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The Hub of Qualitative Thinking

Neuroscience

Neuroscience and neuropsychology are both disciplines of scientific study. Neuroscience works at the level of the basic neural building blocks of the body (the neurons and associated neural structures and pathways, such as the brain and dopamine system). Neuropsychology works at the level of what these neural structures/pathways mean for human behaviour (so the way we think, feel and behave). The same structures and pathways are considered in both disciplines, but in slightly different ways (i.e. neuroanatomy and neurophysiology vs. the neuro determinants of mind and behaviour).

Neuropsychology is a branch of psychology, a sub-section within. Just like cognitive psychology, behavioural psychology, health psychology, social psychology etc. Thus it explores the same thing, the mind and behaviour, but from a slightly different angle which specifically focuses on our neurology and the role this plays.

All branches of psychology attempt to understand the same thing, but from different perspectives. They exist together and offer a different layer of explanation. Neuropsychology is closer to neuroscience than any other branch of psychology because it works at the neural level (albeit in a slightly different way).

Both these disciplines (neuroscience and neuropsychology) have relevance to qualitative research, which explores why people think, feel and behave as they do. Our neurology allows us to exist and function in the world, and shapes our behaviour, so if we can understand how this works, we can learn more about people and why they think, feel and behave as they do.

By introducing neuroscience and neuropsychology into qualitative practice, we can gain more holistic, robust and credible understanding and add weight to our research observations. We have more levels to go than just observations during focus groups etc. We can also use these disciplines to tap further into the psyche and inner workings of the body to get closer to those parts of us that shape who w

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