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Psychology Studies BLOA and CLOA
Terms in this set (26)
Corkin et al. (1997)
Research Method: Case study
Aim: To investigate the extent of the hippocampal and medial temporal lobe damage to H.M.'s brain and to determine whether this could be sufficient to have resulted in drastic memory loss
Stuff to mention:
- Case study done with data collected through official documents (clinical notes) and a MRI scan.
- Cultural influences: the fact that the study was done in the US may influence the researcher's analysis of the data
- Gender: HM is male and that may affect his condition (we can't be sure it doesn't because he has no female counterpart)
- HM's background was analyzed thoroughly in terms of his accident, his life after it, his operation and the resulting complications using various sources such as Dr. Scoville's reports and HM's psychiatric evaluations.
- Scoville's surgical procedure was also reviewed.
- HM's IQ and Memory Quotient was determined using the Forms I and II of the Wechsler-Bellevue Scale
- An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) was performed on him in order to determine the parts of his brain that had been damaged by his operation.
Bike story (research methods ONLY):
- HM was 9 when he fell off a bike
- He sustained a laceration of the left supraorbital region and was unconscious for around 5 min.
- First minor seizure was at 10, first generalized convulsion at 16.
- We assume that these are a consequence of his injury (also had a paternal history of epilepsy)
- By the time he finished school, his seizures were so frequent and severe that high doses of medications did not provide adequate seizure control
- HM's family consulted Dr. Scoville about an operation to relieve his epilepsy that had been performed previously only in psychotic patients
- In 1953, HM underwent a bilateral medial temporal lobe resection.
- Scoville estimated that the removal included 8 cm of medial temporal lobe tissue
- The operation reduced the frequency of the seizures and caused severe & lasting anterograde amnesia
- HM was 66 at the time of the study
- The MRI analysis provided evidence of a smaller lesion of nearly 7 cm stopping at the caudal limit of the hippocampal formation, instead of Scoville's 8cm estimation
- His IQ was 110.4 but his MQ was only 73. The difference between the scores indicates a severe amnesia.
- In general, the images of HM's resection matched Scoville's description.
- The only major difference was in the rostrocaudal extent of the ablation. Scoville had indicated that the resection extended 8 cm rostrocaudally however, the ablation on the left was 5.4 cm and the one on the right was 5.1 cm.
- Given the severity and permanence of the anterograde amnesia in HM, it is clear that the remaining 2 cm of hippocampal formation was not sufficient to support normal memory functions.
- Very detailed data
- Every aspect of his case was considered
- Low generalizability due to HM's uniqueness
- Researcher bias
- Low replicability
Fessler et al. (2005)
Research Method: Survey
Aim: To see how women's bodies react to the changes in their immune system caused by pregnancy
Hypothesis: Disgust sensitivity varies during pregnancy in a manner that compensates for maternal and fetal vulnerability to disease
- Anonymous, web based questionnaire
- 155 participants first trimester, 183 second
- First Questionnaire: Current level of nausea on a 16 point scale, and control questions to eliminate women outside 18-50 years old, or with chronic health problems
- Second Questionnaire: disgust scale, true false or three point Likert responses in eight domains: contact with animals, body products, sex, body envelope violations, death, hygiene, magical contagion and food
- Results from the first semester were compared to results from second and third semester
- Increase in all areas but hygiene disgust between first and second/third semester
- Increased nausea
- Food-related diseases are particularly dangerous to women in the first trimester; it was predicted that disgust sensitivity related to food would be high as seen in results
- Positive correlation between disgust and nausea
- Correlation between disgust and immune
- The disgust COULD be to protect the fetus
- Single blind control in participants
- High replicability
- High ecological Validity (online)
- Possible confounding variables
- Researchers had data-related expectations going into the survey
- Opportunity sampling
- Self-reporting is too inaccurate
- Right to withdraw: it's a survey
- Confidentiality: everyone's anonymous online
- Informed Consent: likely, but they may have been unaware of some of the topics
- Debriefing: likely, but it would have been online and likely impersonal
Speisman et al. (1964)
Research method: Questionnaire
Aim: To investigate whether emotional reactions could be manipulated by cognitive appraisal.
Stuff to mention:
- Hypothesis: The different given situations will result in varying emotional reactions by the participants.
- Null Hypothesis: Emotional reactions by the participants will not vary.
- Sampling Method: Random sampling
- Extraneous variables: How focused participants were when viewing the film
- Blind Technique: Single blind
- Cultural influences: Participants most likely have varying beliefs
- Influence of Gender: Both genders participated
- 42 middle-level airline executives and 56 undergrad psych students
- Participants (random sampling) were shown a film about genital surgery for primitive adolescent boys.
- Film was shown with four different soundtracks:
- Trauma: Pain was emphasized
- Denial: Boys were shown to be happy to have the surgery and saw it as "entering manhood"
- Intellectualization: The soundtrack
emphasized the traditions of the culture
- Control group: silent video
- Half of the airline participants were shown the intellectualization soundtrack and the other half was shown the denial soundtrack.
- Students were split into four groups of fourteen with one soundtrack each
- All of the participants' heart rate and galvanic skin responses were measured during the viewing of the film. Afterwards participants took questionnaires to assess the levels of stress.
