In the past few decades, behavioral neuroscientists have answered big questions about how the brain functions when people learn and remember. Researchers now know, for example, that the cerebellum is the foundation for learning new skills, while the hippocampus consolidates experiences into long-term memories. Incoming Behavioral Neuroscience editor Mark Blumberg, PhD, aims to maintain the journal's tradition of publishing the best work in those areas of research, while also expanding into other domains.
"Any behavior that is covered from a neuroscientific standpoint is fair game," says Blumberg, a psychology professor at the University of Iowa.
That includes not only learning and memory, but motivation, reproduction, sleep psychopharmacology and mental disorders, as long as the researchers have an eye toward explaining how the nervous system comes into play. Developmental studies contribute much to the understanding of biological bases of behavior, says Blumberg, who studies infant sleep. And even purely behavioral studies--ones that don't directly alter or measure nervous system function but that inform our understanding of what's going on under the hood--fit the journal's mission, adds Blumberg.
Bringing new researchers into the behavioral neuroscience fold is one of Blumberg's central goals. To that end, he aims to ask leaders in the field to write review articles that reflect on what we know about the neurological underpinnings of behavior and think ahead to the questions that still need answers.
"Right now, the journal is solely committed to original research," says Blumberg, who has served as associate editor of the journal since 2001. "Reviews are useful for students or researchers who are new in the field, or people looking for an article that summarizes the major issues and findings."
That said, the new editor will continue the journal's tradition of publishing cutting-edge, original research.
"We're going to make sure we're the place where behavioral neuroscientists go first," he notes.