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Chapter 1

Chapter 1 Textbook Notes - Introducing Biological Psychology

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Ayesha Khan

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Notes From Reading CHAPTER 1:INTRODUCING BIOLOGICAL P SYCHOLOGY (PGS.2-25) Introduction - Separate parts of the brain become more active during different tasks but that each has its particular role to play - The human brain contains 5% of the body’s mass, but it consumes 20% of its glucose and oxygen - Observations of patients with brain damage show that even small injuries can have a detrimental effect on brain functioning person who experienced damage to 90% of the brain would likely be dead or at a minimum, unable to emerge from a coma Biological Psychology as an Interdisciplinary Field LO1: Define Biological Psychology - Biological Psychology – the branch of psychology that studies the biological foundations of behaviour, emotions, and mental processes - To find a relationship between the nervous system and observable behaviour, researchers in biological psychology take techniques and theories from: o Psychology, biology, physiology, biochemistry, the neurosciences, and related fields - Biology influences our behaviour (and vise versa) Historical Highlights in Biological Psychology LO2: Trace the major historical highlights in the study of the brain and nervous system - Periods of enlightenment regarding the relationship between the nervous system and behaviour emerged among the Egyptians and Greeks o The major advances in biological psychology have been relatively modern and recent - Ca. 3000 B.C o The Egyptians did not view the brain as an important structure o During mummification the brain was removed through the nostrils and replaced with rosin o Published case studies indicate accurate observations of neural disorders - Ca. 400 B.C – 200 A.D o Hippocrates (460-379B.C) declared that the brain is the source of intellect o Galen (130-200 A.D) is a Greek physician serving the Roman Empire and made accurate observations by dissecting sections of animals o Believed ventricles played an important role in transmitting messages to and from the brain - 1600 – 1800 o Rene Descartes was a French philosopher who supported Galen’s idea (1596-1650) o Descartes suggests mind-body dualism – a philosophical perspective put forward by Rene Descartes in which the body is mechanistic, whereas the mind is separate and non physical o In contrast, the modern neurosciences, including biological psychology are based on monism – a philosophical perspective characteristic of the neurosciences in which the mind is viewed as the product of activity in the brain and nervous system o In 1674, Anton van Leeuwenhoek invents the light microscope o Galvani and du Bois-Reymond discover that electricity transmits messages in the nervous system - 1800 – 1900 o Bell and Magendie determine that neurons communicate in one direction and that sensation and movement are controlled by separate pathways o Gall and Spurzheim demonstrate that phrenology is inaccurate, but the notion of localization of function in the nervous system is accurate o Paul Broca discovers localization of speech production o Fritsch and Hitzig identify localization of motor function in the cerebral cortex - 1900 – Present o Ramon y Cajal declares that the nervous system is composed of separate cells Notes From Reading CHAPTER 1:INTRODUCING BIOLOGICAL P SYCHOLOGY (PGS.2-25) o John Hughlings Jackson explains brain functions as a hierarchy, with more complicated functions carried out by higher levels of the brain o Otto Loewi demonstrates chemical signaling at the synapse o Charles Sherrington coins the term “synapse”, wins Nobel Prize in 1932 o Sir John Eccles, Andrew Huxley, and Alan Hodgkin share the 1963 Nobel Prize for their work in advancing our understanding of the way neurons communicate o Bernard Katz receives the 1970 Nobel Prize for his work on chemical transmission at the synapse o Society for neuroscience counts more than 38,000 members in 2007 Research Methods in Biological Psychology LO3: Describe the major uses of historical research methods Histology - Histology – the study of cells and tissues on the microscopic level - The first step in the histological process is to “fix” the tissue, either by freezing it or by treating it with formalin, a liquid containing the gas formaldehyde o Formalin hardens the tissue, making it possible to produce thin slices and preserves the tissue from breakdown by enzymes or bacteria - Once tissue is fix, it is sliced by a special machine called microtome o Microtome – a device used to make very thin slices of tissue for histology o It is a miniature version of the meat slicers wher tissue slices are between 10 and 80 micrometers thick - Even when fixed and mounted on slides, nerve tissue would appear nearly transparent under the microscope if it were not for a variety of specialized stains o Golgi Silver Stain – a stain developed by Camillo Golgi used to observe single neurons o Nissel Stain – a stain used to view populations of cell bodies o Myelin Stain – a stain used to trace neural pathways o Horseradish Peroxidase – a stain used to trace axon pathways from their terminals to points of origin - Once tissue is approx. prepared, it can be viewed under either a light or electron microscope o Developed in Germany (1930s) and used short, highly concentrated electron beams rather