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Post Midterm Lecture Notes P2.pdf

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PSYC 342
Jens C Pruessner

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Lecture 16 - Mar. 20: What is Cognition? • Cognition is a term referring to the mental processes involved in gaining knowledge and comprehension, including perceiving, learning, remembering, but also knowing, judging and problem-solving. These are higher-level functions of the brain and encompass language, imagination, perception and planning. • Why should there be a role in hormones effecting higher order functions of brain? o At microlevel- hormones can manipulate synapse function involved to either facilitate or impair all these aspects (perception, processing, memorizing, remembering etc.) o In general hormones determine how emotions are regulated because the brain structures that are involved with regulation of hormones have to do with limbic system (emotional regulation) → so whenever emotion is involved hormones could effect the processing of anything that has to do with cognition to allow you to facilitate or impair the processing of the information coming in o This will guide us through todays lecture → how emotions will taint your processing, how they will change the way you deal with new information o How do emotions change or effect processing or general cognition?  Example: anger can inhibit rational thinking and cause us to react impulsively  Example: Stress and learning → been looked at intensively, layman assumption is that stress impairs memory but not necessarily! Role for Hormones in Cognition? • 1. perception • • 2. memory • 3. moral decision main 4. general cognitive abilities 1. Perception • STUDY: Cutting Stress Off at the Pass: Reducing Vigilance and Responsiveness to Social Threat by Manipulating Attention (Baldwin, Preussner) o PART 1:  Dot Probe Task: Investigates all sorts of behavioral tendencies/preferences. A simple reaction task where you have to look for a specific target (dot) either appearing on left or right side of screen and then must indicate which side it appeared on. However, before target appears, two faces (either happy/positive or sad/angry/negative) appear on either side of the screen.  Reaction time: determines preference because if you were looking at the opposite side of the screen then where the target was your reaction time will be longer (so if you were looking at the positive face on the left and subsequent target was on the right it will take longer then if you were looking at negative face on the right)  We all seem to have a tendency to look for positive or negative information in our environment.  Depression is associated with the tendency/preference to look for negative information  In fact, if you have the tendency to look for negative information in the environment you are more prone to develop depression (risk factor)  Measured Rejection Bias Scores: • Greater score= more tendency to focus attention of negative information from environment  Correlated rejection bias scores with cortisol levels while performing task: • If you have a tendency to look for rejection in environment is related to your levels of cortisol in association with this task  Discussion/Interpretation: what does this suggest? • One possibility: when you are under more stress you look for negative surrounding you • However, visual dot probe tasks look at more of a trait then a state (not currently under more stress but how you respond in general) • Interpretation (if this is more of a trait)? If higher rejection bias means you are more vulnerable to depression then this is also correlated with higher cortisol levels (also a marked symptom of depression) • However, this is a correlation, not causation, so what is the cause and what is the consequence? • • One possibility: higher cortisol levels make you more rejection focused However cannot prove this from the study since it is correlational • What could a study look like to establish cause and effect? o Must get the person in a state of stress and then use cortisol levels as a biomarker of this stressed state (cannot artificially induce cortisol because this does not mean the person actually feels stressed and might just induce a series of adverse effects) o One idea: expose to real like stressor (TSST) and measure cortisol levels as a response, then put in dot probe test to see if that changes anything → this has been done but is not yet published  Conclusion: • There is a link between rejection bias and cortisol levels but we don't know the cause and consequence (high rejection bias leads to higher cortisol or higher cortisol leads to higher rejection bias? o PART2:  Baldwin then showed that this rejection bias can be changed in that you can train people to systematically look for the positive instead  Baldwin’s Matrix Task: matrix of grumpy negative faces with one happy face. Told to quickly look for the happy face and select it and overtime you become