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Section 1-- Introduction & Brain Basics

by: Larrisa Miller

Section 1-- Introduction & Brain Basics 40318 - PSYC 001 - 010

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Larrisa Miller

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Introduction & History, Methods, and The Brain
Introduction to Psychology
Jessecae Marsh
Intro to Psychology
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This 17 page Bundle was uploaded by Larrisa Miller on Friday September 30, 2016. The Bundle belongs to 40318 - PSYC 001 - 010 at Lehigh University taught by Jessecae Marsh in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 6 views.

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Date Created: 09/30/16
1 Introduction to Psychology (PSYC 001) Professor: Dr. Jessecae Marsh Section 1- Introduction and Brain Basics (8/30/2016 – 9/1/2016) I. What is psychology? a. Psychology is the science of behavior and the mind. a. Behavior: observable actions people make b. Mind: unobservable things inside the head (memories, emotions, info, etc) b. Overall, psychology tries to understand factors to predict actions. II. What can psychology speak to? a. Psychology can be applied to many areas, such as: a. Student issues—how do we learn? How do we sleep better? b. Health issues—Why do I feel this way? How can I feel better? c. Legal issues—should we trust lie detectors and eye witness testimony? Should there be laws against texting? d. Societal issues—stereotypes, gay parents and their effect on children, videogames & violence III. Branches of psychology a. There are many different branches that psychology covers. Here are the main five: a. Behavioral Neuroscience—deals with the brain b. Cognitive Science—memory & intelligence c. Developmental Psychology—how we develop social & cognitive skills d. Social Psych—social & other interactions e. Clinical Psych—mental health disorders IV. History of Psychology a. Around 1870, Psych was created as a field. Up until this point, there had only been a foundation for psych, but no real name for it. b. Historical Foundations a. Philosophy & Important philosophers: Asking the basic questions 1. Nature vs. Nurture—Aristotle & Plato 2. How do we learn?—John Locke, David Hume, Immanuel Kant 3. What is the mind?—René Descartes (“I think therefore I am”) 4. How do we define things?—Ludwig Wittgenstein 5. What is human consciousness? Daniel Dennett c. Physiology: Birthing the field a. Franz Joseph Gall believed in phrenology (the detailed study of the shape and size of the cranium as a supposed indication of character and mental abilities). Gall believed that the brain was composed of different organs within the skull. Though he was wrong about this, he was correct in that he believed that the brain has different parts. 2 b. Pierre Flourens & Paul Broca physically worked with brains to determine that the brain is the seat of the mind. c. Herman von Helmholtz applied stimulus to different parts of the body in order to gauge reaction; from this, he discovered that nerve function takes time—the mental experience of the world is directly connected to real time of the world. V. The first psychologists a. Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920) was the first to set up a lab for psychology; he devoted this lab to studying sensation. He had two major questions, which form the basis of structuralism. 1. What are the components of experience? 2. How do you describe the mind? b. Wendt also focused on introspection, in which he asked subjects to reflect on their experience with a particular stimulus and then describe it (Ex: Describe this apple). This gave one the ability to study psych using data. c. William James (1842-1910) was the first American psychologist, and author of The Principles of Psychology (1890). He focused on two major questions, which form the basis of functionalism. 1. What does the mind do? 2. How do people produce useful behaviors? VI. Behaviorism (~ 1920 - ~1970) a. The view of introspection was that Mind + Behavior = Psychology. Behaviorism, however, claims that humans are inadequate at introspection, thus only Behavior = Psychology. b. “Psychologists must discard all references to consciousness.” (J.B. Watson, 1913) VII. The Behaviorists a. John B. Watson (1878-1958) believed that he could train an infant to become any type of specialist (doctor, lawyer, etc.) if he were given his own specified world to bring them up in. b. B.F. Skinner (1904-1990) a. Wrote Verbal Behavior (1957), in which he claimed that human language is based on stimulus & response b. Worked with pigeons by rewarding/ punishing them for complex actions in order to exemplify his stimulus & response theories. 1. Claimed (very boldly) that free will does not exist VIII. Trends in thought a. Backlash to behaviorism: the Cognitive Revolution (1960s - ?) a. The invention of computers brings psychology back to focusing on the mind b. Computers are information processing machines—is this the same as human minds? 3 c. Focus was turned to measuring behavior to get at the mind; cognitive science asks questions that behaviorists were uninterested in, such as: a. How do we process, store, and receive information? b. How are thoughts represented? c. How do our thoughts guide our behavior? d. The field continually grows and changes, due to the engine of change: research 1 Introduction to Psychology (PSYC 001) Professor: Dr. Jessecae Marsh Section 1- Introduction and Brain Basics Methods of Psychology (9/1/2016 – 9/6/2016) I. The Research Cycle Theories : ideas Facts : objective that explain existing facts Hypotheses: statements predictions about new (behaviors) facts Conduct Studies Once there are new facts, new theories are found, and research continues to be refined. II. Elements of Study 1. Research Design (3 types) a. Descriptive studies: describing data without looking at relationships between variables using descriptive statistics (stats that describe study participants) i. Useful when one does not know much about a topic ii. Ex: studies of schizophrenia b. Correlational studies: measuring relationship between variables i. Change in one variable associated with change in another ii. Ex: correlation between hours spent watching TV and GPA iii. CORRELATION ≠ CAUSATION! There is always the possibility of a third variable. 