Biological psychology -EDEXCEL

  • Created by: sam.vagg
  • Created on: 04-01-17 10:26
Name the four lobes
Temporal, Occipital, Parietal, Frontal
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What does the frontal lobe do?
The frontal lobe is the part of the brain that controls personality, behaviour, parts of speech and problem solving.
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What does the parietal lobe do?
The parietal lobe is the part of the brain that controls movement, orientation and recognition.
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What does the occipital lobe do?
The occipital lobe is the part of the brain that controls vision.
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What does the temporal lobe do?
The temporal lobe is the part of the brain that controls memory, speech and perception and recognition of auditory stimuli.
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What part of the brain controls basic life functions such as breathing, heartbeat and blood pressure?
The brain stem
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What does the cerebellum do?
The cerebellum is the part of the brain that receives information from the sensory systems and co-ordinates a response.
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What is the cerebrum?
The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain and is associated with higher brain function. It is separated into the four different lobes.
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What is the corpus callosum?
The corpus callosum is a thick band of nerves that connects the left and right side of the brain.
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What is the limbic system?
The limbic system is the part of the brain that contains the primary structures of the brain.
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What can be found in the limbic system?
The thalamus, the hippocampus, the Amygdala, and the Hypothalamus,
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What does the thalamus do?
The thalamus' main function is to relay motor and sensory signals to the cerebellum.
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What does the hippocampus do?
The hippcampus is the part of the brain associated with long-term memory.
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What does the amygdala do?
The amygdala is the part of the brain that detects fear and prepares for emergency events.
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What does the hypothalamus do?
The hypothalamus is the link between the nervous system and the endocrine system.
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What is a synapse?
A synapse is a gap between two neurons neurotransmitters must cross.
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Which neurotransmitter plays a role in movement, memory and emotions?
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Which neurotransmitter plays a role in sleep and balances emotions?
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Which neurotransmitter inhibits of reduces the activity of neurones?
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Which neurotransmitter plays a role in alertness and arousal?
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Who was Phineas Gage?
Phineas Gage was a trainline worker. An explosion gone wrong caused a metal pole to penetrate his skull.
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After the accident what happened to Gage?
Gage was described as a changed man, he was unreliable, partial to swearing and making inappropriate remarks.
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Why did these changes occur?
Psychologists say damage to the frontal lobe caused these changes to his personality. The frontal lobe is assosciated with judgement, and clearly the damage inhibited Gage's judgement.
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How do CAT scans work?
CAT scans shows the structure of the brain. A motorized x-ray source that rotates around the patient, shooting narrow beams of x-ray through the patient. Digital x-ray detectors detect the x-rays and a 2D 'slice of the patient is created.
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Give 1 advantage of CAT scans.
Advantage: Modern CAT scanners are very quick at producing an image.
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Give 1 disadvantage of CAT scans.
Disadvantage: The scaninvolves exposure to x-rays which can have a negative effect on health.
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How to PET scans work?
PET scans work by detecting radiation given off by radioactive glucose given to the patient. Areas of high activity appear red, areas of low activity appear blue. It shows the activity of the brain in the specific areas.
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Give 1 advantage of PET scans.
Advantage: You can tell how well parts of the brain are working.
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Give 1 disadvantage of PET scans.
Disadvantage: PET scans involve the use of radioactive material, which can have negative effects on health.
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How do fMRI scans work?
The fMRI scan uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the body. fMRI measures blood flow to the brain, this allows activity of the brain to be measured.
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Give 1 advantage of fMRI scans.
Advantage:It doesn't use radiation like CT scans and PET scans.
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Give 1 disadvantage of fMRI scans.
Disadvantage: A fMRI scan requires that the patient stays completely still.
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What is the reward pathway?
The reward pathway is a system in the brain that reinforces behavior beneficial to our survival. However, drug use can also stimulate the reward pathway, creating addiction.
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What is the order of the reward pathway?
Amygdala, Dopamine, Pre frontal cortex, Hippocampus
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What happens in the amygdala at start of the reward pathway?