better at it. → so trained to actively look for positive information  3 conditions: • Flower (control) condition: matric task but told to look for the flower with 7 petals out of a matrix of flowers with 5 petals (nothing to do with positive or negative information) • Smile (experimental) condition: matrix task with grumpy faces and told to focus on smiling faces • Exposure (control) condition: matrix of grumpy faces and NOT told to focus on smiling faces (not told to focus on anything, just told to look at it)  Then measured the change in reception/acceptance bias and subjective stress levels  RESULTS: • 1. Effect on Rejection Bias (Dot Probe Task) o Flower (control) condition: not a significant change in either acceptance or rejection bias o Smile (experimental) condition: huge change! Rejection bias decreases dramatically and acceptance bias increases o Exposure (control) condition: negative effect, rejection bias dramatically increases and acceptance bias dramatically decreases (Priming effect!) • 2. Effect on self reported stress ratings (real life consequence) o Looked at self reported stress ratings in conjunction with final exam period o Control: subjective stress levels increased over 5 day study period o Smile: subjective stress levels decreased over 5 day study period o Conclusion: Can be conditioned/trained to look for positive information from the environment and this change will generalize to other aspects  of behavior (focusing attention) and can translate into real life consequence of lower stress levels. • STUDY 2: Follow up Study o recruited telemarketers (get a lot of rejection as part of their job- rejection levels are high) o trained them with this task to focus on the positive o control (flower) and experimental (smile) groups o RESULTS: looked at various outcome variables…  A) self esteem: changes in control but clear tend for elevation is ones that played task  B) self reported stress: not diff from control at onset of task but lower throughout entire task  C) cortisol levels: on last day of experiment throughout the day most of the day was lower while they were at work doing their telemarketing job  D) performance: positive outlook on the environmental also made them more successful as telemarketers, sales rate went up significantly compared to pre testing period while this was unchanged in control group o Conclusion:  What is the mechanism once could speculate about how this training could have all these effects on self-esteem, cortisol, stress, performance etc?  First example of how perception might be influenced by hormones, however, these hormone may be more of a consequence of focusing on positive or negative information 2. Memory • Memory is a vast topic but the three components this lecture will touch on are: 1. Memory encoding (learning or acquisition of material) 2. Remembering (retrieval of material) 3. Reconsolidation (re-learning of material when it gets activated) 1) Memory Consolidation o STUDY: Glucocorticoid Effects on Memory Consolidation (Coursepack)  Animal studies → Corticosterone in animals is cortisol in humans  Study done with rats with amygdala lesions • Why? emotional memories are stored better then neutral memories (shown repeatedly) when you learn emotional material it gets better retained (both positive or negative) as compared to neutral material and likely because of involvement of amygdala so amygdala facilitates or improves learning and memory of particular info. Why? evolutionarily adaptive (fear memory is more relevant for survival)  Outcome: retention latency (the smaller the latency, the worse the memory is) • The measurement is how long rats stay way from a cage where they previously received foot shock, so the longer they stay away the more they remembered thus it is an indicator of good memory  PART 1 (graph A): • 3 groups: o sham lesion (surgery without inducing lesion) o central amygdala lesion o basolateral amygdala lesion • 2 conditions: o vehicle administration: o dexamethasone administration: synthetic glucocorticoid * not a good ides to administer glucocorticoid to represent stress, because it does not increase  subjective stress level, but if you administer it in context of memory study you can at least see the effect of glucocorticoid centrally at that moment • RESULTS: o Sham:  Learning rate greatly improves under administration of dex  Clear improvement of memory consolidation if stress hormone is present o Central:  Clear enhancement of memory under this condition reduced from the original level but not dramatically so o Basolateral:  No significant difference between vehicle or dex administration • Conclusion: dex effect is most strikingly in basolateral aspect of amygdala because once this area is lessoned the enhancing effect dex no longer exist. In general dex has an enhancing effect, which can be taken away if there is an induced lesion in basolateral area of amygdala.  