Maguire et al. (2000)

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Title of the Maguire study?
'Navigation-related structural changes in the hippocampi of taxi drivers.
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Context of the Maguire Study?
The Hippocampus and Spatial Memory.
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What is the hippocampus?
A small component of the brain located deep inside the temporal lobe (on the sides of the brain)(one in each hemisphere).
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True/False: The hippocampus is central to spatial memory?
True
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Is the hippocampus smaller or larger in animals with a greater need for spatial memory?
Larger
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Is it possible for the size of the hippocampus to increase some animals during seasons when they use their spatial memory the most?
Yes it is possible.
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What is the general aim of the study?
To investigate the role of the hippocampi in spatial memory and navigation.
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What are the three more specific aims?
To see whether the brain is capable of changing in response to environmental stimulation, To indentify the precise role of the hippocampus, To demonstrate structural changes in human brains in response to behaviour requiring spatial memory.
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What type of Sample is it?
Opportunity
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Why were London taxi drivers used?
Because their work involves spatial memory and navigation.
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How many groups were there?
2 - Experimental and Matched Control Group.
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Who was in the Experimental Group?
16 right-handed, male taxi drivers who all passed the test 'The Knowledge'.
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What was the mean age of these participants?
44 years (with a range of 32-62 years).
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What was the mean experience of these participants?
14.3 years (with a range of 1.5-42 years).
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What was the mean training time of these participants?
2 years (with a range of 10 months-3.5 years).
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What else is mentioned about the experimental group?
They all had healthy medical, neurological and psychiatric profiles.
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Who was included in the Matched Control Group?
16 non-taxi drivers drawn from a pool of 50 men whose records were held in a structural MRI scan database.
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What was the group matched by?
Health, mean age, age range, gender and handedness.
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What research method was used?
It was a Quasi experiment using an independent measures design.
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Was it a Snapshot or longitudinal study?
Snapshot
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What was the Independent variable?
Taxi driving (use of spatial memory) or not.
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What was the Dependent variable?
The hippocampal volume in 4 areas: right and left, anterior and posterior hippocampi.
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What was the hypothesis?
The hippocampi of taxi drivers are different to the hippocampi of the control group.
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What happened at the start of the study?
The participants had their brains scanned by an MRI machine.
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What were the two methods of analysing the participant's brains?
VBM (Voxel-based morphometry) and Pixel Counting.
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What does VBM measure?
The volume of specific brain areas by comparing each area to a template.
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What does VBM identify?
The differences in density of grey matter in a person's brain (grey matter = grey - dense in neural connections).
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What is VBM?
An automatic procedure that uses statistical parametric mapping.
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Outline the procedure of Pixel Counting.
MRI Scans were made of slices of the hippocampi which produce 2-dimensional pictures, the images were analysed by one person who counted the pixels in each slice to produce a measure of hippocampal volume by adding up number of pixels in all slices.
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How many people conducted the Pixel counting?
One: this person was 'blind' to whether a participant was a taxi driver or not and also 'blind' to VBM findings/
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What did the results from the VBM show?
More grey matter in both left+right hippocampi of taxi drivers than controls (only in posterior portion of both RH+LH), Controls had relatively more grey matter in anterior RH+LH, No differences were observed elsewhere in the brain.
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What did the results from the Pixel Counting show?
The total hippocampal volumes + intercranial volume did not differ significantly between taxi drivers + non-taxi drivers, Control group, anterior RH + body of RH larger than taxi drivers, Taxi driver group, posterior RH+LH-greater volume than control
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What results did 'Changes with navigation' show?
Positive correlation between time spent taxi-driving + volume of posterior RH, Negative correlation between time + volume of anterior RH+LH.
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What Conclusions can be drawn from this?
Results suggest that 'mental map' is stored in posterior RH, Shows functional differentiation within hippocampus, Shows how experience affects orgnisation of brain + has implications for rehabilitaton of patients with brain damage.
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Card 2

Front

Context of the Maguire Study?

Back

The Hippocampus and Spatial Memory.

Card 3

Front

What is the hippocampus?

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Card 4

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True/False: The hippocampus is central to spatial memory?

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Card 5

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Is the hippocampus smaller or larger in animals with a greater need for spatial memory?

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