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Chapter 1

PSYC271 Chapter 1 Intro to Neuroscience.docx

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC 271
Professor
Peter J Gagolewicz
Semester
Fall

Description
PSYC271 Chapter 1: Biopsychology as a Neuroscience ­ Neurons: cells that receive and transmit electrochemical signals ­ Neuroscience: the scientific study of the nervous system ­ The case of Jimmie G  ▯Short­term memory loss. Can’t remember anything after 19  years old but remembers before that. ­ Four Major themes: o Thinking creatively about biopsychology  ▯thinking in unconventional ways,  thinking outside the box o Clinical implications o The evolutionary perspective  ▯important here is the comparative approach.  Studying the biological phenomena by comparing different species o Neuroplasticity  ▯brain is not static, but plastic – constantly changing and  growing 1.1  What is Biopsychology?   ­ Biopsychology: the scientific study of the biology of behaviour 1.2 Relationship Between Biopsych and Other Neuroscience Disciplines? ­ Biopsychology is integrative  ▯draws on knowledge from other neuroscience disciplines  and applies it to the study of behaviour ­ Neuroanatomy: the study of the structure of the nervous system ­ Neurochemistry: the study of the chemical bases of neural activity ­ Neuroenocrinology: the study of interactions between the nervous system and the  endocrine system ­ Neuropathology: study of the nervous system disorders ­ Neuropharmacology: study of the effects of dugs on neural activity ­ Neurophysiology: study of the functions and activities of the nervous system 1.3  Types of Research Characterizing Biopsychological Approach  ­  Human and Nonhuman Subjects:   o Rats most common o Humans more advantageous as subjects  ▯follow instructions, report  experiences, cheaper, study human brain directly o Differences between human and nonhuman brains is quantitative, not  qualitative o Nonhuman animal advantages include  ▯simpler brains (makes it easier to  understand fundamental brain­behaviour interactions), easier to compare  species, possible to conduct research that would be unethical with humans ­  Experiments and Non­experiments:   o  Experiments:    Studies causation  Between­Subjects Design: different samples of subjects tested under  each condition  Within­Subjects Design: the same sample of subjects tested under  each condition  Independent vs. dependent variables; Confounded variables  Coolidge Effect: a copulating male who becomes incapable of  continuing to copulate with one sex partner can often recommence  copulating with a new sex partner (hamsters) • Harder to prove the same is true for females because they  require males to copulate and males get fatigues faster than  females. The introduction of a new male gets the female more  excited, but this is a confound variable because it becomes  unclear whether she is excited by the novelty of the second  mate, or because he simply has more energy.  ▯however this  problem was overcome and turned out that both males and  females show this effect. o  Non­Experiments:     Quasi­experimental:   • Studies a group of subjects who have been exposed to the  conditions of interest in the real world (ex. Alcoholism,  because can’t ask a participant to become an alcoholic for their  study) • Lack control for potential confounds (ex. Lack of random  assignment)   Case Studies:  • Focus on a single case or subject. • Provide a more in­depth picture than experiments or quasi­ experiments, but lack generalizability.  ­  Pure and Applied Research:   o Pure Research: motivated primarily by curiosity. Conducted solely for the  purpose of gathering knowledge. o Applied Research: research intended to bring about some direct benefit to  humankind.  o Not necessary to adhere to one approach strictly. Many research proj
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