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Systems neuroscience comprises the empirical examination of brain function from the whole brain/whole animal perspective, and adopts the standpoint that without an examination of how brain systems interact in the living animal, we cannot fully understand the mechanisms that enable memory and cognition to occur. This field of neuroscience reflects a move away from the more traditional in vitro approaches to studying the mechanisms underlying brain plasticity. Instead, it integrates multifarious in vivo approaches with the goal of observing the emergence and subsequent implementation of cognitive representations and memory in behaving animals. Systems neuroscience reflects a fusion of established in vivo approaches that enable single-unit, field potential, or EEG recordings in behaving animals with novel methodologies such as optogenetics, virtual reality, activity-dependent genetic manipulations, and large-scale cellular imaging.
Handbook of Neural Plasticity gives a comprehensive overview of the current methods and approaches that are used to study neural plasticity from a systems neuroscience perspective. In addition, the book offers in-depth methodological advice that provides a necessary foundation for researchers who wish to establish these methods and for students who need to understand the theoretical and methodological bases of these approaches. This is the ideal resource for anyone new to the study of cognitive and behavioral neuroscience who needs an introduction to the state-of-the-art techniques used in relating physiology to behavior, as well as experts in in vitro techniques looking to transition to a systems-level approach.