- Participants who viewed the film with the trauma soundtrack responded more emotionally as seen through the high heart rates and emotional responses through the questionnaires.
- Lowest response was with denial and intellectualization, where the heart rate was low and the questionnaires were responded to less emotionally.
- This suggests that the emotional stress is affected by the individual's interpretation of the event.
- High replicability
- Random sampling
- No researcher bias in analyzing quantitative data
- Emotional reactions may have been affected by the music rather than the music affecting the film's appraisal
- Low to non-existent ecological validity
- Questionnaire demands characteristics
Neisser & Harsch (1992)
Research method: Longitudinal study
Aim: To investigate people's accuracy of memory by looking at the extent to which memory for a shocking event would be accurate after a period of time
Hypothesis: The participants' memory will be distorted by schema and thus will not be able to recall the events that happened accurately after 32 months
- 106 psych students opportunity-sampled were given a questionnaire and asked to write a description about how they had heard about the Challenger Explosion less than 24 hours after the event
- They also had to answer 7 questions related to where they were, what they were doing, etc., and what emotional feelings they experienced at the time of the event.
- After 2.5 years, 44 of the original students answered the questionnaire again
- This time they were also asked to rate how confident they were of the accuracy of their memory on a scale from 1 (just guessing) to 5 (absolutely certain)
- The participants were also asked if they had filled out a questionnaire of the subject before
- Sometime after the last questionnaires, the researchers performed a semi-structured interview on those whose first recall (1988) had been far off the mark from their original in hopes of prompting the original memories
- Participants then saw their original reports from the 1st questionnaire
- Only 11 participants out of the 44 remembered that they had filled out the questionnaire before
- There were major discrepancies between the original questionnaire and the follow-up 2.5 years later
- Mean score of correctness of recall of the seven questions was 2.95 out of 7
- For 11 participants the score was 0, and 22 scored 2 or less
- The average level of confidence in accuracy for the questions was 4.17 o Participants were confident that they remembered the event correctly both times and they could not explain the discrepancies between the first
and second accounts
- Supports memory as a reconstructive process and challenges flashbulb memory
- Cultural Influences: ethnocentric study; results cannot be cross-culturally generalized
- Influence of Gender: Participants were both males and females
- Ethics: Written informed consent, guaranteed confidentiality, no mental or physical stress/harm
- High eco validity
- High reliability
- Low artificiality
- No gender bias
- Small sample from same community
- Low participant variability
- Time consuming
- Difficult to control all variables
Theory of Appraisal:
- Being able to detect and respond to danger is extremely important for human survival and evolution has molded these processes in the human brain over time
- LeDoux's Theory of emotional brain discusses 2 biological pathways; short route and long route
- Path: Thalamus - Cortex - Hippocampus - Amygdala (Left to Right)
- Passes though the neocortex and hippocampus before generating an emotional response
- Amygdala receives signals from sensory processors in neocortex and thalamus and projects them into the brain
- Transforming sensory information into emotional signals due to different biological factors
- Analyses stimuli in given situation and then generates an appropriate
- Path: Thalamus - Amygdala (Left to Right)
- Instinctive response to sensory input from the amygdala
- Influenced by emotional arousal
Curtis et al. (2004)
Research method: Online survey/Correlational study
Aim: To test whether there were patterns in people's disgust responses
- 77 000 participants from 165 countries
- Participants were shown 20 images
- They had to rank each image's level of disgust
- Among the 20 images, there were 7 pairs of images where one was infectious/potentially harmful to the immune system and the other one, non-infectious but similar visually
- Confirmed that the disgust reaction was most strongly elicited for those images which threaten one's immune system
- Disgust response decreases with age with younger people having the highest disgust reaction
- Women had a higher disgust reaction than men
- The decrease in disgust reaction with age may be a result of the fact that older people are less likely to reproduce, so there is little need to compensate for vulnerability of diseases to offspring
- Natural Selection may have evolved human ancestors to have a higher disgust sensitivity to things that threaten the immune system to prevent them from having diseases or sicknesses
- Disgust may have been helpful in reproduction as women have a stronger disgust reaction to harmful things in order to reduce the risk of their offspring becoming sick and increase their chances for survival
- High cross-cultural validity
- Generalizability to all genders as both males/females
- High reliability so replicable
- Quantitative data is analyzed easier
- Self-reports may be biased
- Potential for mental harm if images are too disturbing
- Didn't consider that culture could affect the levels of disgust
- Difficult to apply results to early humans
- Correlational study; hard to establish a cause and effect relationship for results
Darwin's Evolutionary Theory
- Evolutionary psychology is inspired by the work of Charles Darwin and applies his ideas of natural selection to the mind.
- Darwin's theory argues that all living species, including humans, arrived at their current biological form through a historical process involving random inheritable changes.
Scoville and Milner (1957)
Aim: The purpose of the study was to highlight the
importance of the hippocampal complex for normal memory functions. Through case studies, Scoville and Milner put together a report that was partly used as a warning to others of the risk to memory involved with surgical lesions of the hippocampal region.