than light to form images Autopsy - Autopsy – the examination of body tissues following death, “to view for oneself” - Like other correlational methods, must be interpreted carefully and precisely - Example: LeVay studied the brains of deceased individuals, as he believed that the size of INAH-3 might be used to differentiate between homosexual and heterosexual males o Although LeVay’s data suggest that differences in the brain structure are correlated with sexual orientation, we cannot conclude on the basis of these data that brain structure either causes or is caused by sexual orientation Imaging LO4: Compare and contrast the imaging techniques of CT, PET, MRI, and fMRi - New imaging techniques provide significant advantages over autopsy - Computerized Tomography (CT): o German physicist Whilhelm Ronteg discovered X-rays in 1896 o X-rays could move through the human body and that they would produce a negative photographic image of the body’s major structures o X-rays do not do a very good job of imaging soft tissues o Computerized Tomography (CT) – an imaging technology in which computers are used to enhance X-ray images (1972 – Godfrey Housnfield and Allan Cormack) Notes From Reading CHAPTER 1:INTRODUCING B IOLOGICAL PSYCHOLOGY (PGS .2-25) o CT technology provided the first high-resolution look at a living brain (modern CT allows for the construction of highly detailed 3D images) o Limitations of CT to answer questions about behaviour: (1) CT scan cannot distinguish between a living brain and a dead one (2) CT scan provides no information regarding activity levels in the brain - Positron Emisson Tomography (PET): o PET – an imaging technique that provides information regarding the localization of brain activity o Made possible by the invention of the gamma camera, which is used to detect radiation released by radioactive atoms that were breaking up o Areas of high activity are indicated by red and yellow o Areas of low activity are indicated by green, blue and black - Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): o MRI – an imagining technique that provides very high resolution structural images o Raymond Damadian, Larry Minkoff, and Michael Goldsmith produced the first MRI image in 1977 which has now become a standard medical diagnostic tool and a valuable research asset o Uses powerful magnets to align hydrogen atoms within a magnetic field, radio frequency (RF) pulses are directed at the part of the body to be imaged, producin a “resonance” (spinning) of the hydrogen atoms o When RF pulses cease, the hydrogen atoms return to their natural alignment within the magnetic field o The darkness or coloration of each voxel represents the level of pulse activity in an area o Voxel – short for “volume pixel”. A pixel is the smallest distinguishable square part of a two-dimensional image. A voxel is the smallest distinguishable box-shaped part of a 3D image. o Functional MRI (fMRI) – a technology using a series of MRI images taken 1 to 4 seconds apart in order to asses the activity of the brain o First fMRI of the brain was conduced by Bellivear et al. (1991) o Takes advantage of active neurons require more oxygen than less active neurons, and variations in blood flow of particular area reflects this need o The use of fMRI to track blood flow in the brain was previewed in the 19 century by William James o Hemoglobin, the protein molecule that carries oxygen within the blood, has different magnetic properties when combined with oxygen or not  this is how fMRI track cerebral blood flow o Signals from a voxel will change depending on the oxygenation of the blood in that area, known as the Blood Oxygenation Level Dependent (BOLD) effect o MRI technology has significant advantages over both CT and PET: (1) Provide images taken at any angle without any movement of individual (2) in tracking brain activity, fMRI is considered superior in both spatial and temporal resolution to PET scans New Directions: Will Imaging Technologies Allow Us to “Read” People’s Minds? - The ability to detect deception directly through brain scans promises enormous benefits to criminal justice and national security, but raises equally substantial concerns about ethics Recording LO5: Describe the use of EEG, MEG, evoked potentials, and single cell recording. - Methods that allow researchers to record the electrical and magnetic output from the brain continue to be useful Notes From Reading CHAPTER 1:INTRODUCING BIOLOGICAL P SYCHOLOGY (PGS.2-25) - The Electroencephalogram (EEG): o EEG – a technology for studying the activity of the brain through recordings from electrodes placed on the scalp o First recording of the human brain’s electrical activity by Han Berger (1924) o EEG recordings measure the activity of large numbers of cells - field potential o EEG is most highly influenced by the activity of cortical cells, closest to the electrodes (because recording electrodes are located on the scalp) o Useful in the study of sleep and the diagnosis of epilepsy o Computerized EEG brain tomography can be used to generate maps of activity making it possible to pinpoint the source of abnormal activity o EEG brain tomography can be used to follow a patient through withdrawal from psychoactive drugs or during a coma o The technique can aid in diagnosis of many disorders incl. schizophrenia, demetias, epilepsy, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder - Evoked Potential:
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