Maguire

what is the aim?
To study whether neuroplasticity occurred in response to navigational experience in the brains of the London taxi drivers and investigate the role of the hippocampus in spatial memory.
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what was the sample?
16 healthy, right-handed, male, London taxi drivers. With mean age of 44, who had their taxi license for an average of 14.3 years.
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why were london taxi drivers chosen?
London taxi drivers were selected as they took The Knowledge- a course requiring them to learn vast amounts of spatial information about routes in London.
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what was the control group?
A control group of 50 participants from the structural MRI scan database where drivers were scanned. Matched for mean age, sex, health and handedness.
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what was the method?
A quasi experiment, as the researchers can't control who is or isn't a London taxi driver.
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what were correlational analysis used for?
to investigate the relationship between amount of experience as a taxi driver and size of Hippocampal regions.
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what was the ethics of this study?
Informed consent was given by the taxi drivers. * Protection from harm- MRI scanner is claustrophobic and loud.
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what was the first control?
Single blind procedure: the analyst was not aware of which of the scans, of the taxi drivers, and 16 of the controls, came from which condition, or the results of the voxel based morphology, to control for researcher bias and confirmation bias
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what was the second control bias?
The Voxel based morphology program controls for differences in brain size, by adjusting each brain to fit the same template, before analysis.
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what was the procedure?
Used an MRI to gather data on the structure of the brain using radio waves and magnetic fields. Grey matter (cell bodies) are calculated by a computer to produce 3D images.
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what was the voxel based morphology?
Voxel based morphology: at the time this was a new computer program which could automatically calculate the amount of grey matter volume in a region of the brain- the Hippocampus.
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what was pixel counting?
an analyst divides the brain scan into 2D slices- 6 from the posterior (rear), 12 from the main body, and 6 from the anterior (front), of the Hippocampus. The researcher then traces round the Hippocampus in each slice- counts number of pixels= area
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what does pixel counting demonstrate?
This demonstrates concurrent validity as the results of the new analytical technique can be verified by an already validated way of analyzing data from MRI scans.
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what equipment was used?
MRI scanner and VBM program.
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what was the first finding?
VBM and pixel counting found greater grey matter volume in the posterior Hippocampus, and more grey matter volume in the anterior Hippocampus, of taxi drivers than controls.
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what was the second finding?
significant positive correlation between amount of years spent as a taxi driver and volume of the RIGHT posterior Hippocampus,
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what was the third finding?
a significant negative correlation between amount of years spent as a taxi driver and volume of the RIGHT anterior Hippocampus.
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what was the first conclusion?
The posterior hippocampus, particularly the RIGHT side, stores spatial memory of the environment- taxi drivers had larger volume there because they had to learn a large quantity of spatial maps and navigational skills
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what was the second conclusion?
There is localized plasticity in the adult brain, i.e. only shown in a localized area- the Hippocampus, which suggests the adult brain may be more adaptive than previously thought.
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what was the third finding?
The brain redistributes resources- increased volume in one area (the posterior) occurs alongside decreases in another (the anterior)
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Card 2

Front

what was the sample?

Back

16 healthy, right-handed, male, London taxi drivers. With mean age of 44, who had their taxi license for an average of 14.3 years.

Card 3

Front

why were london taxi drivers chosen?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

what was the control group?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

what was the method?

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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