Biological Level of Analysis

BLOA Principle #1: Their are biological correlates of behavior. (Neurotransmitters, Hormones, Brain Specialization)
BLOA uses reductionalist ideas; Newcomer et al describes this principle
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Newcomer et al (1999)
A: Effect of cortisol on verbal memory IV: High dose of cortisol/low dose/placebo DV:accuracy of questions of a prose paragraph R: high dose did worse C: cortisol negatively impacts verbal memory
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BLOA Principle #2
Animal Research can provide insight into human behavior; Rosenzweig and Bennet
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Rosenzweig and Bennet (1972)
A: Study the role of environmental factors on brain plasticity; P: Rats; IV: Enriched vs deprived environment; DV: Thickness/Weight of cortex; R: Enriched environment showed thicker cortex; C: Brain grows more neurons if stimulated
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BLOA Principle #3
Human behavior is, to some extent genetically based; Bouchard et al
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Bouchard et al
Minnesota Twin Study; Longitudinal Study; A: Role of genetics on IQ; P's: MZT's and MZA's; R: MZT IQ concordance was 86% MZA of 76%; R: Link between genes and IQ but doesn't rule out environment
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Types of Research used at the BLOA
Experiments (Rosenzweig and Bennet), Case Studies (Clive and HM), Correlational Research (Bouchard et al)
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Ethical Considerations at the BLOA
Consent, No Harm, Debriefing (Money Study), Anonymity (Bouchard, Money)
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Studies Related to Localization of Brain Function
HM, Clive Wearing, Brocca and Wernicke, Phineas Gage, Sperry
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Case Study of Clive Wearing - Sacks (2007)
Contracted a virus that destroyed parts of his temporal lobe; suffers from anter/retrograde amnesia; episodic memories gone but implicit memories remain (piano/wife); C: Temporal Lobe handles explicit memories; E: Name given w/consent, high eco valid
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Case Study of HM by Milner and Scoville
Epilepsy led to surgery to remove parts of temporal lobe, but some Hippocampus removed(LTM); retro/anterograde amnesia; R: Discovered hippocampus is connected to LTM; E: high eco valid, low generability, initials for ethical annonimity
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Brocca and Wernicke - Use Together
Brocca's Patient Tan; Autopsies showed Tan had a stroke that lesioned areas of the left frontal lobe; Wernicke found lesion areas in the posterior temp. lobe; C: these areas deal with speech production and understanding - known as aphasia
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Case Study of Phineas Gage
Railroad spike through area between frontal lobe and limbic system; damage caused an inability to control emotions, memories were intact; C: area between two sections responsible for communication btw frontal lobe(dec. making) and limbic system (emot
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Roger Sperry - Lateralisation (focus on corpus callosum)
Sperry severed corpus callosum to stop epileptic seizures; after disconnections patience right and left hemispheres could not communicate, things seen on left side could be written, right side could be said. C: CorpusCal. allows comm. btw hemispheres
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Studies that Explain the Effects of neurotransmission on the brain
Kasamatsu and Hirai (1999); Martinez & Kesner (1991)
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nerve cells
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When an electrical impulse travels down the axon (body of neuron), it releases neurotransmitters which cross the gap between two neurons known as a synapse.
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Define Neurotransmitters
Neurotransmitters are the body’s natural chemical messengers which transmit information from one neuron to another. They are stored in the neurons' terminal buttons.
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Serotonin stimulates neurotransmission in the post-synaptic neuron, increasing arousal, emotion and is also implicated in depression. Secreted into the human body by the pineal glands.
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Kasamatsu and Hirai (1999)
A: Sensory deprivation effects on brain; M: monks on a 72 hour trip deprived of food, water. Blood samples took before and after halluc.; R: higher levels of serotonin after halluc.; depriv. released serotonin altering perception ofworld (inc arousal
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Acetycholine (Ach)
ssociated with the brain - in how it involved in learning and memory; stimulates muscle contractions; excites nerves; too much = tremors; too little motor disfuntion
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Martinez & Kesner (1991)
A: role of Ach on memory formation; M: Rats trained in maze (group A block ACh, Group B increase in ACh, Group C no injection) R: A = Slowest, B= Faster than A or B; C: Ach played a role in rat memory; E: Limit = rats not humans;Strength=Cause/effect
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Explain the Role of Hormones in Human Behavior Studies
Schacter and Singer(1962); Arnold Berhold(1849); Dabbs et al. (1995)
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Define Hormones
Hormones can affect human behaviour. Hormones are chemicals released by glands in the endocrine system which circulate in the bloodstream and act as messengers affecting particular cells and organs.
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Define Endocrine System
The endocrine system is a system comprised of glands, which secrete hormones into the bloodstream to affect behaviour. From there, the hormones are sent to target cells by impulses which initiate specific responses.