Participants: The cases described in the study involved ten participants who have had surgical lesions in the hippocampal region. The sample consisted of 3 males and 7 females, from
ages 29-55. Most of the cases involved participants who have been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. All the Because
the aim of the report was to study of surgical lesions on the hippocampus is was purposive sampling.
Experimental Design: The study was in the form of a report and used 10 different case studies to support the hypothesis that states that hippocampus was crucial for the formation of recent memory. The study is fundamentally a case study analysis. However, because each case is thoroughly explained and examined, it increases the extent to which the hypothesis can be generalized.
Procedure: The main procedure of the study was to collect the data meaning finding cases that would support the hypothesis. The other component involves analyzing the data and highlight the importance of the hippocampus area for memory function.
Overall the results supported the hypothesis as it showed the importance of the hippocampus in memory functioning.The report divided the participants into three categories based of the degree of memory defect. The first being Severe
Memory Defect which are those patients who since the operation appear to forget the incidents of their daily life as fast as they occur. One case study in this category, is the H.M case who had received a bilateral medial temporal lobe
resection for distance of 8 cm. HM memory quotient on using the Wechsler was 67. The memory quotient in this category ranged from 60-70. The second group suffered from Moderately Severe Memory Defect. Other the degree of
the memory defect, the difference between these cases and the previous cases is the manner in which the surgery was performed. The medial temporal lobe operation was carried out from the temporal tips. Though there were 5 cases
reported, only two memory quotients were reported (ranging from 81 to 84). The last group with No Persistent Memory Defect involved two cases. The difference with this group is that the surgeries were performed around the hippocampal region. The operations (ucoctomy and inferior temporal loboctomy ) excluded the hippocampus. The memory quotient in this category ranged from 90 to 125 (the highest our of the three categories), highlighting the value of the hippocampus in the cognitive process of memory.
anterograde amnesia: cannot create new memories
partial retrograde amnesia: Can remember some memories up until the bilateral lobotomy.
Bouchard et al. (1990)
Aim: Determining the extent of the influence that genes have in determining personal psychological qualities and characteristics such as intelligence, personality, physiological processes, interests and social attitudes.
Over 100 reared-apart twins from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, China, New Zealand, Sweden and West Germany participated in the study. Out of these, 56 cases
are monozygotic twins, which is what the researchers focused on in the study.
Sampling Method: Self-selected sample, where the participants (twins) or the families of the twins contacted the research institute to participate.
Design: Correlational study, where the relationship between two variables, the degree of separation between monozygotic twins in their rearing process and the degree of correlation between the twins' psychological characteristics are studied.
Procedure: The twins (both MZA and MZT) are brought to the research institute for an one-week period, where they were subjected to approximately 50 hours of research activities such
as interviews and surveys. They completed four personality tests, three aptitude and occupational
interest inventories, two intelligence tests, mulƟple
checklists of household belongings, a family environment scale (how they felt about the of their parents), a life history interview, a psychiatric interview and a sexual history interview, alongside many other tests.
Potentially Confounding Variables:
1. The environmental conditions that each twin pair was brought up in.
The difference in environment between the reared together and apart twins (between experimental units)
The difference in the environment of the reared together twins.
The difference in the environment of the reared apart twins.
2. The selective placement of the twins by the adoption agency to similar families.
3. The amount of time the twins spent together and apart in both MZA and MZT cases.
Genetic factors seems to account for a large portion of the
variation in human characteristics, however, NOT ALL.
Genetically identical humans that were raised in separate environmental conditions showed remarkable similarities with each other despite their limited contact and environmental differences. Most of the correlations for
characteristics examined were above 0.5, with the highest at 0.8, in a scale where 1 represents a strong correlation.
The similar environment in MZT did not make the
twins more similar than the MZA. The two groups showed a similar degree of correlation between the twins in each characteristic. The ratio between the correlation of MZA and MZT are all within 0.25 points from the perfect match/similarity value of 1.
Strengths of Method:
There is high cross-cultural validity within this study, as participants from a variety of ethnicities were invited to participate. The study also can be statistically generalized—or applied to the whole population- since the subject of investigation are genes, which is very similar in every humans, and is not greatly influenced by culture, environment or demographics.
Limitations of Method:
The presence of an extensive list of potential confounding variables reduces the internal validity of the study, as they can influence the variables examined. The "equal environment assumption" made by the researchers may be questioned, as monozygotic twins raised together may still have different experiences (environments) in life.
Ethical Considerations: The rigorous testing of 50 hours in a week can cause iatrogenic effects on the participant, such as stress or annoyance. Some has questioned the ethics in the treatment of data, of
whether or not Bouchard reported all findings completely.
Applications: The findings can question the current behaviouristic basis in our education, crime and psychotherapy systems.
Anderson and Pichert (1987)
Aim: To ivestigate whether schema processing influenced encoding and retrieval in the cognitive process of memory.
• The participants were given one schema at the encoding stage and another schema at the retrieval stage, to see if they were influenced by the last schema when they had to recall the information.
• They read a story about 2 boys who decide to skip school and went to one of their homes as the house was always empty on Thursdays.
