Biological Psychology

  • Created by: Larah_
  • Created on: 11-03-14 20:18

Which Animals are used?

  • Rodents + birds- cheap to obtain/care for + easier to handle in large no.s 
  • Also less "aware" than more evolved species, so less likely to feel pain
  • Estimated that aprox. 80% of genes found in mice are also found in humans
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Why use animals?

  • Scientists believe animals + humans share similarites as they've evolved from a common ancestor- makes things founded about causes of behaviour in animals, relevant to humans
  • We choose animal participants over humans due to ETHICS- can do things to animals considered unethical on humans i.e damaging their brains
  • PRACTICAL ISSUES- can control animals more than humans- can therefore conduct more reliable + valid research
  • CAN'T do anything we want w/ animals- laws + ethical codes protect their welfare. 
  • Aren't same as human ethical guidlines but agree harmful research shouldn't be conducted unless it's likely to have beneficial outcomes.
  • ALSO cannot conduct research using animals without a license granted by the gov
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Method used when researching animals

  • Becasue we have so much more control over an animal's life- lab experiments are used for animal research
  • For each group of p's the IV will be different in some way. 
  • Everything else is highly controlled 
  • If there's any difference in the DV between groups when it's measured the researcher can infer c+e
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Types of research conducted on animals in the bio


  • Researcher takes one group of animals (experimental group) and destroys a specific part of their brain
  • Brains of animals in the control group are left in-tact
  • It is then possible to measure any changes in certain behaviour
  • The IV is whether a part of the brain is destroyed or intact
  • The DV is a specific behaviour- usually involves quantitative data eg, how long it takes them to complete a maze
  • Environment and the animals kept v. similar, so it can be concluded that any loss/ changes in behaviour must be caused by the change to the brain and not extraneous variables
  • This helps to show what parts of the brain control which behaviours
  • CAN'T do this on humans ethically- many still consider this unethical on animals also
  • H/E there are ways to do ths w/ less harm, such as injections to shut off parts of the brain temporarily 
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Types of research conducted on animals in the bio


  • Scientists can selectivley interbreed mice v. quickly, or even alter genes using chemicals- making it possible to control animals' genetic make up and observe effects of behaviour 
  • I.e research into parkinsons disease- when humans slowly lose mental capabilities 
  • Mice have been bred to have a gene associated with parkinsons- then compared to other mice who are gentically identical except without the crucial gene
  • If the 1st group of mice (experimental group) develop symptons of parkinsons; researchers can conclude that it's due to that specific gene and not anything else
  • Can help identify cures for disease
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Types of research conducted on animals in the bio


  • Administration of hormones to see the effects on behaviour
  • The halt of the natural production of hormones to see the effects on behaviour
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