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Psychology 3325 Lecture Notes - David H. Hubel, Visual Cortex, Heredity

Course Code
Psychology 3325
John Usher

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Understanding the Limitations of Brain Methods
strength of conclusion depends on quality of control
must be careful when we interpret functional role of particular brain region, regardless of
technique being used
Vanderwolf and Cain point out many possible confounds that can occur in system as
complicated as brain: modules within brain are highly interconnected with many
feedback loops between different regions
problems of generalizaiton research is highly specialized and tasks that are used are
developed for specific purposes; more study is needed before many of these findings can be
applied to real-world problems
Mozart for Babies
Biology and Culture: environmental effects on brain development
Maguire, using fMRI found that taxi cab drivers in london brains' were physically different
than other people
Evidence for Effects of Experience on Brain Development:
Rosenzweig began research study 25 eyars ago to exmine question:
delivered litters of rats and placed them in different environments enriched or
brains of rats in enriched environment had thicker cerebral cortex, better blood supply,
more protein content, and more acetylcholine (transmitter substance that appears to play
important role in learning)
subsequent studies found changes at microscopic level:
Greenough and Volkmar neurons of rats raised in enriched environment had larger and
more complex dentritic trees
Turner and Greenough found synapses in their cerebral cortexes were larger and more
synapses were found on each neuron
Black, Shafron, and Greenough rats placed in enriched environment between ages of
30-60 days, capillaries in their visual cortex grew more branches and their surface areas
increased, presumably to accomodate growth that was stimulated by experience
David Hubel if one eye closed during critical period of brain development that occurs
shortly after birth, normal synaptic connections are not established between that eye and
visual cortex and becomes blind and neurons from other eye have taken over region of cortex
that would normally have formed connections to covered eye
Field, Whishaw and Pellis pattern of “dodging” while rat eats depended on exposure to
testosterone around time of birth and injecting female rat pups with testosterone after birth
produced male-like dodging in adults; males that had gonadal tissue removed at birth showed
female dodging patterns but if later removed no change in behaviour
Moore indicates effects of heredity on sexual behaviour are sometimes indirect
rat mothers lick baby's genitals, more so rats and found that it effects their behaviour as
male sex hormone was responsible for odour of urine that was attractive to mothers
and if mother cannot smell urine, will not give them attention
when this happened males showed decreased sexual behaviour as adults
if researchers stroke it then no effect on behaviour
research indicates that licking affects development of genitals and group of neurons
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