• . The house was described as being isolated, in a good neighbourhood, as well as having a leaky roof and damp basement. The story also mentioned various expensive objects in the house.
• The story was based on 72 points that were rated by people in their importance to a potential homebuyer or burglar.
• After reading the story, they performed distracting tasks and were asked to switch schemas, the recall was tested once more.
• There was another break for 5 minutes and then half the participants were asked to switch schemas, the recall was tested once more.
• The researchers found that participants in changed schema groups remembered 7% more in the 2nd trial in comparison to the 1st
• Recall points related to the new schema increased 10%, recall points of the previous schema declined. The group which continued with their first schema remembered fewer ideas in the second trial.
• Conducted in a laboratory
high degree of control over control variables
- Able to establish a cause and effect relationship
participants were not mentally or physically harmed and were informed of their right to withdraw and confidentiality
• Low ecological validity
The results can be used to improve memory strategies in schools and academia
Glanzer and Cunitz (1966)
Aim: To investigate the recency effect in free recall (i.e. in any order)
• Participants heard a list of 20 items and then immediately had to recall them in order
• In a variation, a distraction task was performed before recall
• Participants recalled words from the beginning of the list (primary effect) and the end of the list (the recency effect) best
• The results showed a U-shaped curve
• If participants were given a filler task just after hearing the last words, the primary effect
disappeared but the recency effect remained.
• The recency effect could be due to the words still being active in STM (working memory model)
• Rehearsal could be a factor in transfer of information into LTM
Evaluation of Study:
-the study supports the idea of multiple stores (STM and LTM)
-controlled laboratory experiment so a cause and effect relationship can be determined
-strict control of variables
-low ecological validity
-ignored participant's understanding of words
-only one culture tested (ignores cultural effects on memory and education)
-Can help improve rate of recall
-Helps explains retrograde and anterograde amnesia
Cole and Scribner (1974)
Free-recall- is the process in which participants are given a list of words to remember and then are asked to recall or repeat these words in any order
-> Primacy effect: when participants recall information from the beginning of the list earlier and more often
-> Recency effect: when participants recall information from the end of the list earlier and more often
-> Contiguity effect: the marked tendency for information from neighbouring positions in lists to be successively remembered.
Memory strategies- different cognitive processes that assists one in acquiring, storing and recalling information in the most effective manner for the brain
Chunking- a memory strategy which involves grouping bits of information into larger units to help recall minor information
Narrative- a memory strategy which involves objects or information presented and incorporated in a meaningful manner as part of a story
Memory is not like a tape recorder, but rather that people remember in terms of meaning and what makes sense to them
Multi-store model of memory
1)Memory consists of a number of separate stores;
2)that memory processes are sequential;
->memory process of attention, coding and rehearsal
-Attention: need to pay attention to something in order to remember it,
-Coding: give material a form which enables you to remember
-Rehearsal material must be kept active in memory by repeating it until it can be stored
To investigate the influences of education in the
development of memory processes and strategies
and free recall in children in two different
cultures; the USA and the Kpelle people in Liberia.
>Self-selecting sample: individuals who determine their own involvement
> Children from the USA and from Liberia- Kpelle people
>Age range 6-14
>Half of these children from both cultures were schooled and non-schooled
>Information to take into consideration: when psychologists previously conducted cross-cultural information that tested memory included a western
bias, as psychologists utilized western culture tests on non western cultures. Psychologists are aware that if you want to test memory in a group of people, it is necessary to have an insight into the language and culture of the group
>Started by examining and observing everyday cognitive activities in Liberia to develop memory experiments with relevant tasks as to make sure all participants were familiar with the terms on the test
>Free Recall test: the lists of words belonged to four distinct categories: utensils, clothes, tools and vegetables.
>The researchers presented the words to the participants and asked them to remember as many of them as possible in any order (free recall),
>The second part of the experiment, the researchers presented the same objects
in a meaningful manner as part of a story and then were asked to recall the objects in any order
>The results were recorded through the amount of words each child was able to remember correctly on the list, as well observations of the students were taken
Analyze the conclusions:
1) Conclusion: children with a source of formal education whether it be in Liberia or USA are able to recall more information (words) on the free
recall task than those children who have had an absence of schooling in their lives
School children in Liberia and the USA used chucking and recalled items according to categories. The non-schooled Liberian children did not use categorical structures of the list to help them remember. This indicates possible differences in cognitive processes because it indicates that social factors such as education to an extent can improve ones ability to recall information, if this influence is absence this knowledge of memory
strategies is not exposed to the children.
However, it is key to realize in this study education is influenced culturally, and that non-educated children tend to learn different memory
strategies (narrative), depending on their environment and their style of education
Researchers also found that the Liberian children did not appear to apply rehearsal, as the position of a word in the list did not have an effect on the rate of recall.
