Physiological approach

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Studies in approach?
Maguire, Dement & Kleitman, Sperry
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Maguire aim?
To investigate the difference in the hippocampi of London taxi drivers compared to controls.
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Navigation experience
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What was the research method? why?
Quasi - naturally occuring IV
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Sample? (experimental)
experimental group - 16 London taxi drivers, 32-62 years old, right handed, passed 'the knowledge', healthy medically, neurologically, psychologically.
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Sample? (control)
Control group - non-taxi drivers, researchers selected 50 scans from MRI database, healthy right handed males, 32-62 years old.
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Why were taxi drivers considered excellent subjects for the study?
They had increased environmental demands on their spatial memory, as they acquired 'the knowledge'.
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What 2 techniques were used to analyse data from structural MRI scans?
VBM, Pixel counting
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What is VBM?
A 3 dimensional measurement of grey matter volume, indicates general brain differences.
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What is pixel counting?
2 dimensional measurement of posterior, body & anterior of hippocampus by one person experienced in the technique.
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Why did Maguire use 2 techniques?
VBM was new so couldnt rely, used older method & compared results (triangulation).
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Results of anterior (front)
Controls had higher cross-sectional area (mm2) than taxi drivers.
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Posterior results?
Taxi drivers had higher posterior volume.
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Body results?
Taxi drivers had larger body of hippocampi.
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Pixel counting results?
Revealed no difference in overall volume of hippocampus, but significant difference in L & R side of hippocampus between taxi drivers & controls.
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What were the 2 co-variables of the study?
VBM analysis of hippocampal volume, time spent as a taxi driver.
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Reason for correlational analysis?
Allows to see change over time because an MRI scan is only oone moment.
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what were the results? Positive correlation between...
volume of grey matter in right posterior hippocampus and time spent learning to be a licensed London taxi driver.
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Negative correlation between...
volume of grey matter in right anterior hippocampus & time spent learning to be a London taxi driver.
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What do the results tell us?
Posterior hippocampus larger in taxi drivers to accommodate their knowledge & mental map of London layout.
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How does it support the nurture debate?
We can shape our brains by increasing our knowledge in a specific area to make parts of the brain larger.
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Upheld ehitcs?
Consent, withdraw, deception, harm, confidentiality, debrief.
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Broken ethics?
withdraw - difficult in MRI, Harm - claustrophobia in scan.
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EV - high & low?
High - normal jobs, Low - having brain scanned
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x2 problems?
Only used m pp's, cross-sectional data only looks at one point in their lives (repeat every 5 years).
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Dement & Kleitman Focus?
The relation of eye movements during sleep to dream.
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Different stages of sleep & brain activity shown by EEG, NREM (stages 1-4), REM.
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What does EEG, EOG, EMG measure?
EEG - brain activity, EOG - eye movement, EMG - muscle moement
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What is REM?
rapid eye movement
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7 males, 2 females, 5 studied intensely, 4 to confirm findings.
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What were the 6 controls?
Slept in lab before usual bedtime, woken by doorbell, not allowed alcohol/caffeine, eat normally throughout day, speak into tape recorder, no contact with experimenter.
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What was the role of the EEG machine?
Identify stage of sleep pp in & length of stage.
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First research Q?
Whether significant association between REM & dreaming.
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Woken in REM/NEM.
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Report of having dream/not
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Data type?
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2nd research Q?
whether relationship between length & time in REM & dream length.
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woken at 5/15mins into REM sleep
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dream length & content compared to REM duration
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3rd research Q?
Whether relationship between eye movement pattern & dream content
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pps woken 1 min after eye movement
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content of dream
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Data type?
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REM results? of hypoth 1?
152 dreams, 39 non-dreams
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NREM resutls?
11 dreams, 149 non dreams
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Hypoth 2 results after 5 mins of REM?
45 correct dream duration, 6 incorrect
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After 15 mins?
47 correct, 13 incorrect
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Hypoth 3 results?
Vertical eye movement - standing at bottom of cliff, looking up at climbers
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Dreamer watching 2 people throwing tomatoes at eachother.
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looking for something/fighting
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Watching from distacne/fixed object.
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Research method?
Lab experiment
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Upheld ethics?
Consent, Deception, Withdraw, Debrief, Confidentiality, Harm
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Deception (weren't told woken in non REM), Harm (fatigue)
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High EV?
sleeping normal time in dark room
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Low EV?
woken in lab, wires, tape record dream, no caffeine/alcohol.
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x2 problems
uneven number m & f, low EV
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Sperry, Focus?
Hemispheric deconnection
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Two hemispheres of brain control activity on opposite side of body
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Left hemisphere controls?
Language & maths
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Right hemisphere controls?
Spatial awareness & emotion
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To study effects of hemispheric deconnection & functions of separated hempisheres.
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Research method?
Quasi experiment
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What is the corpus callosum?
nerves linking two sides of brain
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11 patients, had severe epilepsy, had previously undergone a commisurotomy.
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Two task types?
Visual & Tactile
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Ethics upheld?
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Harm - could've caused distress
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High EV?
Seeing & touching everyday objects
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Low EV?
Using one visual field for 1/10 sec.
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x2 problems?
Small sample, one point in time.
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Section C, main assumption?
All that is psychological is first physiological, since the mind appears to reside in the brain, all thoughts, feelings & behaviours ultimately have a physiological cause.
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An implication?
Psychology should study the brain, nervous system and other biological factors.
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DK & Sperry use small samples
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DK lab, Sperry Quasi
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x2 strengths of approach?
often uses highly controlled research methods & tests, provides a precise way of measuring & gives valid results.
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x2 weaknesses?
Overly reductionist - focuses purely on biological factors affecting behaviour & ignores influence of nurture & cognitions. Often relies on lab experiement method - lacks EV.
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Maguire aim?


To investigate the difference in the hippocampi of London taxi drivers compared to controls.

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What was the research method? why?


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Sample? (experimental)


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