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PSYB64H3 (201)
Chapter 1

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Janelle Leboutillier

1 | Introducing Biological Psychology Biological Psychology as an Interdisciplinary Field - biological psychology: branch of psychology that studies biological foundations of behaviour, emotions, and mental processes - draws techniques & theories from psychology, biology, physiology, biochemistry, neurosciences, and related fields  identify relationships between activity of nervous system & observable behav Historical Highlights in Biological Psychology - today, take for granted that brain & nervous system are sources of intellect, reason, sensation, & movement  hasn’t been universally accepted throughout human history - figure 1.1, p.4  archaeological evidence, as long as 7000 yrs ago  trepanation (or trephining): drilling holes in skull to cure others  not postmortem ritual  unknown intent, possibly to release demons or relieve feelings of pressure - Egyptian texts, at least 5000 yrs old  Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus  oldest known medical writing in history  contains modern-sounding observations of structure and function of brain  nervous system damage = ‘ailment not to be treated’ = understood relatively permanent damage involved  Egyptians didn’t see brain as important  during mummification, removed brain through nostrils and replaced w/ rosin - greek scholars of fourth century B.C.  brain as organ of sensation  Hippocrates  brain is source of intelligence  correctly identified epilepsy originating in brain  Aristotle  believed heart as source of intellect  Herophilus  believed ventricles (fluid-filled cavities in brain) played important role  often referred as father of anatomy  Galen (greek physician)  believed fluids flowing w/in ventricles carried messages to and from the brain  Galen gained support from Descartes  figure 1.2, p.4 - Descartes supported mind-body dualism: body is mechanistic, whereas mind is separate and nonphysical  had unique capacities not shared w/ animals, contained in the mind  mind neither physical nor accessible to study w/ physical sciences  ideas were very influential  how does personality, memory, and logic represent activity in brain?  Ethical issues w/ experiments on animals (viewed animals as mechanical, not sentient beings) - monism: mind as product of activity in brain and nervous system - between 1500 and 1800  better understood electricity  more progress in describing structure and function of brain  electricity as mode of communication in nervous system  figure 1.3, p.5 - figure 1.4, p. 6  Neuron Doctrine - phrenology: structure of individual’s skull correlated w/ their individual personality characteristics and abilities  figure 1.5, p.6 - localization in brain became generally accepted  paul broca  damage observed in patients in certain part of brain = language functions localized (impairment in language) - founding of modern science  often attributed to neurologist John Hughlingts Jackson  hierarchy of processing - progress in neurosciences over past 100 yrs accelerated Research Methods in Biological Psychology Histology - study of microscopic structures and tissues - methods to observe structure, organization, and connections of individual cells - tissue studied under microscope, series of steps:  must be thin enough, allow light to pass through  solve problem of fragile, somewhat watery tissue (i.e. brain)  ‘fix’ the tissue: freezing or treating w/ formalin  microtome: special machine that slices tissue  slices mounted on slides, use specialized stains to view certain things  golgi silver stain: make detailed structural analysis of small # of single cells  nissl stain: identify clusters of cell bodies  myelin stain: allow to follow pathways carrying info from one part of brain to another, stains insulating material covering nerve fibres  horseradish peroxidase: if know where pathway ends, but want to see point of origin  figure 1.6, p.9  after prepared, viewed under microscope (light or electron) Autopsy - means: to view for oneself - correlational method, doesn’t mean causation Imaging Computerized Tomography (CT) - figure 1.7, p.10 - provided first high-resolution look at living brain - can’t tell between living and dead brain  doesn’t measure activity lvls of brain Positron Emission Tomography (PET) - allow to observe brain activity for the first time - figure 1.8, p.11 Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) - figure 1.9, p. 11 - how it works:  powerful magnets that align hydrogen atoms w/in magnetic field  radio frequency (RF) pulses directed at part of body = resonance (spinning) of hydrogen atoms  when RF ceases = atoms return to natural alignment w/in magnetic field = each atom becomes tiny radio transmitters emitting characteristic pulse detected by scanner  to construct image  each area of tissue assigned voxel (3 dimensional version of pixel)  darknes or colouration = lvl of pulse activity - standard medical diagnostic tool and research asset - provides high resolution structural images - functional MRI (fMRI): used to assess brain activity  how it tracks cerebral blood flow  hemoglobin (protein molecule carries oxygen w/in blood) has different magnetic properties when combined w/ oxygen and when not combined o blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) effect  signals from voxel change dependent on BOLD effect - figure 1.10, p. 11  left hand touched - significant advantage over CT and PET  provide image taken any angle w/out movement of individual - fMRI superior in spatial and temporal resolution to PET scans Recording - records electrical and magnetic output from brain The Electroencephalogram (EEG) - figure 1.11, p. 1.11  first recording - measures field potential: activity of large #s of cells - several factors in distortions of actual activity of brain and recorded field potentials  electrodes located on scalp = EEG most influenced by activity of cortical cells closes
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