The 7 Best Neuroscience Textbooks of 2020

An overview of seven neuroscience textbooks that may be useful to high school students, undergraduates, graduate students, and professionals.

A stack of textbooks resting on a bench.

Whether you are a student taking a neuroscience course or a professional reviewing key concepts from the field, a good textbook can help you to better understand basic and clinical neuroscience and achieve your goals. Here we provide an overview of 7 neuroscience textbooks, ranging from introductory to advanced, that may be useful to students, scientists, physicians, and other individuals studying neuroscience or a particular sub-field such as neurobiology, cognitive neuroscience, molecular neuroscience, medical neuroscience, or behavioral neuroscience. Our team may earn a commission from qualifying purchases made through the below links at no additional cost to you.


Neuroscience, currently in its 6th edition, provides a comprehensive account of the field and uses real-world experimental evidence to support the teaching of key concepts. The textbook is well-written and has both breadth of content that would be useful to undergraduates taking an introductory neuroscience course but also depth that could support medical students preparing for the USMLE exam. Professionals may find this textbook helpful for reviewing core concepts.


Clinical Manual of Neuropsychiatry by Stuart Yudofsky and Robert Hales provides a practical account of the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders and is intended to support healthcare providers actively treating patients with neuropsychiatric illnesses. The textbook provides complete physiological and epidemiological information for each condition and includes detailed information on psychopharmacological agents including indications, efficacy, and side effects for an array of existing drugs. Both beginning and more advanced neurologists, psychiatrists, and other healthcare professionals may find this textbook useful.


Foundational Concepts in Neuroscience: A Brain-Mind Odyssey by David Presti is intended for use by both students taking a neuroscience course at university or medical school and clinicians reviewing concepts from the field. Content is presented in a manner understandable by the layperson yet also with sufficient detail to support the purposes of more experienced readers.


Brain and Behavior: An Introduction to Behavioral Neuroscience by Bob Garrett and Gerald Hough provides an introduction to the field of behavioral neuroscience supported by case studies and research findings intended to enhance learning. The textbook includes detailed illustrations of key concepts and may be useful to both students and professionals.


Behavioral Neuroscience by Marc Breedlove and Neil Watson provides a comprehensive account of behavioral neuroscience while maintaining a writing style appropriate for students taking an introductory course. Detailed visuals and examples from recent research are included to support the learning process. Both students and professionals may find this textbook helpful.


Cognitive Neuroscience by Marie Banich and Rebecca Compton is a more clinically-oriented textbook that includes the presentation of case studies, overview of clinical applications, and discussion of the ethical, legal, and societal implications of the field. This textbook may be particularly helpful to medical students and healthcare providers such as practicing neurologists.


Textbook of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences by David Arciniegos, Stuart Yudofsky, and Robert Hales presents both general concepts and practical information that would be useful to healthcare professionals actively diagnosing and treating patients with neuropsychiatric illnesses. The textbook covers primary psychiatric disorders, neurodegenerative disorders, acquired neurological conditions, and neurodevelopmental disorders and is structured to be compatible with the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.


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