Ways of studying the brain

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  • Scanning and other techniques:
  • AO1:
  • Techniques for investigating the brain are often used for medical purposes in the diagnosis if illness. The purpose of scanning in psychological reearch is often to inestigate localisation - to determine which parts of the brain do what. 
  • FMRI:
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) detects chages in blood oxygenation and flow that occur due to neural activity in specific brain areas. When a brain area is more active it consumes more oxygen, and blood flow is directed to the active area. FMRI produces a 3D image showing which parts of the brain are active and therefore must be involved in particular mental processes. 
  • EEG:
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG) measures electrical activity within the brain via electrodes using a skull cap. The scan recording represens brainwave patterns generated from millions of neurons. This shows overall brain activity. EEG is often usedas a diagnostic tool. For example, unusual arrhythmic patters of brain activity may indicate abnormalities such as epilepsy or sleep disorders. 
  • ERPs: 
  • Event-related potentials (ERPs) are what is left when all extranous brain activity from an EEG recording is filtered out. This is done using a statistical technique, leaving only those responses that relate to the presentation if a specific stimulus or permormance of a certain task (for example). ERps are types of brainwave that are triggeres by particular events. Research ahs revealed many different forms of ERP and how these are linked to cognitive processes (perception and attention). 
  • Post-mortem examinations:
  • A technique involving the analysis of a person's brain following their death. Areas of the brain are examined to establish the likely cause of a defecit or disorder that…

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