Part 2 (graph B): • Groups: o Central amygdala lesion: o Basolateral amygdala lesion: • Conditions: (intra-amygdala infusions) o Vehicle: o Lowe level of Glucocorticoid agonist: o High level of glucocorticoid agonist: • RESULTS: o Effects really occur in the basolateral amygdala and they are dose dependent  so the higher the dose the greater the effect • Conclusion: o show that the basolateral part of the amygdala is most important for memory learning and highest amounts of glucocorticoid show the strongest amounts of memory enhancement o steroid enter BBB and dock onto receptors and some are in basolateral aygdala and have a memory enhancing effect through consolidation Part 3:  • Groups: basolateral amygdala infusions of various agents (so used in combo with dex) Saline: control condition, have something injection but not expected to have any effects o Propranolol: beta-blocker, blocks receptors in SNS which prevents effects of SNS. Prescribed for people o who suffer high blood pressure to block the effects from perceived threat on any elevation of heart rate. It also acts centrally in the brain and blocks the effects of SNS activation so that your central structures that typically are involved with SNS activation will now no longer get signal from typical SNS messengers (adrenaline and noradrenaline) o Antenalol: also SNS blocking agent o Zinterlol: also SNS blocking agent • Conditions: (intra-amygdala infusions) o Vehicle o Dexamethasone (synthetic cortisol) • RESULTS: o Saline: Get basic result, if you add dex in bilateral amygdala you see clear enhancement of memory consolidation o Propranolol: when dex is administered with propranolol injections the enhancement effects are completely gone o Antenalol: also sns blocking agents and see same effects o Zinterlol: also sns blocking agents and see same effects • Conclusion: o SNS blocking agents, like propranolol, block the memory enhancements effects of dex o This suggests that dex works through the SNS system because if you block the SNS activity you take away the effects of the dex o if you block the ability of the SNS to modulate amygdala activity, dex admin does not have an effect (propranolol negates the effects of dex because it blocs the way glucocorticoids act on the amygdala and basically take away enhancing effect) o Therefore, glucocorticoids, through facilitation of activity of the SNS seem to have a positive effect on memory at the level of learning and consolidation. 2) Memory Retrieval o STUDY 1: Glucocorticoid Effects on Memory Retrieval Paradigm: Morris water maze • Learn where platform is in training phase then remove platform and measure outcome Outcome: time spent in quadrant(s) • Time spent in target area (indicator of memory retrieval) • Time spent somewhere else (poor memory) RESULTS: interval after stress • Control condition (no stress): quickly learn where in the water maze the platform is located (simple retrieval effect which serves as reference- spends more time in target area then any other area) • 2 mins after stress: same effect on memory as in control (more time spent in target area) • 30 mins after stress: memory retrieval is impaired (less time spent in target area then control) • 4 hours after stress: same effect on memory as in control (more time spent in target area) Conclusion: Stress induces memory retrieval impairment, which is greatest at 30 minutes after stress.  • Recall: 30 minutes after the onset of stress the HPA axis gets activated, suggests this is a glucocorticoid effect o Study 2: Glucocorticoid Effects on Memory Retrieval Demonstrates that this suggestion is correct Part 1:  • Groups: o Sham lesion • o CA3 (hippocampus) lesion RESULTS: their is improvement overtime for both groups (decrease in escape latencies with time) • Conclusion: demonstrates that learning is still possible with this hippocampal lesion. Part 2: • Groups: o Sham lesion o CA3 (hippocampus) lesion • Conditions: o Vehicle o Metyrapone: prevents any cortisol form being produced or released from adrenal cortex which prevents HPA activity (basically turns off HPA axis) o Metyrapone + vehicle o Metyrapone + Cortisol: so Metyrapone takes away ability to produce cortisol but then synthetic cortisol is added to replace it • RESULTS: o Vehicle: CA3 lesion has impaired retrieval compared to sham lesion group (obvious effect because CA3 is region of hippocampus and the hippocampus is involved in memory) o Metyrapone: the impairment in retrieval induced by CA3 lesion is gone (memory back to comparable levels with vehicle/normal retrieval conditions) o Metyrapone + vehicle: get basic effect as Metyrapone alone (no cortisol= impairment is gone) o Metyrapone + Cortisol: get original impairment effect back • Conclusion: • The impairment of CA3 lesions on memory retrieval is dependent on glucocorticoids! • Memory impairment caused by CA3 lesions can be reversed by blocking interaction with glucocorticoids • Recall: glucocorticoids help you in memory consolidation but at the same time they seem to impair your memory retrieval Part 3 and 4: CONCLUSION: o why does it appear detrimental that glucocorticoids impair retrieval?  