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Secreted in the Adrenal glands, located above both kidneys. "flight or fight" increase alertness, blood flow, heart rate; dilates pupils slows down none essential functions
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Schacter and Singer (1962)
A: Two factor theory of emotion and adrenaline; M: 184 college males, groups a-c given adrenaline/d given placebo; some were told of effects others were not; R: Groups not told showed had more changes of emotion, C: adren. causes change in emotions
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Secreted by the testes in males,supporting male traits as it influences aggressiveness, supporting male traits as it influences aggressiveness
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Arnold Berthold (1849)
A: effects of castration on roosters; M: Qusi Experiment, 6 roosters castrate differently; all showed changes in behavior (less masculine/aggressive) C: Testes produce testosterone, no testes/no testosterone=less aggression, aggression and test. link
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Dabbs et al. (1995) {limitation = correlational study, simplistic view of correlation of one hormone on behavior)
A: Relationship btw testosterone and sex/aggression; M: looked at testosterone levels and types of crimes committed by 692 inmates; Inmates committing personal crimes involving sex/violence had much higher levels of testosterone than other offenders
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Discuss two effects of the environment on physiological processes studies
Draganski et al (2004) and Rosenzweig and Bennet (1972) - Plasticity, Iacoboni(2004) - Mirror Neurons
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Environmental enrichment changes the cerebral cortex and therefore the brain changes our experiences and behavior; Goes with environment on physiological processes
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Brain Plasticity
The brain's ability to rearrange its connections with its neurons; that is the changes that occur in the structure of the brain as a result of learning or experience (exposure to different environments), occurs with new learning or brain injury
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Draganski et al (2004)
A:to see structural changes in brain when learning a new motor skill; P:21 females and 3 males; M:Spend 3 months learning to juggle then no practice for 3 months; R:MRI showed increase in areas assoc. with motor skills then a decrease after no pract.
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Mirror Neurons (MN)
A neuron that fires when an animal (or person) performs an action or when the animal observes someone else perform the same action; it “mirrors? the behavior of another - in prefrontal cortex
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Iacoboni (2004)
A:does looking at an express emotion cause observer's brain to be stimulated;M:MRI used while P's looked at human faces then imitate the face; R:Same area of brain activated both times, limbic system activated too;C:shows effect of observation and MN
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Examine one interaction between cognition and physiology in terms of behaviour studies
K.F., H.M. Clive Wearing - Case Studies
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Examine one interaction between cognition and physiology in terms of behaviour studies words to include
physiology, cognition, amnesia
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physiology definition
Physiology is the internal, biological mechanisms of living organisms – the way the organism functions
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Cognition definition
Cognition is the mental process of acquiring and processing knowledge and understanding through thought, experience and the senses. Cognitive processes include perception, attention, language, memory and thinking.
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Amnesia Definition
Amnesia can be defined as the inability to learn new information or retrieve information that has already been stored in memory. Amnesia is the condition in which people lose their ability to memorize/recall information.
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Retrograde Amnesia Definition
Impairment in ability to recall old information before the onset Inability to recall old memories Retro = old
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Anterograde Amndesia Definition
Impairment in ability to recall new information after the onset Inability to form new memories Antero = new
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Connection of Amnesia to Physiology and Cognition
There is an interaction between biological and cognitive factors in amnesia Amnesia has a biological cause (e.g. brain damage) and affects cognition (e.g. memory)
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KF Case Study - Shallice and Warrington (1974)
KF was in a motorcycle accident, suffered memory impairment Brain damage to the left parietal and occipital lobes R: He could transfer information from STM to LTM He suffered problems with STM, problems w/ #s, visual and auditory memories ok
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Discuss the use of brain imaging technologies in investigating the relationships between biological factors and behaviour studies
Maguire et al. (2000), HM - Milner and Scoville (1957) - MRI's; Raine et al. (1997) - PET Scan
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Types of Technology Scans
PET: Positron Emission Topography MRI: Magnetic Resonance Imaging fMRI: functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging EEG: Electroencephalogram CAT: Computerised Axial Tomography
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Descriptions of MRI's
This technique uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce 3D computer-generated images. MRI scans involve people to remove all metal objects and clothing where they lie within an MRI machine. It can distinguish different types of soft tissue
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Advantages of MRI's
Excellent Resolution; Non-invasive; Practical; safe; repeated testing; fast; provides controlled experimental conditions