2) Conclusion: people learn to remember in ways that are relevant for their everyday lives, these do not have to mirror the activities that cognitive psychologists use to investigate mental processes
The ability to remember (cognitive ability) is universal, strategies for remembering (cognitive skills) are not universal
Analyze the study for:
Potential confounding variables:Children may have different memory disabilities
Extraneous variables: Chances of cultural segregation, children might feel as though the researchers are of a different culture, so not recalling the words to their full potential., Might not give proper recollection or results
> The Liberian culture- observing everyday cognitive activities in Liberia to develop memory experiments with relevant tasks
>Participant bias- Age group- wider range 6-14, as well children with
schooling and non-school from both cultures
>For single test- repeated the test 15 times in order to observe improvement within the students as well to see if new memory strategies
were introduced or exposed during the experiment
Blind technique: single blind technique-participants were deceived
Influence of gender: no influence of gender was mentioned
strengths and limitations
1) Took into consideration the western bias - researchers started
by observing cognitive activities in Liberia which enabled researchers to create memory tasks that were relevant to the culture,
2)High ecological validity: behavior occurred naturally, children were tested in their natural environment such as in schools or parks
3)Triangulation methods: this enhances the credibility as the participants are examined from multiple view points at once
>Data triangulation: involves the use of different data, this experiment was conducted fifteen times throughout the entire process and information was collected from four different sources (American educated, and non-educated, Liberian
educated, and not educated)
>Theoretical triangulation: looking at information and considering different points of analysis cross-cultural examination of memory , different cultures were examined through this process, so different view point were seen and analyzed for a further understanding
>Methodological triangulation: using and incorporating different methods; this experiment incorporated both qualitative and quantitative methods, quantitative- the results were a numerical process, the number of words of the recall task that were recalled by each child, as well in two processes narrative and recall, qualitative- observations
>Hard to replicate experiment cross-culturally, for an individual city or school this may be simpler however cross-culturally replicating this experiment is difficult
>Because it is a field experiment and the experiment is performed into different cultures more extraneous variables could be present
using deception on the children for credible results
No consent forms were mentioned or incorporated with either cultures into the experiment, this probably due to the time and era this experiment was actually conducted
No debriefing for any of the students, this may have cause some emotional effects and if not that might have caused an experience especially
if the experience was negative on the child, that may influence other similar experience or encounters such as this negatively, as we know that our social and cultural factors such as experiences may affect our cognition
Bremner et al. (2003)
Aim: To measure the volume of the hippocampus based on the theory that prolonged stress may reduce the volume of the hippocampus due to increased cortisol levels.
- MRI scans were made of the brains of the participants and participants completed memory tests (for example, remembering a story or a list of words)
-The participants were veterans and female adults who had experienced early childhood sexual abuse. Some had developed PTSD, but not all.
- The researchers found that there were deficits in short-term memory and then performed MRI scans of the participants' brains
- They found that the hippocampus was smaller in PTSD patients than in a control group. The veterans with most memory problems also had the smallest hippocampus.
- The findings showed a clear correlation between number of years of abuse as measured by a trauma test, memory problems and hippocampal volume.
-People suffering from PTSD often suffer from other psychological disorders such as depression, which could perhaps also play a role in the observed changes in the brain.
• Cause and effect relationship
• Control group
Supports the theory that trauma leads to decreased hippocampal volume
• Sample was small so difficult to come to definite conclusions
Other possible explanations to different hippocampal volume (depression)
• Allows for further research into how environmental stressors affect the hippocampus and memory.
Rosenzweig and Bennett (1972)
Aim: To investigate whether environmental factors such as an enriched or impoverished environment affect development of neurons in the cerebral cortex.
-Rats were placed in either an enriched environment (EC) or an impoverished condition (IC)
-10-12 rats were placed in the EC. These rats and were provided with different stimulus objects (toys) to explore and play with and received maze training as well.
-In the IC, rats were placed in individual cages, isolated, with no stimulation.
-The rats typically spent 30-60 days in their respective environment before they were sacrificed so post-mortem studies of the brain could be conducted.
-The anatomy of the brain was different for rats in the EC and the IC.
-Post-mortem studies of the brains showed that the brains of EC rats had increased thickness and higher weight of the cortex.
-In addition, EC rats developed more acetylcholine receptors in the cerebral cortex, which is an important neurotransmitter in learning and memory.
-In conclusion, this study supports the principle, "animal research can provide insight into human behaviour", through conducting post-mortem studies.
- Supports idea of brain plasticity that the brain is always changing based on its environment
- Shows EC environment is more beneficial for brain development
- Shows cause and effect relationship between the simulation of environment and development of neurons
- Replicability since experiment was controlled in a lab and has been replicated many times before
- Establishes fact that EC provide better background for brain development than IC
- Challenges idea that brain weight cannot change
- Strict control of variables so no confounding variables
- Hard to generalize to humans due to use of animal models
- Lacks ecological validity
- Ordered small breed of rats from same litter used in past experiments: Could cause research bias since female rats and rats with vary genetics weren't used
- Rats were killed in testing, but could be justified as it leads to understanding of brain plasticity
Martinez and Kesner (1991)
Aim: To investigate the role of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine on memory and memory formation.
- Rats were trained to go through a maze and get to the end, where they received food
- After rats were able to do this, they were divided into 3 groups
- Researchers injected the first group with scopolamine, which blocks acetylcholine receptor sites, the second group with physostigmine, which blocks production of cholinesterase ('cleans-up' acetylcholine from synapse and returns neuron to 'resting state') and third group with nothing, to act as a control
- The researchers found that the first group of rats were the slowest at finding their way around the maze and made more errors than the other groups.
