Chapter 3: Techniques in Neuropsychology
Study of the Damaged Nervous System
The Scientific Method
- The scientific method has its roots in the principles of objectivity (empirical method) and
replication or confirmation of results
- Control: refers to the ability to manipulate something of interest to determine the effects.
This also includes excluding unwanted variables from the study (confounding variables).
Having an appropriate comparison sample is also needed.
- Hypothesis: a statement that can be rejected
- Independent variable: variable manipulated to determine how the behaviour is affected
- Dependant variable: the response or behaviour that the experimenter measures
- Converging operations: a common conclusion is reached by examining a number of studies
that approach the question from a variety of different perspectives
Nonhuman Animal Model
- From 1930 to 1965, much of psychology was dominated by the study of the white laboratory
- It was thought that the study of nonhuman animals would provide important information
about important psychological constructs, such as learning, memory, and emotionality.
- Nonhuman animals raised in controlled conditions reduces the variability that is attributable
to extraneous factors, and this degree of homogeneity allows the experimenter to randomly
assort the subjects into various treatment groups
- There is a great degree of overlap among the basic properties of the nervous system,
including chemical and electrical means of information transfer, metabolism, and even, in a
very general sense, the layout of the nervous system
- Often, a neurological exam includes an exam known as the Mini-Mental State Exam or the
Modified Mini-Mental State Exam
- Behavioural testing: standard testing/scoring procedures, and identifies specific cognitive
- Functional Neuroimaging provides the researcher with in vivo (live) pictures of the brain
areas that are most active during a cognitive task
- X-rays: high density areas (such as those containing bones) absorb more X-rays, and provide a
2-D representation of density. High levels of X-rays can destroy tissue due to the radiation