May 19, 2013
This was a week of wrapping up the effects of environment on our physiology – and working on our podcasts.
At the end of this week, you should be able to:
- Define neuroplasticity.
- Describe the study by Rosenzweig & Bennett. Explain the methodology used and the confounding variables that may have affected the study.
- Describe the study by Macguire. Explain the methodology used and what the study says about the role of the hippocampus.
- Remember the study that we watched earlier this year by Ramachandran on phantom limb sydrome. How is this an example of brain plasticity?
Here is a rather fascinating video on brain plasticity. An amazing story of a little girl’s brain with Rasmussen Syndrome.
May 4, 2013
This week we looked further into the role of stress on health. You should be able to do the following at the end of this week:
- Explain Sapolsky’s research on the influence of social hierarchies on health.
- What is the difference between a retrospective and a prospective study? What are the disadvantages of each type of study?
- What is the link between stress and ulcers?
- What is the link between stress and heart disease?
- What is the link between stress and memory?
- What is the link between stress and aging?
For those of you who would like to rewatch the documentary, you can see it below.
April 28, 2013
This week we began our study of stress and the role of hormones. At the end of this week, you should be able to talk about the following topics:
- The role of oxytocin on the amygdala and trust relationships
- The difference between acute and chronic stress – as well as the role of personality in stress.
- Stress is a combination of physiological and cognitive factors.
- Selye’s General Adaptation Model
- The role of adrenaline and noradrenaline in stress
When thinking about noradrenaline and cortisol (a glucocorticoid), here is a great student video to inspire you. Don’t worry about the material at the end on depression.
April 21, 2013
This week we continued with the biological level of analysis by looking at the role of neurotransmission on behaviour. We reminded ourselves of Martinez & Kesner study of the role of acetylcholine on memory. We also began a discussion of the role of serotonin on behaviour. We saw how serotonin may lead to an over-stimulation of the frontal lobe, leading to hallucinations.
At the end of this week, you should be able to explain how neurotransmission works – and be able to explain at least two studies of neurotransmission.
Now that we are back from break, it is time to start talking about hormones. Take a look at this video to help you better understand what we are doing this week.
April 6, 2013
For those of you were interested in our short discussion today about the cases of feral children, here is an interesting documentary by National Geographic.
Definitely a bit disturbing and also a good commentary on why we are so interested in the story of feral children. Watching this will help you to more skeptical about these stories, but it will also give you some interesting information about language and the brain.
April 6, 2013
This week we revised the concept of cognitive appraisal and LeDoux’s Model of emotion in order to finally wrap up the Cognitive Level of Analysis. Time to begin our final unit of the year.
We began the BLOA by looking at the principles that define the level of analysis. We looked at three:
- Animals may be studied in order to understand human behaviour.
- There are biological correlates to human behaviour – that is, neurotransmitters, hormones, genes and the brain.
- Behaviour can be inherited.
In addition, we looked at the concept of localization of function – a concept that is not new to us. Up until now we have been discussing the hippocampus, so we looked at something new. Looking at the early research of Paul Broca and the more modern research on Broca’s aphasia. I would ask you to watch the following film on language and the brain. Not for the weak of heart, but definitely worth watching.
March 24, 2013
This week we looked the origins of emotion. At the end of this week you should be able to talk about the following concepts:
- Emotions may have an evolutionary advantage for humans.
- Facial expressions may be universal, showing us that there are biological roots for basic emotions.
- In spite of Ekman’s research, there are cultural factors that can affect emotional responses.
- LeDoux argues that emotional responses are the result of two paths to the brain. Be able to explain his model. (We will work more on this when I get back from Dublin!)
- Cognitive labeling is one of the key theories of emotions.
- You should also be able to describe Schachter & Singer’s study – and also be able to discuss its ethical and procedural issues.
While I am gone, you are going to be looking at the question of “happiness.” This is important for your interview project – so pay good attention to that video….
March 20, 2013
Just a reminder of the three essay questions that you will be given next week.
- Discuss the reliability of of one cognitive process.
- Discuss how and why particular research methods are used at the cognitive level of analysis.
- Evaluate one model of one cognitive process with reference to research studies.
Remember, it will be luck of the draw which question you get to write on. You will not be allowed to use your mind-maps/essay outlines during the assessment.
March 17, 2013
This week we focused on the role of biological factors on memory. We specifically looked at the following examples:
- Case studies and the role of the hippocampus & amygdala: Milner’s study of HM.
- The role of acetylcholine on the creation of long-term memories (Martinez & Kesner)
- The role of glucocorticoids in memory impairment (Meany)
- The role of ß-amyloid proteins on the origin of Alzheimer’s Disease.
We are about to leave the topic of memory and move on to the question of emotions as we wrap up our work on the cognitive level of analysis before our spring break. Good luck on this week’s assessment – and hoping that you are ready to move on to this year’s final topic – STRESS!