- The second group ran the fastest and made the fewest wrong turns in the maze.
- This study suggests that acetylcholine plays an important role in creating a memory of the maze
- Can be generalized to humans, and improving memory
Davidson et al. (2004)
Aim: To investigate whether mediation can change brain activity
- Eight monks who practiced mediation for many years and 10 students who had one week of mediation training were the sample
- Participants were asked to mediate on unconditional compassion (i.e. open the mind for feelings of love for a short amount of time)
- Control group received a training session prior to think of someone they cared about and let their mind be invaded by love and compassion
- After initial training, they were asked to generate an objective feeling of compassion without focusing on anyone in particular
- Cognitive activities produce electrical activity when neurons fires. This was recorded by EEG
- EEG of monk's brains showed greater activation, better organization and coordination of gamma waves
- Area of gamma wave production was larger in the monks' than in controls'
- There is a positive correlation between hours of meditating and level of gamma waves
- A cause and effect relationship was able to determined between mediation experience and levels of gamma rays present
- Study is easy to replicate
- High validity
- More research is needed if change in brain waves is caused by hours of training and not individual differences before training
- Sample size too small
- Unconditional compassion is not a quantitative measurement so it is difficult to determine the accuracy of the mediation process of participants
Brefczynski-Lewis et al. (2007)
Aim: To examine differences in brain activity that might have resulted from having engaged in meditation over long periods of time.
- Compared newly trained mediators to mediators with between 10,000 and 54,000 hours of meditation practice in a Tibetan Buddhist method
- 7 out of 12 experienced meditators were Asian and were compared with untrained Caucasian participants with an interest in learning to meditate.
- A third group of participants was promised a financial incentive if their attention regions were most active to rule out interest as a confounding variable
- Participants brains were scanned with an fMRI while they concentrated on a red dot on a screen in front of them and while at rest with no concentration
- While doing so, researchers played various noises (e.g. woman screaming, baby cooing, restaurant background noise) in an attempt to distract them from their meditation and force them to work harder to sustain attention
- Results confirmed that attention related networks in the brain and visual cortex were more active during meditation than rest periods
- Novice meditators found it more difficult to concentrate than experienced meditators
- Experienced meditators would show less activation in areas in the brain associated with daydreams and emotional processing.
- Interesting finding: researchers found that experienced meditators showed a response to disturbing stimuli, not in a way as to deter concentration but more like an active resistance to disruptions.
- Differences are probably due to neuroplasticity, some kinds of changes to the brain as a result of period of sustained meditation.
- Controlled Variables
- Ethical procedure
- Easy to replicate using fMRI testing
- Reductionist approach
- Weak cause and effect relationship
- Small sample size
Loftus and Palmer (1974)
Aim: To investigate the effects of leading questions on eyewitness testimonies of an event
- 45 Participants who were university students were split into 5 groups of 9 and each were shown 7 videos, each 5-30 seconds long
- After each clip, they were asked to give an account of the accident
- Researchers then asked how fast the cars were going when they collided, but changed the verb "collided" for each group to either (smashed/collided/contacted/hit/bumped)
- Estimate of speed affected by verb
- Smashed elicited the fastest response = 40.8 mph
- Contacted elicited the slowest response = 31.8 mph
- Memory is an active reconstructive process
- Verbs used activated slightly different schemas, influencing estimates
- People reconstructed memory of the accident based on the verb the interviewer used
- People tend to report inaccurate numeric details when witnessing complex events
- High Reliability
- Stringent control of variables so cause and effect relationship between the IV (critical words) and DV (estimation of speed) can be determined
- Low Ecological Validity since videos were made for teaching purposes, so the student's experience is not the same as a real car crash
- 45 Students don't represent an entire population
- High Artificiality
Caspi et al. (2003)
Aim: To investigate the possible role of the 5-HTT gene (type of protein that transports serotonin (neurotransmitter that controls mood) from synapse to the neuron) in depression after experiences of stressful events.
- Researchers compared participants who carried the normal version of the 5-HTT gene with those who carried a mutation of the gene
- 1037 individuals were selected at random to be part
- Individuals were under observation from when they were 3 years old to 26 years old
- At 26 years old they were subject to an official diagnostic interview to be diagnosed with or without depression
- A life history calendar also assessed potential stressful events from when they were 21 years old through analysis of various aspects of their life like employment and health
- Participants with a mutated shorter 5-HTT gene and had experienced many stressful events were more likely to experience depression after stressful events
- Both types are frequent, but the long allele (one pair of genes that appear at a particular location and control the same characteristic (i.e. blood)) is slightly more frequent.
- Depression can be inherited but it is not always the cause of the disorder as environmental factors could also play a role
- The 5-HTT gene could indicate an exposure to depression after stress and trauma
- High ecological validity since researchers focused on natural behaviour in a natural environment.
