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Chapter 3

Chapter 3 - Techniques in Neuropsychology

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Ted Petit

Chapter 3Techniques in Neuropsychology Investigating How the Brain Procedures Behaviours in HumansModule 31 Study of the Damaged Nervous SystemThe Scientific Methodthat neuropsychologists followsThere are common principles called the scientific method Has its roots in principles of objectivity and replication or confirmation of resultsempirical meansLevel of objectivity using standardized tests or measurements called empirical methodobservationreplication of the results so that they can be confirmed Replication by other researchers is important as it ensures that effects in study are generalized to other peopleControl Ability to manipulate something of interest to determine the effects also includes ability to exclude unwanted variables form the study confounding variables st It helps1 research is directed by a prediction which determines the methods we use called hypothesismore important is that hypotheses help us to avoid questions that cannot be disproved is the one that researcher manipulates to determine how the behaviour is affectsIndependent variableDependent variableis the response or behaviour that the experimenter measuresEthically and practically we cannot manipulate the independent variable directly ie we cannot giveof participants frontal lesions while employing the appropriate control procedures with other halfResearchers rely on converging operations a conclusion is reached y examining a number of studies that approach the question form a variety of different perspectivesNon Human Animal Models Pg 75 Neuropsychological CelebrityPhineas GageMany neuroscientists spend their entire careers studying nonhuman animalsNonhuman animals that are raised in controlled conditions afford the researcher greater controlUsing nonhuman animals that have been raised in controlled conditions reduces the variability that is attributable to extraneous factorsAbility to study animals that have been raised in controlled lab affords a degree precision that is not available to researchers who study human participantsNumber of limitations of this type of research 1 Many research questions focus on only 1 facet of an organism and ignore other important factors ie common technique in learning theory called delayed nonmatching to sample taskinvolves a food reward and gooddeprivednonhuman animal The animal observes the good reward paired with stimulus A animal is required to pick stimulus B to receive rewards2 Some rats ie rats are neophobic they do not eat novel foods further complicating interpretation of taskif they cant perform the task it related to learning or just the experiment 3 This research might not be easily generalizable to other speciessome suggest that nonhuman animals are not sufficiently behaviourally sophisticated to be useful in understanding the principles of human behaviour 4Although there are many similarities among mammalian species there are also differences ie CNSIt is possible to study some form of higher cognitive function in some nonhuman animalstheir differences in these situations provide important insights into human cognition
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