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Research Methods and Intro to Biopsychology.docx

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PSYC 2410
Elena Choleris

Introduction to Course 9/6/2012 12:49:00 PM Lab manual online  Print and bring to lab (as well as supplements)  Start week of Sept. 17 th  No open toed shoes  Lab exam Nov. 23 rd Research Methods 9/6/2012 12:49:00 PM Biopsychology: scientific study of biology of behavior  Biological approach (a.k.a.) o Psychobiology o Behavioral Biology o Behavioral Neuroscience Neuroscience: scientific study of the nervous system Psychology: scientific study of behavior  Background in many disciplines Research in Biopsychology: 1. Pure / Basic Research  desire to learn how things work (curiosity)  building blocks of knowledge  more vulnerable to vagaries of political regulation o public / politicians don’t understand why research that does not directly benefit humankind should be supported 2. Applied Research  answer a specific question / issue o How do we treat Alzheimer’s Disease?  direct benefit to humans  uses building blocks of basic research o mechanisms of memory etc. Studies proceed along…  Animal studies o Based on knowledge that differences are more quantitative than qualitative o Basic brain structures are shared across mammals o Rats, mice, cats, dogs and non human primates  Human studies Animal Studies Advantages:  Comparative approach o Study of biological processes by comparing the behaviour of different species  Simpler brains and behaviour, more direct analysis o Easier to study o Connections between cells are understood o Mapped nervous system and can look into more complex organisms o Differ in size and cortical development (compared to humans)  Fewer ethical restrictions o Still is control and regulations o Canadian Council of Animal Care  Any research is done in Canada needs to apply and be approved  Need for validation o Need to make sure generalizes across organisms / humans  High cost to maintain animal laboratory Human Studies Advantages / Disadvantages:  Can follow instructions  Can report subjective experiences *** o Catch in research (subjectivity)  Cheaper than animals o Depends on research study  Findings can be directly applied to humans  Greater ethical constraints Research Methods Experimental:  Research manipulates a variable under highly controlled conditions to see if this produces any changes in second variable  Allows cause and effect relationship  Between Subjects Design o Different experimental groups that are each tested under different conditions o Compare differences and similarities o May include placebo  Within Subjects Design o Same subject is tested under all or multiple conditions o Before and after  See what happens before drug, then see what happens with drug  Independent variable o Variable that is manipulated o If independent variable is only condition changed, any effects are caused by I.V.  Dependent variable o Variable that is measured for changes o E.g. Behavior under investigation o Measured once or multiple times (within subject design)  Confounded variable o Unintended differences in other conditions that can affect the dependent variable o E.g. food consumption reducing because cooling system breaks, not because of drug you are testing Lester and Gorzalka (1988) Demonstration of the Coolidge Effect in female Hamsters:  Coolidge Effect: a copulating male that becomes incapable of continuing to copulate with one female can often recommence copulating with a new female  “finds new energy” o females are more receptive towards a new male o males get tired before females (confounding variable) o Can the Coolidge effect be demonstrated in females?  Solution has 3 phases: o Females copulate with 1 male until tired o All females receive a new male and continue copulating  Meanwhile all males of phase 1 can rest o All females receive a third male  Half get the same male as in phase 1 (familiar)  Half get a new male who in phase 1 was with another female (unfamiliar)  evidence that Coolidge effect can be demonstrated in females o females with the new male are more receptive than females with the same male  even though both familiar and unfamiliar males were equally tired Non-experimental:  Quasi-experimental methods o Studies of groups of subjects who have been exposed to the conditions of interest in the real world o When experimental method cannot be used  Physical / ethical o E.g. Does alcohol consumption cause brain damage?  Compare brain functions in groups of people who drink alcohol to groups that do not drink  Differences in brain functions  alcohol caused them  Groups may be different in factors other than alcohol consumption (confounding variables) o Without experimental method, you cannot really prove a cause effect relationship  Too many pre-existing conditions (sex, age…confounding variables)  Case studies o Focus on a single subject and describe it in great detail o Lots of info  Source of testable hypotheses o Difficult to generalize to other cases (confounding variables) Biopsychology 9/6/2012 12:49:00 PM Biopsychology  Young but growing  Neuroscientists that bring their research a knowledge of behaviour and the methods of behavioural research Donald O. Hebb (1949) The Organization of Behaviour (book)  First comprehensive theory of how complex psychological phenomena, such as perceptions, emotions, thoughts and memories might be produced by brain activity  Before, phenomenon was “too complex” to have roots in chemistry or biology of the brain Neuroscience includes:  Neuroanatomy: study of structure of nervous system  Neuropathology: study of NS disorders  Neurochemistry: study of chemical bases of neural activity  Neuroendocrinology: study of interactions between NS and endocrine system  Neuropharmacology: study of effects of drugs on neural activity  Neurophysiology: study of functions and activities of the NS  Biopsychology  And many more Biopsychology includes:  Physiological Psychology o Study of neural mechanisms of behavior by manipulating the NS  E.g. contributions of hippocampus to memory by surgically removing the hippocampus in rats and assessing ability to perform memory tasks o Implant electrodes and study pulse when conditions applied o Surgical or electrical brain manipulation o Mainly pure research with lab animals  Psychopharmacology o Mainly lab animals  Humans if ethics allows it o Drug manipulation, see effects on brain  E.g. improve memory of Alzheimer’s patients by administering drugs that increase levels of Acetylcholine  Goals: developing therapeutic drugs or to reduce drug abuse o Basic and applied research  Neuropsychology o Effects of brain damage  Alcohol example below (Jimmie G.)  Mr. R  21, left handed, struck head in car accident  language was represented in right rather than left hemisphere  below avg. reading speed and verbal memory  deficits suggested right temporal lobe may have been damaged, explains impaired language skills  Goals: patient care and counseling, help prescribe treatment o Human studies (case studies) or quasi-experimental  Cerebral cortex is most likely to be damaged in accident therefore focus of research o Basic and applied research o Most applied of sub-disciplines  Psychophysiology o Study relationship between physiological activity and psychologi
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