- Participants were informed about the nature of the study (debriefed) and consented to being observed
- Researchers respected patient's confidentiality and all participants remained anonymous, so it avoids stigmatization
- Environmental factors were not considered in depth so there is no evidence against the idea that the environment caused the depression in the participants
- Impossible to establish cause and effect relationship since people with the normal gene also experienced depression
- No protection from psychological harm as results could cause a self-fulfilling prophecy among the 5-HTT mutated gene carriers, making them afraid they could become depressed which could result in future depression
Kasamatsu and Hirai (1999)
Research Method: Field Experiment
Aim: To investigate how sensory deprivation affects the brain.
• Group of Buddhists went on a 72-hour pilgrimage to the Holy Mountain; monks neither consumed food nor water,
did not speak, and were exposed to cold weather (late autumn).
• Blood samples were taken before the monks ascended the mountain and immediately after
• After 48 hours the monks experienced hallucinations, seeing ancestors or feeling a presence by their sides.
• The blood tests showed that serotonin levels had increased.
• Higher levels of serotonin activated the hypothalamus and frontal cortex, resulting in the hallucinations
• Researchers concluded that sensory deprivation triggered the release of serotonin, which actually altered the way
that the monks experienced the world.
Baumgartner et al. (2008)
Research Method: Laboratory Experiment
Aim: To investigate the role of oxytocin after breaches of trust in a trust game
- The participants played a trust game used by economists and neuroscientists to study social interaction
- The "investor" (player 1) receives a sum of money and must decide whether to keep it or share it with a "trustee"
- If the sum is shared the sum is tripled.
- Then player 2 must decide if this sum should be shared (trust) or kept (violation of trust).
- 49 participants were placed in a fMRI scanner and received either oxytocin or placebo via a nasal spray.
- Participants played against different trustees in the trust game and against a computer in a risk game. In 50% of the games their
trust was broken. They received feedback on this from the experimenters during the games.
- Participants in the placebo group were likely to show less trust after feedback on betrayal.
- They invested less.
- Participants in the oxytocin group continued to invest at similar rates after receiving feedback on a breach of trust.
- The fMRI scans showed decreases in responses in the amygdala and the caudate nucleus. The amygdala is involved in emotional processing and has many oxytocin receptors. The caudate nucleus is associated with learning and memory and plays a role in reward-related responses and learning to trust
- Oxytocin could explain why people are able to restore trust and forgive in long-term relationships
- Scanner research is merely mapping brain activity but nothing definite can be said about what it really means at this point in science
- Giving oxytocin like this in an experiment may not reflect natural physiological processes. The function of oxytocin is very complex and it is too simplistic to say that is is "the trust hormone"
Bartlett et al. (1932)
Research Method: Laboratory Experiment
Serial reproduction: The transmission of a story, piece of knowledge, etc., by being passed on repeatedly from one person to another, especially with reference to the alterations made to the original message during such transmission
Cognitive Schema: Mental view or expectations you have on certain subjects due to past experiences
Cognitive Distortion: Exaggerated or irrational thought patterns that are believed to perpetuate the effects of psychopathological states
Aim: To investigate if memory is reconstructive and if schemas influence recall
- Participants were asked to read "The War of the Ghosts"
- Native American legend
- Participants were of English background
- Unknown concepts and names reflecting other conventions and beliefs
- Tested their memory of the story using serial
reproduction and repeated reproduction
- Serial reproduction; First participant recalls original story and second participant has to reproduce the first
- Repeated reproduction; Asked to recall it six or seven times over various retention intervals
- Memory is always subject to reconstruction based on pre-existing schemas (not a passive but rather an active process)
- Participants relied on schematic knowledge, acquired within their culture to understand and later recall a story from a different culture
- Both results led to similar results
- The subjects were all prone to similar errors in their recall abilities
- Memory is a social phenomenon that cannot be studied as a "pure" process as it is an imaginative reconstruction of experience
- Interpretation plays a rather unrecognized role in memory by reconstructing the past by deduction that can be altered by existing schemas
Three patterns of distortion
- Recalled stories were distorted and altered in various ways making it more conventional and acceptable to their own cultural perspective (rationalization)
- More understandable according to the participants' experiences and cultural schemas
- Subjects unconsciously discarded information from the legend that did not fit their cultural schemata or standards
- Becomes more conventional
- As the number of reproductions increased, the story recalled became shorter and there were more changes to the story; 'hunting seals' changed into 'fishing', 'canoes' became 'boats'
- Despite becoming shorter and details being omitted, the story becomes more coherent because the participants are interpreting the story as a whole
- Subjects tended to change the order of the story in order to make it more coherent to themselves
- Added emotions and extra information that was not in the original story in order to fit their own cultural frameworks
- The results of this study confirm the schema theory (and reconstructive memory), but it was performed in a laboratory and can be criticized for lack of ecological validity
- Participants did not receive standardized instructions and some of the memory distortions may be due to participants' guessing (demand characteristics)
- In spite of these methodological limitations, the study is one of the most important in the study of memory
Baddeley and Hitch (1974)
Research Method: Laboratory Experiment
Aim: To investigate that there are multiple systems for short-term storage, not just one system
Baddeley has worked on the model since it was devised in 1974 and now suggests that the most important job of the central executive is
attentional control. This happens in two ways.
