Biopsychology - Methods of studying the brain AQA

  • Created by: SerenM
  • Created on: 15-01-18 10:11
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  • Methods of Studying the brain
    • Post Mortem studies
      • Dead patient
        • Longitudinal studies for rare conditions
      • Used by Broca with 'Tan'
        • Lesions in left cerebral hemisphere discovered
          • Brocas area discovered
      • Evaluation
        • Valuable insight into unusual conditions
          • Difficult to gather brains to study - cant generalise findings
            • Can't tell us about the living brain
    • Scanning Techniques
      • EEG - Electroencephalogram
        • Non-invasive
        • Place electrodes on scalp. Electrical signals in brain recorded
        • Used to monitor conditions (epilepsy) and study sleep disorders
        • Evaluation
          • Doesn't interrupt normal functioning - true reflection of brain activity
            • Electrodes aren't that sensitive - cant pick out activation of single neurons
      • ERP - Event Related Potentials
        • Record brain activity in response to a stimulus
          • The brain waves that are triggered during a particular event
        • Use same EEG apparatus
        • Evaluation
          • Accurate for activity near electrode - finer details missed if not near electrode
            • Cheap method
              • ERPs good to test reliability of self report questions
                • Level of expertise is needed to interpret results
      • FMRIs - Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging
        • Monitors blood flow in brain - using magnetic field and radio signals
        • greater blood oxygenation in areas of the brain involved in specific activities - specific areas can be linked to specific abilities
        • provides a dynamic picture (moving) and is accurate to 1-2mm in the brain. Shows activity 1 second after it occurs
        • Evaluation
          • Moving images allow patterns of activity to be compared
            • Problems interpreting data due to the complexity of the brain
              • Expensive - machines and training operators
                • Difficult to generalise findings bc small sample sizes


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