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IB Psychology - Biological Approach
Terms in this set (53)
Brain imaging techniques or neuroimaging
Allows for non-invasive methods to study the brain.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
The scanner produces a radio frequency that creates a varying magnetic field, flipping the protons to their side. When the field is turned off, the protons return to their normal spin and produce a radio signal that can be received by the scanner and turned into an image.
Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FMRI)
Uses the BOLD (blood-oxygen-level-dependent) signal. When a brain region is active during the performance of a task, the organism supplies it with oxygenated blood. This oxygenated blood emits pulses of energy and is displayed by the machine. This allows researchers to see which brain areas are most active during the performance of a task.
Localization of function
The theory that certain areas of the brain are responsible for certain psychological functions.
The idea that there is a clear correspondence between psychological functions and brain areas, and that all functions can be clearly mapped onto the brain
The idea that several brain areas are responsible for the same function, but only one of these areas is dominant.
Feinstein et al. (2011)
Shows the amygdala enables us to experience fear (localization of brain function).
Grafman et al. (1996)
Damage to the prefrontal cortex is more likely to lead to aggressive behaviours than no damage or damage to other areas of the brain.
There is a division of functions between the two hemispheres of the cortex and supports theories of weak localization
Refers to the brain's ability to adapt by forming new connections as a result of experience, learning, or following an injury.
Refers to neuroplasticity on a small scale in which neurons form new synaptic connections and break up the old ones.
Refers to neuroplasticity on a large scale in which brain area X assumes the functions of brain area Y, for example, due to injury.
Refers to the sum total of all your brain's neurons and the connections between them.
The branching of neurons in the brain
Long term potentiation
The repeated firing of the neurons
Refers to a decrease in the number of synapses as a result of the removal of dendritic branches.
Brain structures that allow for the neurons to transmit an electrical or chemical signal to another neuron
Maguire et al (2000)
Experienced cab drivers develop a "mental map" of London and this causes an increase in the posterior of the hippocampus and the development of neural networks.
Draganski et al (2004)
Grey matter grows in the brain in response to environmental demands and shrinks in the absence of stimulation. This shows the cause-and-effect relationship between learning and brain structure.
Are chemical messengers that send messages along neural pathways
Is synthesized from tryptophan, an amino acid found in foods. Receptors are highly concentrated in the prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain focused on decision making.
Allows the impulse to cross the synapse and produce a stimulating effect on the brain.
Stops the impulse, preventing it from crossing, producing a calming effect on the brain.
Counteract neurotransmission by using a substance that fits into the receptor site on the neuron, inhibiting the neuron. Thus the neuron does not fire and therefore a behaviour will not happen.
Act by enhancing the action of neurotransmitters.
The brain's natural chemical that binds to receptor sites, leading to an action potential.
Passamonti et al (2012)
Low serotonin levels disrupts the function of the PFC and its ability to regulate stress/fear triggered by the amygdala. This might increase emotional levels and increase the chances of a highly emotional reaction to the threat.
Crockett et al (2010)
Citalopram and high levels of serotonin may cause people to be more opposed to the idea of inflicting harm on someone, even if it means it would have saved more people.
Chemical messengers that are released into the bloodstream and regulate relatively slow processes such as growth and metabolism.
When a hormone binds to a receptor and launches a sequence of changes. This process will not influence behaviour, but it will increase the probability that a certain behaviour will occur.
Is produced in the hypothalamus and it released by the pituitary gland and plays a role in social bonding.
Scheele et al (2012)
Oxytocin causes men in a relationship to keep a greater distance from attractive women who are not their partner. Therefore, staying true to their current relationships.
Guastella et al (2008)
Oxytocin increases gaze specifically toward the eye region of the human face. This may be one mechanism by which oxytocin enhances emotion recognition, interpersonal communication, and social bonds.
Chemical messengers that communicate information from one member of a species to another.
Wedekind et al. (1995)
MHC similarity may indeed be a factor in sexual attraction and we prefer the scent of those with different MHC genes. Suggests that gene compatibility is transmitted via smell and is an example of pheromones in humans
Lundstrom and Olsson (2005)
Androstadienone may serve the function of signalling sexual attractiveness, which supports its role as a pheromone.
Hare et al (2017)
The two chemicals (AND and EST) do not act as signals of gender or of attractiveness. Do not qualify as pheromones.
The process of a gene being expressed; the manifestations of the genotype in phenotypic traits. This occurs by sending messages from the cells that trigger the synthesis of proteins.
Refers to heritable phenotype changes and a gene being "turned on or off" as a result of internal signals such as hormones or other environmental events
Refers to the genetic structure an organism inherits from its parents.
Refers to the observable characteristics of an organism, resulting from the interaction between the organism's genotype and its environment.
Responsible for modulating the reaction of stressful life events by regulating serotonin levels in the synapse
Meyer-Lindenberg et al (2008)
Concluded that the MAOA-L gene increases the likelihood of being violent and aggressive
Caspi et al (2003)
Concluded that the 5-HTT gene, two long alleles, is responsible for modulating an individual's vulnerability to stress.
Scarr and Weinberg (1983)
Results suggest that IQ can be influenced by environmental factors, but it also shows the extent is influenced by genetic factors.
Twin and kinship studies
Are used to determine heritability - the extent to which variations in behaviour can be attributed to genetic factors. This is based on the principle of genetic similarity.
The model assumes that traits are the accumulation of three independent factors: genetic inheritance, shared environment, and individual environment.
Bouchard and Mcgue (1981)
Study demonstrates that intelligence is inherited to a considerable extent. The correlation between identical twins is not perfect, which shows that the environment plays a certain role in the development of IQ
McGuffin et al (1996)
There is a strong genetic component to major depressive disorder. A short duration in one twin increased the likelihood of the other twin being a suffered
Survival of the fittest
Those with favourable characteristics are better able to survive and reproduce
Organisms that are better adapted, pass on their genes and help strengthen the gene pool
Johnston et al (2001)
Suggests that perceived beauty depends on an interaction between displayed hormone markers, which display high levels of testosterone in males and genetic fitness, and the hormonal state of the women.
David Buss (1989)
Women and men seek traits which are likely to help procreate healthy offspring - males for more younger fertile females and females for men who are older and can provide security. Supports ideas of evolution and the importance of finding a fit partner who can help healthy offspring.