The amygdala detects something beneficial to our survival (for example eating)
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What is the role of dopamine in the reward pathway?
Dopamine is released when the amygdala detects something pleasurable. The dopamine is picked up by the reward pathway which finishes in the pre frontal cortex.
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What then happens in the pre frontal cortex?
The pre frontal cortex then coordinates information from the other lobes to find out what triggered the release of dopamine.
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What then happens in the hippocampus?
Once the source of the dopamine is found, a pathway in the hippocampus is triggered which stores the information as a positive memory.
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What are the two types of drugs?
Agonists and antagonists
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What are agonists?
Agonists are drugs that bind to receptors and stimulate them to increase the messages. (e.g Cocaine, Heroin, Morphine and Nicotine)
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What are antagonists?
Antagonists are drugs that bind but don't stimulate receptors. They deactivate the effect of agonists. (e.g Beta blockers, Methadone, Naloxone)
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Why is nicotine addictive?
Nicotine mimics ACTH and binds to ACTH receptors causing dopamine to be released. This extra dopamine eventually causes a decrease in dopamine receptors so to get a 'normal' level more dopamine is needed which leads to addiction.
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Why is cannabis addictive?
Cannabis binds to receptors and blocks activity. Cannabis removes the inhibiting affect of GABA, which prevents the body being able to regulate dopamine levels. Therefore dopamine is released and the reward pathway is triggered.
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What is the treatment for heroin addiction?
Methadone treatment. Methadone is a drug that causes the same physiological effects of taking heroin without the dangerous risks of injecting heroin.
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How does methadone treatment end the addiction?
The methadone prescription is gradually decreased, weening the addict off the drug until they are no longer addicted.
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Is methadone treatment effective?
Swan (1994) found that a six month program worked well for some but not others. This suggests individual differences affect the effectiveness of methadone treatment.
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Advantages of methadone treatment?
The methadone treatment allows the user to end their addiction without taking heroin. Therefore they don't expose themselves to the dangers of injecting heroin.
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Disadvantages of methadone treatment?
Methadone treatment is a very expensive treatment. And if the addict continues to use heroin elsewhere, then the treatment will not be effective.
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How is alcoholism treated?
Alcoholism is treated through abstinence and social support. Alcoholics can attend AA meetings, which allow them to identify their problems and receive help becoming clean.
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How does AA end the addiction?
Alcoholics attend meetings and are encouraged through a twelve step programme which helps identify their problems with alcohol and become clean.
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Is AA treatment effective?
Moos & Moos found that alcoholics who attended AA for six months were more likely to to be sober after sixteen years than those who never attended the group. Trice and Roman found certain psychological traits are associated with success in AA.
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Advantages of AA treatment?
The treatment takes individual differences into account as patients go through the twelve step programme at their own pace. All members are assigned a sponsor to support them through the process.
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Disadvantages of AA treatment?
The treatment isn't effective for everyone. The course is based on abstinence which may cause withdrawal symptoms in some patients.
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Define aggression.
Any behavior directed towards another individual that is carried out with immediate intent to cause harm.
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What are the two types of aggression?
Impulsive and Instrumental
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What is impulsive aggression?
Impulsive aggression is unplanned and takes place in the heat of the moment. It is characterized by strong emotions in response to fear or pain.
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What is instrumental aggression?
Instrumental aggression is aggression that is intended to achieve a larger goal. It is often carefully planned, and is used to assert dominance, to intimidate/threaten or to compete with others.
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What are the four theories of biological causes of aggression?
Brain structure, Hormones, Evolutionary theory and Genetics.
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Who came up with the theory that brain structure was the cause of aggression?
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How does brain structure affect aggression?
The thalamus detects a threat, an emotional response is made in the amygdala and sensory messages are sent to the pre-frontal cortex. The threat is then assessed and so are the consequences of acting aggressively and appropriate behaviour is formed.
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What was the aim of Raine's study?
To find out if dysfunction in the brain was more common in murderers than in non-murderers.
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Describe the sample in Raine's study.