2 c. Experiments: A researcher manipulates one or more variables to measure change in other variables i. Variable types: 1. Independent Variable (IV) 2. Dependent Variable (DV) – How does manipulating IV affect DV? ii. Operationalize: how variables are defined (how much does “a lot” mean—0.1%? 50%? 97% etc) III. Experimental Designs a. Within-Subject: manipulation of IV within same group of subjects b. Between subjects: same IV among different groups (different subjects experience the same conditions) For a within-subject experiment, one individual (or one group) would receive both an unhealthy breakfast and a healthy breakfast to test the difference between the two. For a between-subjects experiment, one group would receive an unhealthy breakfast, while an entirely different group would receive a healthy breakfast. IV. Comparing Research Design Descriptive Studies Correlational Studies Experiments Gives info about Yes Yes Yes variables? Tells about No Yes Yes relationship between variables? Tells about causality No no Yes between variables? V. Research settings in Psychology Lab Study Field Study  Controlled environment  Real world setting  Less variability  More variability (difficult to  Not very realistic determine what exactly is going on)  More realistic Ex: How does a doctor make diagnostic decisions?  In a lab setting, it would be easy to monitor the control, but it would not be realistic 3  In a field study, one could watch exactly how the doctor goes through with his/her decision. It would be realistic, but it would not be easy to monitor the control. VI. Data Collection in Psychology a. Passive observation b. Measure things while doing a task, such as i. Reaction time ii. Eye movement iii. Brain activity c. Evaluate responses i. Accuracy ii. Compare choices iii. Analyze agreement There are many ways to answer a single question. Using the above approaches to answer a question about shopping preferences, one could:  Observe people shopping  Bring people to the lab and track their eye movement as they are presented with options  Use MRI to track brain activity  Ask people their opinions on what they would buy and why VII. Analyzing Data a. Descriptive Statistics: statistics summarizing patterns in data i. Mean, median, mode ii. Variability: spread around the mean iii. Correlation coefficient: measure of correlation 1. Correlation varies on a scale from -1 to 1; 0 represents no correlation. 2. Correlations closer to -1 or 1 are much stronger (and thus more reliable) than those that are close to 0. ( 0.7 > 0.3) b. Inferential Statistics: differences by chance alone or because of variables of interest i. Ex: the morning lecture group, on average, consumes 3.6 candy bars, while the afternoon group consumes 4.0. Do students in the morning eat less, or do these statistics basically say the same thing? Inferential statistics allow us to make that decision. VIII. Elements of good studies and explanations a. Validity: ensure that one is measuring what one wants/ claims to measure i. When attempting to assess how much students study, measuring how many hours a student spends in the library would not be the same as measuring how many hours that student actually spent studying. 4 b. Falsifiability: can be proven wrong i. A study that forces a particular answer/ is not able to be proven wrong is not a good study c. Parsimony: simple explanation of data IX. Things to minimize in studies a. Error: random variability that unavoidably happens in collecting data i. How to avoid error: collect more subjects b. Bias: nonrandom effects caused by extraneous factors that are not what is being studied i. Ex of bias: If one were attempting to gauge how many students at a university party, it would be biased to check in only frat houses rather than in libraries. (LU #4 party school aye) X. Things subjects bring to the table a. Demand Characteristics: subject brings different answer than what one would reasonably say; they guess about the experiment and attempt to answer accordingly i. Placebos ii. Facilitated communication—this does not work, because the facilitator subconsciously assists their subject XI. Rules to doing science Why? Sometimes humans suck. We need to have rules in order to protect subjects in studies. a. Nuremburg Trials and Nuremberg Code (1947) i. Nazi doctors did horrible experiments on people. In the Nuremburg Trials, such doctors were convicted as war criminals, and the Nuremburg Code, which applies to research ethics, was passed. b. Tuskegee Study (1932-1972) i. Scientists tracked the progression of syphilis in poor African-Americans without gaining their consent or informing them that there was a cure. As a result, Congress passed laws about unethical medical treatment; once a drug is known to work, it must be given to all subjects. c. When dealing with human subjects: i. Must keep subjects’ information private ii. Must minimize harm iii. If using deception, must inform participants in debriefing of the deception (“By the way, you have been given a placebo this entire time.”) iv. Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) ensure that studies follow ethical practices d. Research with animal subjects 5 i. Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) – same as IRB but for experimental animals XII. Impact of Bad Science Ex: MMR vaccinations & autism a. Pre-1998: some fears about vaccine & whether it causes autism b. 1998: Wakefield study published with claims that the vaccine caused autism c. Post-1998: drop in vaccine compliance; some children die of MMR d. 2011- Evidence that Wakefield faked his data. i. “The Paper that Killed Children” proves that a biased, insufficient can have a huge impact on society; therefore, research ethics are entirely necessary. 