emotional information relevant to survival is not  remembered when you are stressed  However, by impairing retrieval you emphasis even more consolidation, so if you are in a state of stress (high glucocorticoids) you don’t want to recall, you want to learn and store the current situation so it can be better consolidated rand remembered for the future  Important part: there is a distinct effect of glucocorticoids on memory in that they enhance consolidation but impairs retrieval!!!!! 3) Memory Reconsolidation o Reconsolidation: idea that something that has been learned and stored in long term memory becomes plastic/malleable again when you recall it. So memory goes into an active state and you need to reconsolidate or restore the memory for it to be kept in long term memory again (if you don’t put it back, it does not go back) o You can block/prevent reconsolidation by recalling and activating memory and combining that with administration of propranolol, which blocks the activity of the SNS. o Therapeutic implications: PTSD  if there are traumatic memories you want to take the emotionality out of (doesn't fully erase memory but erases emotional aspect) you can do so by recalling memory and administering propranolol at the same time  could be very beneficial!!!! o STUDY: o Looked at this in the context of ISPS pictures to also investigate the effects in a brain imaging study o Design (A):  Day 1: learning of neutral or negative picture (dog= example of negative picture)  Day 2: FMRI session, take pill (placebo or prop) and either reactivate memory (asked to recall image you saw the day before without actually seeing it) or nor  Day 3) recall session, investigate how well you recall these image you learned on day 1 and reactivated on day 2 o RESULTS:  placebo with no reactivation (B): control condition → get basic emotional memory effect (emotional memory get recalled better comp to neutral memory)  placebo with reactivation (C): nothing changes, still prefer emotional memory  propranolol with no reactivation (D): nothing changes, still prefer emotional memory  propranolol with reactivation (E): emotional enhancement is gone, preference is the same for recalling either neutral or emotional memory o What happens in the brain?  See effect that is located in the amygdala  propranolol seems to have effects, in combination with dex, in the amygdala and hippocampus o Interesting point: Those taking pop for blood pressure may experience flattening of mood (take out the positive and negative aspects of memories) 4. Moral Decision Making • STUDY: Stress Alters Personal Moral Decision Making (Youseff) o Design: presented scenarios to subjects and had them rate whether they would use utilitarian responses (for the greater good) or self-centered responses o 3 conditions: 1) Non moral dilemmas: control condition for reference • Example: you have a recipe and you want to make dinner and it requires peanuts but only have walnuts. What would you do? 2) Impersonal moral dilemma: 3) Personal moral dilemma o RESULTS:  1) CORTISOL LEVELS: increase  2) DECISIVE PART: personal moral dilemma under stress shows a reduction in utilitarian responses. When you feel you are under threat you think more about yourself.  Why? 5. General Cognitive Abilities o Differences between men and women o Verbal o Visuospatial o Mathematical o Hormone treatment • What is verbal fluency? o Generally, all components of language use:  The ability to generate words  Grammar, spelling  Reading  Vocabulary  Oral comprehension o Sex differences tend to vary across these different dimensions, though overall ability is generally found to be better in women (Halpern 64) and men tend to show higher rates of verbal disabilities (stuttering, dyslexia) • Thought activity: o o Shout of the words you can thin of using the letters presented… o Theoretically, we should be getting more words made by women (according to the literature) • Fetal brain exposure to different levels of sex hormones is thought to lead to the differences in cognitive function between men and women • Evidence further suggests that higher endogenous estrogen levels in premenopausal women correlates with superior verbal fluency • Brain activation also differs between men and women, in part correlating with whether they are high or low on tests of verbal fluency • Effects of Sexual Orientation: o Gay men and heterosexual women show significantly higher scores on tests of category fluency than straight men and lesbians • The ability to mentally manipulate 2D and 3D figures • Measured by 3D mental rotation (MR), shape recognition… • Which of the figures is identical to the first? • prior puberty, differences are minimal/absent • prenatal androgens (testosterone) positively and strongly associated with higher visual-spatial ability • estradiol negatively correlated • men tend to outperform women • large sex difference on spatial perception tasks o drawing the water level in tilted jar • other spatial tasks show negligible