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Psychology A Level AQA - Biopsychology (key terms)
Terms in this set (82)
Internal biological clock that regulates biological rhythms. One factor affecting circadian rhythms.
External environmental factors which entrain/affect our biological rhythms. One factor affecting circadian rhythms.
Area of brain that processes visual information from eyes
Area of brain which processes auditory information from ears
Area in brain responsible for language comprehension
Area of brain responsible for processing sensory information
Valley separating frontal and parietal lobes
Responsible for speech production
Area that carries out higher mental functions (eg. decision making, thinking, planning)
Coordinates/regulates muscular activity
Area in frontal lobe that controls voluntary movement, in opposite sides of body to each hemisphere. Damage causes loss of control over fine movements.
Area in parietal lobe that processes sensory information from skin, such as heat, pressure, touch. Sensitivity of body part denoted by amount of somatosensory devoted to it (over 1/2 of area occupied by receptors for hands & face).
Area in temporal lobe that analyses speech-based info. Damage causes partial/complete loss of hearing.
Area in occipital lobe which right visual field info goes to left hemisphere, and left visual field info goes to right hemisphere. Damage causes blindness, depending on which hemisphere is damaged, to that visual field.
Damage to this area causes slow, laborious speech, that lacks fluency.
Damage to this area causes the production of nonsense words (neologisms) to their speech content, and nonsense construction of sentences.
surgical procedure involving incisions into the prefrontal lobe of brain, used originally to treat mental illness.
Localisation of function
Theory that different areas of brain are responsible for different behaviours, processes and activities. Also known as cortical localisation.
Theory that all parts of brain are involved in the processing of thought and action.
As a result of experience and learning, the ability of the brain to adapt and change - functionally and physically. Also known as cortical remapping.
A form of plasticity, where after damage via trauma, the brain's ability to redistribute and transfer functions to undamaged areas.
Gopnick (et al. 1999)
research suggesting the growth of our synaptic connections rapidly increases in infancy - up to 15'000 at age 2-3 years! Twice the amount in adults.
The process of frequently used connections strengthened, and rarely used connections deleted.
Maguire (et al. 2000)
Studied brains of London taxi drivers, found significantly more volume of cerebral cortex in the posterior hippocampus (area associated with spatial & navigational skills) than in matched control group.
Draganski (et al. 2006)
Imaged brains of medical students 3 months before & after final exams. Found learning induced changes in posterior hippocampus and parietal cortex as a result of revising.
Mechelli (et al. 2004)
Larger parietal cortex in bilingual people compared to matched monolingual control group.
Idea that functional recovery can occur quickly after trauma, then slow down after several weeks/months.
Secondary neural pathways
used in functional recovery process; not typically used to carry out certain functions.
During functional recovery, brain forms new synaptic connections near area of damage. Secondary neural pathways 'unmasked' to enable functioning to continue similarly to before.
Structural change in brain during recovery - growth of new nerve ending connect with other undamaged nerve cells, to form new neuronal pathways.
Reformation of blood vessels
Structural change in brain during recovery - involving blood.
Recruitment of homologous areas
Structural changes in brain during recovery - similar areas on opposite hemisphere of brain, are assigned to perform specific tasks.
Idea that the two hemispheres of the brain are functionally different; different mental processes and behaviours are controlled mainly by one hemisphere rather than the other.
incision made to corpus callosum and other connecting tissues, to separate hemispheres and control severe epileptic seizures.
Series of studies conducted about split-brain research into hemispheric lateralisation. To see to what extent 2 hemispheres are functionally different/independent.
Four findings of Sperry('s research)
Describing what you see
Recognition by touch
Area known as 'analyser', best suited for verbal and language processing.
Area known as 'synthesiser', best suited for spatial and drawing tasks, and music.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
Whilst person is performing a task, radio waves are detected from changing magnetic fields. Detects changes in blood oxygenation levels which denote which areas of the brain are active - due to haemodynamic response. Creates 3-dimensional images known as activation maps.
Three-dimensional images created in fMRI.
Active areas of brain consume more oxygen, so to fulfill this increased demand, more blood flow is directed to active area.
Measures electrical impulses produced by brain activity, via electrodes fixed to the scalp with a skull cap. Records actions of millions of neurons, generating brainwave patterns.
No particular rhythm of activity - detected by EEGs, indicating potential neurological abnormalities such as epilepsy, tumours, or sleep disorders.
Event-related potentials (ERPs)
Neural/electrophysiological responses associated with sensory, cognitive or motor events can be isolated using statistical analysis of EEG data; filtered to show only the responses to eg. performance of a specific task.
Analysis of the brain after death, to decide whether observed behaviours in the patient's lifetime can be linked to abnormalities in the brain.
Type of biological rhythm, subject to a 24 hour cycle, regulating numerous processes such as the sleep/wake cycle + changes in core body temperature.
What does 'circa diem' translate to?
Cave studies; man who, deprived of natural light and sound, resurfaced mid-September after two months in the Southern Alps, thinking it was mid-August. His 'free-running' biological rhythm had settled to 25 hours. In another cave in Texas a decade later, for 6 months, got same results.
Significant changes in the body's patterns of activity, subject to a cyclical time structure; they are influenced by endogenous pacemakers and exogenous zeitgebers.
