’s electrical wiring, its complex conglomerate of cells and nerves transmits data back and forth between the brain, spinal cord, organs, and limbs.
There is no clear-cut answer for these questions, hence the problem remains unsolved, but there are schools of thought that address the relationship between mind and matter.