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Lecture 1

PSYC 271 Lecture 1: PSYC 271 Chapters 1 & 5

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Queen's University
PSYC 271
Amanda Maracle

WEEK 1 - Chapter 1: Biopsychology as a Neuroscience & Chapter 5: Research Methods 1.1 What Is Biopsychology? - Scientific study of the biology of behaviour o Biological approach to psychology - Psychology is the scientific study of behaviour; all overt activities of the organism as well as the internal processes that are assumed to underlie them (ex. Learning, memory, motivation, perception and emotion) 1.2 What is the Relation between Biopsychology and Other Disciplines in Neuroscience? - Neuroscientists who bring to their research knowledge of behaviour and of the methods of behavioural research o Apply it to the study of behaviour - A few disciplines include: o Neuroanatomy – study of the structure of the nervous system o Neurochemistry – the study of the chemical bases of neural activity o Neuroendocrinology – study of interactions between nervous and endocrine system o Neuropathology – study of nervous system disorders o Neuropharmacology – study of the effects of drugs on neural activity o Neurophysiology – study of the functions and activities of the nervous system 1.3 What Types of research Characterize the Biological Approach Human and Nonhuman Subjects - Mice and rats are the most common nonhuman subjects; also dogs, cats and primates - Differences between their brains are more quantitative than qualitative, thus info can still be clarified by studying nonhumans WEEK 1 - Chapter 1: Biopsychology as a Neuroscience & Chapter 5: Research Methods Experiments and Nonexperiments - Experiment o Independent Variable: difference between conditions o Dependent Variable: variable measured by the experimenter to assess the effect of the independent ▪ Any differences may have been caused by the independent o Confounded Variable: extraneous variable that correlates - Coolidge Effect: a copulating male who becomes incapable of continuing to copulate with one sex partner can compensate by having another o Harder to show with females because men become sexually fatigued faster (i.e. confounded by male fatigue) - Nonexperiment? o Compared 100 detoxified male alcoholics from an alcoholism treatment unit with 50 male non-drinkers and compared various effects o This is not an example because participants decided what group they were in and researcher could not confirm this is the only variable that distinguished the two - Case Study: focus on a single case or subject; more in depth picture than experiment o Problem with generalizability, meaning they can’t be applied to other cases WEEK 1 - Chapter 1: Biopsychology as a Neuroscience & Chapter 5: Research Methods Pure and Applied Research - Pure: done purely because of curiosity of researcher o Objective is to find how things work, establish building blocks and basic concepts for tackling problems o May be more beneficial because application will flow from understanding of basic principles o More vulnerable to political regulation because what is purpose? - Applied: intended to bring about some kind of benefit for humankind o Objective is to use building blocks provided by pure (basic) research to answer specific questions about human behaviour (normal and disordered) 1.4 What are the Divisions of Biopsychology? 1. Physiological Psychology - Neural mechanisms of behaviour through the direct manipulation and recording of the brain in controlled experiments (ex. Surgical and electrical methods almost always on lab animals) - Emphasis on pure research – development of theories of neural control - Memory: contributions of hippocampus to memory by surgically removing the structure and testing ability to perform memory tasks 2. Psychopharmacology - Similar to above, but focuses on manipulation of neural activity and behaviour with drugs; on both humans and lab animals - Mostly applied research to develop therapeutic drugs to reduce drug abuse - Memory: tried to improve memory of Alzheimer’s patients by administering drugs that increase levels of acetylcholine 3. Neuropsychology - Psychological effects of brain damage in human patients; deal almost always with case studies and non-experiments of patients with brain damage - Most applied of biopsychological disciplines; tests facilitate diagnosis and help physician prescribe effective treatment - Memory: patients with alcohol-produced brain damage have particular difficulty in remembering recent events 4. Psychophysiology - Relation between physiological activity and psychological processes in humans - Applied research - Uses electroencephalogram (EEG), but can also test with eye movement, tension, HR, BP o Patients with schizophrenia cannot steadily track a moving pendulum - Memory: familiar faces elicit similar ANS response in those with brain damage and not WEEK 1 - Chapter 1: Biopsychology as a Neuroscience & Chapter 5: Research Methods 5. Cognitive Neuroscience - Neural bases of cognition: referring to thought, memory attention etc. of humans, mostly using non-invasive imaging techniques - Involves functional brain imaging and electrophysiological recording - Pure (basic) and applied (mostly applied) research methods - Memory: use imaging to see how brain reacts to
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