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U1- Biopsych as a neuroscience.docx

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PSYC 271
Monica Valsangkar- Smyth

1: BIOPSYCHOLOGY AS A NEUROSCIENCE Jan 12/12 1. History Testing of how Body & Brain - Suggested that a link exists between the human mind and its physical housing, worked together the brain Descartes - The mind controlled body movements while the body supplied the mind with information about what was happening in the environment. - Experimentation began on how brain, nerves and muscles might work together. Doctrine of Specific Nerve energies/ Localization of Fn Muller - All the nerves carry the same basic message (electrical impulse), we perceive the messages of different nerves in different ways. - A message carried by the optic nerve and auditory nerve produce different effects because the brain is functionally divided, so different parts receive different messages from different nerves. Different Parts of Brain had different functions - Used phrenology or measurements of the skull size whereby depressions and Gall & Spurzheim bumps on the skull indicated the size of the underlying area of the brain. - Size was correlated with personality traits and was used to study murderers, but was very subjective. Experimental Ablation Flourens - Inferred function of a part of the brain by the behaviors that the animal can no longer perform. - Broca had a patient who could only say ‘Tan’ due to damage in left frontal lobe - This was important for production of speech - In addition to localization, there was lateralization of function, where a function can be localized to only one side of the brain. The Organization of Behavior Hebb - Creation of the first comprehensive theory of how complex phenomena like thoughts and memories might be produced by brain activity. 2. Biopsychology - Biopsychology is a discipline of neuroscience that tries to discover how various Discipline & Goals phenomena studied by neurophysiologists, neuropharmacologists, neuroanatomists, and other neuroscientists relate to one another to produce psychological phenomena (learning, memory, motivation, perception) 3. Research – Human vs Advantages of Nonhuman Subjects Nonhuman subjects - Simpler nervous systems - You can compare many species to understand their biological processes (Comparative approach) o Ex. Comparing the behaviour of species that don’t have a cerebral cortex with those that do - Fewer ethical constraints Advantages of Human subjects - Can follow directions - Report subjective experiences - Less expensive - Have a human brain which is useful when testing language 4. Research – Experiments - Scientists uses experiments to find out causation – what causes what. Between subjects design - Different group of subjects is tested under each treatment condition of an experiment o Ex. 5 subjects are given a reaction time (RT) task that are averaged among the 5 members o Another group of 5 are given 5 cups of coffee before doing the same Within Subjects Design task and scores are averaged - Same group of subjects are tested under multiple treatment conditions - Ex. Same subjects are tested twice, once with no coffee and with Variables coffee the next day. - Independent variables are set or manipulated by the experimenter that produce different treatment conditions (coffee/no coffee) - Dependent variables reflect the subject’s behaviour that could be measured and doesn’t vary. - In a well-designed experiment, the experimenter can conclude that differences in dependent variable were caused by independent variable. - Sometimes, unintended differences between conditions can influence the dependent variable - Ex. If someone wasn’t used to having caffeine at all, there might be a huge difference in their RTs - A confounded variable or unintended difference can lead to the observed The Coolridge effect effects on the dependent variable Lester & Gorzalka - The Coolidge effect is the fact that a copulating male who becomes incapable of continuing to copulate with one sex partner can often recommence copulating with a new sex partner - Subjects in this experiment were hamsters - Males of most mammalian species become sexually fatigued more readily, thus attempts to demonstrate this effect in females are often confounded by male fatigue. (This is the confounding variable) - To control for it, at the same time a female subject was copulating with one male, the unfamiliar other male was copulating with another female. - When both males were given a rest while female copulated with a third male - Finally, the female was tested with either the familiar male or unfamiliar one. - Found females displayed lordosis (sexual receptivity position) more vigorously to unfamiliar males than they did to the familiar males. 5. Research – Nonexperiments Quasiexperimental Design - Examine subjects in real world situations who have self-selected into specific conditions (ex. Excessive alcohol intake) and have assigned themselves to treatment conditions. - These are subjects who have been exposed to the conditions of interest in the real world. - The problem with this is that you can’t control for confounding variables - Ex. Researchers can’t assign humans to control and alcohol group and expose one group to chronic alcohol exposure to see if alcohol causes brain damage. - Alcohol may not be the main cause of brain damage, there could be differences in education, accidental head injury, diet… Case study - Study that focus on a single subject and often provide more indepth picture. o Ex. H.M was amnesic due to temporal lobes were removed to stop seizures - Problem with generalizability/ extent that results tell us something about general population. 6. Research – Pure vs - Pure research is motivated by the curiosity of the researcher to find out how Applied things work and establish building blocks - Applied research uses building blocks to answer specific questions 7. Divisions of Biopsychology Physiological Psychology - Explain behaviour by studying physiological processes that control it - Directly manipulates the brain in controlled experiments (including surgical and electrical) - Subjects always animals -
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