Aschoff and Wever (1976)
Participants spent 4 weeks in a WWII bunker, deprived of natural light. Apart from one (whose was 29hrs), found all participants biological/circadian rhythms had settled to between 24-5hrs.
Folkard (et al. 1985 1975)
* Cave study - 12 people in cave with no natural light for 3 weeks, told to go to bed at 11:45pm, and wake at 7:45am...unaware that researchers gradually sped up clock, so that a 24hr day eventually became a 22hr day. Found only 1 person could comfortably adjust.
* Core body temp. - found children who had stories read to at 3pm displayed better recall after a week, than those read to at 9am.
Gupta (et al. 1991)
Core body temp. - found students who took an IQ test at 7pm to have performed better than those at 9am or 2pm.
Core body temperature
A circadian rhythm; found that the warmer you are, the better cognitive performance is. Varies by 2 degrees throughout day. Lowest at 4am (36 degrees) and highest at 6pm (38 degrees).
Concept that disruption of circadian rhythms can have adverse consequences eg. shift work.
Name for period of reduced concentration at 6am, meaning higher likelihood of mistakes and accidents.
Action of drugs on body, and how well absorbed + distributed they are.
Biological rhythm which takes longer than 24 hours to complete.
Biological rhythm which takes less than 24 hours to complete.
An example of an infradian rhythm which takes on average 28 days. A monthly change in hormone levels, regulating ovulation.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
Example of an infradian rhythm which is circannual (yearly). A depressive disorder which has a seasonal pattern of onset; symptoms incl. persistent low mood and general lack of interest.
A chemical which when secreted induces sleep, and is inhibited during wakefulness.
Involved in cause of SAD as the production of it increases during winter months, when there are prolonged periods of darkness.
Melatonin has an affect on production of this chemical linked to onset of depressive symptoms
Stern and McClintock (1998)
Study into infradian rhythm - the menstrual cycle, and whether exogenous zeitgebers such as other female pheromones, can influence the cycle to 'synchronise' with other females.
*29 women; 9 taken pheromone samples using cotton pads under armpit, for each day of their cycle. 20 others had cotton pads rubbed onto upper lip following the 'cycle' eg. day 1, pad 1.
* Found 68% of 20 women had cycles closer to their 'odour donor'.
Example of an ultradian rhythm which lasts 90 minutes, which continues throughout the night multiple times. Most researched example.
Stage 1 - light sleep where person is easily awoken. Brain wave patterns are slower and more rhythmic. Rapid low-amplitude brain waves that have been linked to feelings of relaxation
Stage 2 - Slow waves followed by very short bursts of rapid rhythmic brain wave activity. Body temperature and heart rate decrease. Slow brain waves sometimes accompanied by a hypnagogic state.
Stage 3 & 4 - very slow waves with highest amplitude (large). Hard to wake someone in this stage.
REM (rapid eye movement)
Stage 5 - body is paralysed, but brain wave activity speeds up to similar state when awake. Highly correlated with dreaming.
Basic rest activity cycle (BRAC)
Kleitman suggested a similar 90 minute rhythm cycle continues in the waking hours. Characterised by a period of alertness followed by a spell of physiological fatigue.
Suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN)
The main endogenous pacemaker of all mammals,
a bundle of nerve fibres which maintain circadian rhythms eg. sleep/wake cycle. Located just above optic chiasm in brain, receives info. about light from this structure.
Eye cross structure on their way from the eyes to the visual cortex of the cerebral cortex. Connects to SCN.
Sleep wake cycle
24 hour cycle of biological activity that is influenced by regular variations in the environment such as the alternation of day + night.
DeCoursey (et al. 2000)
Chipmunk study - destroyed SCN connections in 30 chipmunks and released them back into their natural habitat, observing them for 80 days. Found their sleep/wake cycle had disappeared and a significant number were killed by predators.
Ralph (et al. 1990)
Mutant hamster study - bred 'mutant' hamsters with 20hr sleep/wake cycles. Then, transplanted foetal tissue containing SCN cell from mutants into normal hamsters' brains; found normal hamsters cycles defaulted to 20hrs too.
pea-like structure in brain, located behind hypothalamus, which manages production of melatonin.
The outcome of exogenous zeitgebers; making our brainwaves change to their desired frequency and thus affecting biological rhythms.
Meaning of 'time giver'.
An example of a zeitgeber in humans. Can reset the SCN - the body's main endogenous pacemaker - and so is important in the maintenance of the sleep/wake cycle. Also indirectly affects key bodily processes eg. secretion of hormones, circulation of blood.
Campbell and Murphy (1998)
Demonstrated light may be detected by skin receptors, even if same info. not processed by eyes. 15 people woken during night and had a light shone on back of knees. Researchers deviated usual sleep/wake cycle up to 3 hours.
An example of a zeitgeber in humans. Able to entrain infants with random sleep/wake pattern to adult-determined mealtimes and bedtimes - by 16 weeks, most babies are entrained.
Delayed sleep phase disorder (DSPD)
Circadian rhythm sleep disorder, affecting timing of sleep, period of alertness, core body temp., hormonal and other daily rhythms.
Numerous circadian rhythms found in organs and cells of body; such as lungs, pancreas, liver, oesophagus, spleen, thymus, adrenal gland and skin. Highly influenced by SCN but can be independent.
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