Sample = 41 murderers pleading NGRI (39 males, 2 females) (6 were schizophrenic). Each murderer was matched with a 'normal' control. They were matched on age, sex and handedness. Schizophrenics were with other schizophrenics.
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Describe the procedure of Raine's study.
The murderers were not allowed medication for two weeks prior. All participants including controls were given a radio tracer and then asked to carry out a continuous performance task for 32 minutes. They were then given a PET scan.
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Describe the results of Raine's study?
Murderers had lower activity in the pre frontal lobe, the parietal lobe, corpus callosum, amygdala and the hippocampus than controls. No difference in temporal lobe activity. Murderers had higher occipital lobe and thalamus activity.
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How does lower activity in the pre frontal cortex increase aggression?
The pre frontal cortex is the lobe that assess the threat and the consequences of behaving aggressively. If this isn't working correctly, the person will act aggressively without thinking through the consequences.
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How does lower activity in the corpus callosum increase aggression?
When the amygdala forms an emotional response, the right side creates aggression. If the corpus collosum isn't working properly, the two sides of the amygdala cannot communicate and the left side can't calm down the right side.
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How does lower activity in the amygdala increase aggression?
The amygdala controls emotional responses to fear. If it isn't working properly the person may act aggressively even if it isn't the correct response to the situation.
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How does higher activity in the thalamus increase aggression?
The thalamus is the part of the brain that detects threats. If it has higher activity, it may alert the brain to a threat that isn't really a threat, this could result in aggressive behaviour without proper cause.
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How generalisable was Raine's study?
Raine's study used a large sample (82) which meant all anomalies were insignificant. This made the sample representative of the entire population. However, NGRI's are not 'typical' murderers and so cannot be representative of all murderers.
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How reliable was Raine's study?
PET scanning is a reliable method ( objective and replicable) , and so this makes the findings reliable. The use of CPT meant brain activity of the sample should've been similar (standardised procedure) this makes it reliable.
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How reliable was Raine's study (cont)
Raine admits there were problems with PET scanning the 1990's. Some results had to be interpreted, which introduces subjectivity reducing the reliability of the study.
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What are the applications of Raine's findings?
The findings can be used to help prevent brain damage that causes this increased aggression. Working with children to prevent drug use and monitoring those with this type of brain damage. It might also be possible to treat those with these deficit.
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How valid were Raine's findings?
Bufkin & Luttrell (2005) compared similar investiagations to Raine's and found they all point to similar conclusions. This increases construct validity of Raine's study. The ecological validity is low because of the unnatural nature of the task.
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How valid were Raine's findings (cont)
Raine only looks at brain structure as a cause of aggression, and therefore takes a very reductionist view of human behaviour.
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How ethically correct was Raine's study?
All participants gave prior consent to the task, and those incompetent to consent were given presumptive consent by their carers. PET scanning is an invasive procedure, so getting controls to have it done increases the risk of research.
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What are the ethical concerns with Raine's conclusions?
His conclusions suggest some people are driven to kill. This invites people to 'screen' prospective job candidates and even prospective partners to see if they have a 'murderer's brain'. This goes against the social responsibility of research.
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What are genes?
Genes are a unit of heredity that contains DNA carrying information from one generation to the next. Each gene influences development by triggering the production of enzymes that are involved in the production of certain cells.
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What is natural selection?
A theory developed by Charles Darwin. The gradual process by which heritable traits become less/more common in an environment.
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What is mutation?
A change in the genetic structure of an animal or plant that makes it different from others of the same kind.
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What is sexual selection?
A form of natural selection, individuals that are successful in attracting a mate out-reproduce others in the population.
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What is the environment of evolutionary adaptedness?
The conditions that prevailed in the environment at the time the species was adapting in response to.
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Card 2


What does the frontal lobe do?


The frontal lobe is the part of the brain that controls personality, behaviour, parts of speech and problem solving.

Card 3


What does the parietal lobe do?


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Card 4


What does the occipital lobe do?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


What does the temporal lobe do?


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