- The automatic level is based on habit and controlled more or less automatically by stimuli from the environment. This includes
routine procedures like cycling to school.
- The supervisory attentional level deals with emergencies or creates new strategies when the old ones are no longer sufficient
- They asked participants to read prose and understand it, while at the same time remembering sequences of numbers
- They found that in dual-task experiments there was a clear and systematic increase in reasoning
time if people had to undertake a memory dependent task at the same
- They also found that the task was significantly impaired if the participants had to learn sequences of six numbers, but that they could manage to learn sequences of three numbers
- The prediction of the
working memory model is that there will be impairment in the concurrent task
- Even though there was impairment, it was not catastrophic
- The researchers take this as evidence that STM has more than one unitary store, and
that a total breakdown of working memory demands much more pressure than the concurrent task in this experiment.
- Working memory provides a much more satisfactory explanation of storage and processing than the STM component of the multi-store
model of memory
- It includes active storage and processing, which
makes it very useful for understanding all sorts of cognitive tasks, such as reading comprehension and mental arithmetic
- The multistore model assumes that mental processes are passive
- The working memory model can explain why people are able to perform different
cognitive tasks at the same time without disruption; known as multi-tasking.
Mosconi et al. (2005)
Research Method: Correlational Study
Aim: To investigate the correlation between hippocampal glucose metabolism and the development of Alzheimer's disease
•Longitudinal study at New York University School of Medicine
•53 participants aged 50-85
•Researchers developed brain scan computer program (HipMask) that accurately measures metabolic activity in the hippocampus
•Participants were measured using HipMask through PET scan to monitor glucose metabolism of hippocampal region of brain
•Participants were monitored for 9-24 years for development of dementia
•Participants who exhibited reduced glucose metabolism were associated with later development of Alzheimer's Disease, with an 80-85% accuracy of the program
•Hippocampus is shown to be critical in memory formation, and reduced hippocampal glucose metabolism is a premature symptom for the development of dementia
•There is a direct correlation between the reduced ability to metabolize glucose in the hippocampus and the development of Alzheimer's Disease
•The ability to metabolize glucose in the hippocampus is related to memory
- High Ecological Validity
- Easily Replicated
- Longitudinal Study
- Reductionist approach
- Correlational Study; no cause and effect
The Theory of Flashbulb Memory Terminology
• Episodic memories that are vivid and highly detailed
• occurs due to high emotional attachment at the moment of encoding
The 6 important features which are remembered in detail:
- Ongoing activity
- The informant
- The aftermath
- How the event impacted themselves?
- How the event impacted other people?
• Highly resistant to forgetting
• Flashbulb Memory: Episodic memories that are vivid and highly detailed, occurs due to high emotional attachment
at the moment of encoding.
• Encoding: One of the main stages of memory; transforming sensory information into a meaningful memory.
• Explains why very emotional memories are often more vividly remembered over time
• If the event is important to the individual, it makes the memory much more accessible.
• High ecological validity
• Cross-culturally valid
• Low artificiality
• High generalizability
• Emotional importance of the event may influence the way memory is constructed, especially if that memory is
discussed with others.
• Confounding variables
Brown and Kulik (1977)
Research Method: Questionnaire
Aim: To investigate flashbulb memory and how it works in order to support their theory
- Questioned 80 American participants; 40 African American participants and 40 caucasian participants to answer questions about 10 events
- Out of the 10 events, nine of them were mostly assassinations or attempted assassinations of well-known American personalities (eg. J. F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and etc.)
- The tenth event was a self-selected event of personal relevance involving unexpected shock (eg. death of a friend or relative or a serious accident)
- Participants were asked to recall the circumstances they found themselves in when they first heard the news about the 10 events
- Participants were asked to indicate how often they had rehearsed (overtly or covertly) information about each event
- The assassination of J. F. Kennedy in 1963 (over a decade before the study) led to the highest number of FBMs with 90% of the participants recalling its reception context in vivid detail
- African Americans reported more FBMs for leaders of civil rights movements (e.g. the assassination of Martin Luther King) than Caucasian Americans
- Most participants recalled a personal FBM which tended to be related to learning about the death of a parent
- Brown and Kulik found that people said that they had very clear memories of where they were, what they did, and what they felt when they first learned about an important public occurrence such as the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, or Robert Kennedy
- Brown and Kulik suggested there may be a special neural mechanism which triggers an emotional arousal because the event is unexpected or extremely important
- At the time, it was only a hypothesis, but it is supported by modern neuroscience: emotional events are better remembered than less emotional events because of the critical role of the amygdala
- This study supported the Flashbulb theory
- A variety of emotional memories were tested
- Retrospective as hard to test memories and how vivid and accurate they are in comparison to when they were gained; there could be modification over time (reconstructive memory)
- Hard to find evidence of a special neural mechanism involved in the formation of flashbulb memories
- Ethical Consideration: mental harm due to recalling a traumatic emotional memory (assassinations + personal events)
- Confined to one culture/country
- Hard to replicate
THIS SET IS OFTEN IN FOLDERS WITH...
IB Psychology BLOA Studies
IB Psychology - Biological Level of Analysis
Psychology section 4.1
IB Psychology (Core)
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