Maguire

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What year was this study conducted?
2000
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What is the hippocampus?
A brain structure that belongs to the limbic system. Humans have two - a left and a right. Plays key role in spatial memory and navigation. Small mammals and birds have large hippocampal volume as behaviour includes spatial memory and food storing.
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What is plasticity?
Changes that occur in the organisation of the brain as a result of an experience.
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Aim?
To investigate whether changes could be detected in the brains of London taxi drivers and to further investigate the functions of the hippocampus in spatial memory.
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IV and DV?
IV= taxi driver/not and time spent being a taxi driver DV= changes of hippocampus and their spatial memory.
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Sample?
16 healthy, right-handed, male, licensed London taxi drivers. Scans compared with control group of 50 healthy, right-handed non taxi driving males. All ranging from 32-62 years old.
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Design, data?
Matched pairs (all male from London, right handed, mean age of 44), quasi experimental, quantitative
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Procedure
Ps had MRI scan - collects data on structure of brain. Computer software turns scans into 3D image so grey matter volume in hippocampus could be analysed. Analysed using two techniques: VBM and pixel counting. Person analysing blind to condition.
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What is VBM?
A technique that identifies differences in the density of grey matter in different parts of the brain. It provides 3D measurements of volume of an area.
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What is pixel counting?
A technique used to calculate hippocampal volume; pixels counted on 26 photographic slices made through the brain, counted for anterior, posterior and body of hippocampus. A pixel=single point on a graphic image.
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controls?
Same equipment, same pixel counter, hippocampal volume for each participant was calculated to include adjustment for the size of each person's brain (to make comparable)
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Results? (1)
TD had larger posterior hippocampus but control group had larger anterior hippocampus. Correlation analysis-positive correlation between time spent as TD and vol of posterior hippocampus, negative between time spent and size of anterior.
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Results? (2)
VBM showed more grey matter in hippocampi of TD than non-TD, no differences observed elsewhere in brain. No increase in size and vol of whole hippocampus, just shift of grey matter to different parts of it.
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Strengths of the study?
recent study-up to date, lots of quantitative data, no demand characteristics, big age range (time spent as taxi driver) allows clear correlation to be made. Useful - insight into memory, spatial awareness and plasticity.
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Weaknesses of the study?
sample all male - known differences between genders. Ethnocentric-cannot be generalised. MRI scans=expensive. Reductionist-only focused on one part of brain.
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Card 2

Front

What is the hippocampus?

Back

A brain structure that belongs to the limbic system. Humans have two - a left and a right. Plays key role in spatial memory and navigation. Small mammals and birds have large hippocampal volume as behaviour includes spatial memory and food storing.

Card 3

Front

What is plasticity?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

Aim?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

IV and DV?

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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