290 Textbook chapter 1

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Amanda( Mandy) Wintink

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290 Textbook Notes [Lecture 1] Chapter 1: What Is Biopsychology 1 I NTRO I. The human brain is an intricate network of neurons a. Neurons: cells that receive and transmit electrochemical signals II. Neuroscience: the scientific study of the nervous system III.Neuroplasticity a. Brain used to be thought of as a 3 dimensional array of neural elements wired together b. Not actually a static network of neurons but a plastic (changeable) organ that continuously grows and changes in response to genes and experience c. Discovery of neuroplasticity – arguably the single most influential discovery in modern neuroscience 1.1 W HAT IS B IOPSYCHOLOGY I. Biopsychology a. The scientific study of the biology of behaviour b. Also known as physiology, behavioural biology, behavioural neuroscience II. Did not develop into a major neuroscientific discipline until the 20 century a. Publishing of The Organization of Behaviour by D.O. Hebb b. First comprehensive theory of how complex psychological phenomena like perceptions and emotions might be produced by brain activity III.Very young discipline compared to chemistry and etc. 1.2 W HAT IS THE R ELATION B /W B IOPSYCH AND OTHER DISCIPLINES OF NEUROSCIENCE I. Biopsychologists a. Neuroscientists who bring to their research a knowledge of behaviour and methods of behavioural research b. Draw together knowledge from other neuroscientific disciplines and apply it to the study of behaviour II. Disciplines in neuroscience relevant to biopsych: a. Neuroanatomy: the study of the structure of the nervous system b. Neurochemistry: study of the chemical bases of neural activity c. Neuroendocrinology: study of interactions b/w nervous system and the endocrine system d. Neuropathology: study of nervous system disorders e. Neuropharmacology: study of effects of drugs on neural activity f. Neurophysiology: study of functions and activities of the nervous system 1.3 W HAT T YPES OF R ESEARCH C HARACTERIZE THE B IOPSYCHOLOGICAL A PPROACH ? 1.1 H UMAN AND N ONHUMAN S UBJECTS I. Rats most common nonhuman subjects a. Mice, cats, and dogs and primates are also widely studied II. Human subjects have advantages over nonhuman subjects a. Can follow instructions b. Can report on their subjective experiences c. Cheaper i. only highest standard of animals can be used ii. the cost of maintaining an animal laboratory is very high d. don’t have to care for them (Ex. clean cages) e. possess human brains (Can generalize research more easily) i. animal brains differ in size and extend of cortical development f. the differences in animal and human brains are more quantitative than qualitative i. therefore many of the principles of human brain function can be clarified by the study of nonhumans III. nonhuman subjects can have advantages over humans a. brains and behaviour of nonhuman subjects are simpler i. study is more likely to reveal fundamental brain-behaviour interactions b. insights frequently arise from the comparative approach i. comparative approach: study of the biological process by comparing different species ii. ex. comparing behav of species w/ cerebral cortex with species without one can provide clues about cortical function c. possible to conduct research on animals that is not possible with humans due to ethical reasons 1.2 E XPERIMENTS AND N ONEXPERIMENTS 1.2.1 Experiments I. Method used to study causation (find out what causes what) II. Design two or more conditions under which the subjects are tested III. Usually a different group of subjects is tested under each condition (between-the- subjects design) IV. Sometimes possible to test the same group of subjects under each condition (within- subjects design) V. Assign subjects to conditions, administer treatments, and measure outcome in a way where there is only one relevant difference b/w the conditions being compared a. The difference b/w conditions is called the independent variable b. The variable measured by the experimenter to assess the effects of the independent variable is the dependent variable c. Correctly designed experiment = any difs in dependent variable b/w the conditions must have been caused by the independent variable
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