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Disadvantages of MRI's
Expensive; limited to activation studies; gives correlation but not causation; small movement affects quality; can't be used on everyone; limited space causes claustrophobic distress; obese individuals may not fit; patience with pacemakers can't use
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Maguire et al. (2000)
A:Taxi drivers in London have a different hippocampi structure than nondrivers; M:Drivers took 2 year training, MRI scans of drivers compared to nondrivers; R:Drivers left and right hippocampi had larger volume C:MRI used to find correlations of stru
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Description of PET Scans
PET scans require patients to be injected with a radioactive glucose tracer which shows the areas where glucose is absorbed in the active brain. More glucose metabolism means more brain activity.
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PET Scan Advantages
Sensitive/good resolution; possible to map association areas; can track ongoing brain activity
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Disadvantages of PET Scans
Invasive (Injection); Very expensive; Longer than MRI; Limit to the number of injections; Can't do longitudinal studies; some P's are allergic
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Raine et al. (1997)
A:Use PET scans to see if murderers who pleaded guilty by insanity have differences in brain activity; 41 P's perform tasks; Target P's showed less activity in pre-frontal cortex (selfcontrol and emotion)/amygdala
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to what extent does genetic inheritance influence behavior studies
Bouchard et al. (1990) - Minnesota Twin Study; Shields (1962); Scarr and Weinberg (1976)
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to what extent does genetic inheritance influence behavior key terms
genetics; bi-directional; twin studies; adoption studies; family studies; intelligence
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Genes are segments of DNA inherited by the offspring from the parent. Genes are considered responsible for the development of behavioural characteristic
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twin studies
Used in genetic research to study the correlation between genetic inheritance and behaviour due to the common genetics shared by twins.Monozygotic twins (MZT) identical share 100% genetic material.Dizygotic twins (DZT) fraternal, share 50% genetics
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Adoption Studies
Allow researchers to study the comparison between genetic and environmental influence on behaviour. Adopted children share no genes with their adoptive parents but 50% of genes with their biological parents
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Family Studies
Study behaviour between family members who have similar genetics to different degrees. Inheritance
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Intelligence is an aspect of behaviour that has been studied in relation to genetics. It was questioned whether intelligence was attributed to genetic or environmental factors. Intelligence is difficult to define
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Shields (1962)
M:Obtained 44 pairs of MZTs reared apart from media; They had a similar 0.77 correlation in IQ.This was very similar to that of MZTs reared together (0.76)This means that the environment had little influence on intelligence,Genes play a part in IQ
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Scarr and Weinberg (1976)
They focused on parents who had raised both natural and adopted children.The researchers found no significant difference in IQ correlations. This finding supports the influence of the environment on behaviour, overriding the influence of genetics.
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Examine one evolutionary explanation of behaviour studies
Fessler (2006); Curtis et al. (2004)
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Examine one evolutionary explanation of behaviour key terms
evolution; Darwin; natural selection
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Evolution Definition
Evolution is the changing in the inherited traits of a species over time. Charles Darwin – the father of evolutionary psychology – proposed the theory of evolution.
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Natural Selection
Natural selection refers to the idea that members of a species that survive competition and breed will have characteristics better suited to the environment and are more likely to pass on these traits.
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Fessler (2006)
A: Disgust helps to compensate for suppressed immune system of pregnant women; P:496 pregnant women M:Rank potentially disgusting scenarios R: 1st trimester P's had higher disgust sensitivity C:Evolution developed morning sickness to help women live
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Curtis et al. (2004)
A:Find patterns of disgust; P: 77000 from 165 countries; M:rank disgust of harmful and non-infectious items R:Disgust strongest for images that threatened immune system; C:Disgust is an evolutionary advantage for survival
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Card 2


A: Effect of cortisol on verbal memory IV: High dose of cortisol/low dose/placebo DV:accuracy of questions of a prose paragraph R: high dose did worse C: cortisol negatively impacts verbal memory


Newcomer et al (1999)

Card 3


Animal Research can provide insight into human behavior; Rosenzweig and Bennet


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Card 4


A: Study the role of environmental factors on brain plasticity; P: Rats; IV: Enriched vs deprived environment; DV: Thickness/Weight of cortex; R: Enriched environment showed thicker cortex; C: Brain grows more neurons if stimulated


Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5


Human behavior is, to some extent genetically based; Bouchard et al


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