Cognitive neuroscience is a branch of neuroscience and biological psychology involving the study of the neural mechanisms of cognition, but sometimes is seen as part of a wider interdisciplinary study of cognition, cognitive science.

Cognitive neuroscience overlaps with cognitive psychology, and in fact has its roots largely in cognitive psychophysiology. But whereas cognitive psychologists seek to understand the mind, researchers in cognitive neuroscience are concerned with understanding how the mental processes take place in the brain. Cognitive neuroscientists tend to have a background in experimental psychology, cognitive psychophysiology, neurobiology, neurology, physics, and mathematics. The two areas influence each other on a continuous basis, since an understanding of mental structure can inform theories about brain functions and knowledge about neural mechanisms is useful in understanding mental structure.

Methods include psychophysical experiments, functional neuroimaging, neuropsychology and behavioral neuroscience. Cognitive neuroscience also makes contact with low-level data from electrophysiological studies of neural systems and, increasingly, cognitive genomics. The main theoretical approaches are computational neuroscience and the more "abstract" information processing approaches, inherited from cognitive psychology, psychometrics (mathematical psychology) and neuropsychology.