sex difference o arranging blocks to resemble sample figures • Upbringing and the task: o Maze learning o Socialization: may limit a female child’s spatial exploration, influencing spatial cognitive development • Consider cognitive training: o Exp: 10 hr training on action video game o Improved spatial cognitive tasks in both sexes (inc. mental rotation)  Women benefited more then men o Gender difference was reduced • 3 out of 7 studies reported enhancement in spatial ability….what does that suggest • limitations: o small sample sizes o different types of spatial tasks used  reminder: some spatial tasks don't show much sex difference • Quantitative Abilities • The Moment of Truth o Andy is 7 years older then Beattie and Beattie is 5 years younger than Carrie. Elsie is 2 years older than Danni and carries is a year older then Elsie. Beatties and Elsies ages added together are 20. o How old are Beattie and Elsie?? o LTM and Step-by-Step Logical Reasoning o Visual-spatial tasks o RESULTS:  Men: Low T= better performance in spatial/mathematical tasks  Women: High T= better performance in spatial/mathematical tasks  Estrogen: positively influences performance on sexually dimorphic tasks that favor females and negatively influences performance on tasks that favor males • Summary (Sanders, 2002) o Within sex variation o There is more variation within sexes than between sexes Lecture 17 - Mar. 22: • Recall: oxytocin has physiological role during labor in that it induces contractions • Also plays an important role in attachment • Three aspects of attachment: 1. Partner attachment 2. Parental attachment 3. Trust 1. Partner Attachment • The Prairie Vole: o Male and female form long-lasting bonds o Share a burrow to live together and raise offspring o Female becomes socially exclusive after initial bonding, preferring her mate over others o The male ferociously guards his mate against rivals o Human equivalent= “monogamous”, family lifestyle • The Montane Vole: o Male and female occupy separate burrows and avoid each other except to mate o Mating occurs often and indiscriminately o Lacks any family values and are asocial o Human equivalent= “polygamous”, bachelor lifestyle • Oxytocin and Vasopressin o They are genetically almost identical except for one difference: Oxytocin receptors 3-7 times higher in prairie voles compared to montane voles o Receptors are concentrated in NAcc (reward pathway) and PLC o While montane voles have the hormone, they are not responding to its effects  Not a hormonal difference, but a difference in hormonal receptiveness (lack receptors) o Oxytocin receptor location in Montane vole and Prairie vole: o Demonstrates the role of oxytocin in the role of partner attachment o Potential mechanism?  Partner attachment behaviors are not rewarded in montane voles, whereas intimate behavior is rewarded in prairie voles  Since oxytocin receptors are located in the reward pathway, and because oxytocin receptors would be activated by this behavior (intimate encounters are associated with strong release of oxytocin), if receptors didn't exist then this behavior would release oxytocin but not activate these reward areas o However, this is rather simplistic. Is partner choice just an act of classical conditioning through oxytocin receptor in basal ganglia? If this were true you would stay with first person you meet, there must be more factors that impact partner choice.  One important aspect to consider is “love” or intimacy, which usually comes in between attraction and commitment. Oxytocin is then the reinforcer which strengthens that bond, so you feel intimacy and “love” which is now a rewarding behavior mediated through the brain that makes you want to stay with that person • Evidence: Impact of Oxytocin on Partner Attachment o STUDY (Insel): o 3 chambers:  partner chamber: female vole that male vole had previously mated with  neutral chamber: unoccupied  stranger chamber: similarly attractive female vole that male vole had not previously encountered o First they compared the behavior of Montaine vs. Prairie vole in terms of where they want to spend their time. o RESULTS:  Prairie voles: as predicted, spend most of their time in partner chamber (naturally rewarding to them” and little time in neutral and stranger chamber  Monatine voles: actually spent most time in neutral chamber (as apposed to spending equal time in both stranger and partner chamber as expected) • Interpretation: 1) Asocial and prefer to be alone and therefore would be an avoidance conflict 2) Both partner and stranger are equally as attractive and cannot choose a side and would therefore be an approach conflict  Note: Colors in graph correspond to chambers: o STUDY: Effect is Specific to NAcc and PLC  Look at the contact time with either stranger (yellow) or partner (green) of the prairie vole under several experimental manipulations 1) CSF injection (in NAcc, PLC and CP): serves as control condition (do not expect a
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