The latter part of the 20th century was an exciting period in the history of the neurosciences. Techniques became available that made it possible to answer questions about the role of the brain in thought processes, questions which, easy to formulate, could not previously be resolved. The major objective of cognitive neuroscience is to understand the neural mechanisms of thought processes. It is difficult to conceive of these processes taking place solely in the present continuous, without any reference to the past. Past experience may influence future behaviour and the interpretation of current events; and the information contained in memory may occupy current thoughts. Although the neural bases of memory in particular and of thought processes in general have been the subjects of speculation for many centuries, the field of cognitive neuroscience is a relatively new one.
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