1 Introduction to Psychology (PSYC 001) Professor: Dr. Jessecae Marsh Section 1- Introduction and Brain Basics The Brain (9/6/2016) I. Neurons: cells in the nervous system that communicate with one another to perform information-processing tasks a. Structure of the Neuron Neurons have three basic parts: 1. Cell Body (soma): largest component of the neuron that coordinates the information- processing tasks and keeps the cell alive. a. Protein synthesis, energy production, and metabolism take place here b. Contains the nucleus, which houses chromosomes containing DNA c. Surrounded by porous cell membrane 2. Dendrites: receive information from other neurons and relay it to the cell body a. Name comes from Greek word for “tree,” due to appearing like tree branches 3. Axon: carries information to other neurons, muscles, or glands a. can be extremely long (stretching from base of spinal cord to big toe) b. covered by myelin sheath: an insulating layer of fatty material 2 i. composed of glial cells (Greek for “glue”): support cells found in the nervous system 1. different functions of glial cells: digestion of dead neurons, physical & nutritional support for neurons, formation of myelin ii. demyelinating diseases (multiple sclerosis): myelin sheath deteriorates, which slows transition of info. from one neuron to the next c. The dendrites and axons do not touch; a synapse is the junction or region between the axon of one neuron and the dendrites or cell body of another i. Most adults have 100 – 500 trillion synapses b. Major Types of Neurons a. Sensory: receive information from the external world and convey this information to the brain via the spinal cord b. Motor Neurons: carry signals from the spinal cord to the muscles to produce movement c. Interneurons: connect sensory neurons, motor neurons, or other interneurons i. work together in small circuits to perform simple tasks (ex: identifying location of sensory signal) and more complicated ones (Ex: recognizing a face) c. Neurons Specialized by Location a. Neurons have specialized to perform specific tasks (pg. 83 of text) 3 II. Grouping Neurons a. Nucleus: cell bodies grouped & working together b. Tract: bundles of axons that move from one nucleus to the next c. Nuclei appear grey i.e. “grey matter” III. Membranes and Ion Movement a. The electrochemical action of neurons involves two stages: a. Conduction: movement of an electrical signal within neurons, from the dendrites to the cell body, then throughout the axon b. Transmission: movement of electric signals from one neuron to another over the synapse b. A neuron’s membrane allows ions to move in and out a. Resting Potential: the difference in electric charge between the inside and outside of a neuron’s cell membrane i. Approximately -70 mV ii. Due to the difference in concentrations of ions inside and outside the cell membrane iii. Inside the membrane: High concentration of positive ion (K ) and negative protein ion (A ) + iv. Outside the membra-e: high concentration of positive (Na ) and negative ion (Cl ) c. Concentration of K inside and outside neuron is controlled by channels in the membrane that allow K to flow in and out + a. In resting state, the channels that allow K to flow across the membrane are open, while the channels for the other ions are generally closed b. Due to the concentration of K inside the neuron, some K ions move out, which leaves the neuron with its negative charge relative to the outside 4 A very brief summary of the process that I attempted to glean from lecture:  A neuron is more negative inside than the rest of its environment at its resting state  Action potential propagation: o Transfer between Na and K + o Process of finding balance between the two  Process is reactionary: signal travels across membrane 5 (Pg. 85 of textbook) IV. Action Potential Propagation a. Action Potential: an electric signal that is conducted along the length of a neuron’s axon to a synapse b. All or none: electric stimulation < threshold will not produce action potential, while stimulation ≥ threshold always produces action potential c. Occurs when there is a change in membrane channels—when an electric charge is + at the thre+hold K channels shut down and those that allow flow of positively charged Na ions open. These ions flow inside, which causes the neuron to be positively charged in comparison to the outside. The action potential is then pushed to its maximum of +40 mV d. Once at max, membrane channels return to initial state. Ions are imbalanced + + (many Na inside and K outside) i. This is the refractory period: the time following an action potential during which a new action potential cannot be initiated ii. Imbalance of ions eventually reversed by a chemical pump w/in the cell that cannot operate during action potential e. Electric charge moves down axon by domino effect. When an action potential is triggered at beginning of axon, it spreads a distance, which then initiates an action potential at a nearby location, thus conducting charge down length of axon i. Ensures action potential travels full length of axon, achieving full intensity at each step regardless of distance travelled 6 V. Speed of Action Potential a. Determined by: i. Width of axons—wider axon = faster info flow ii. Myelination b. The Importance of Myelin i. Myelin works as insulation that keeps the electrical charge inside and moving within the neuron Pg. 87 of textbook VI. Moving from one neuron to the next a. Synapses & chemical communication i. Neurons do not touch— axons end in terminal buttons: knoblike structures that branch out from an axon. Dendrites of receiving neuron contain receptors: parts of the cell membrane that receive neurotransmitters and either initiate or prevent a new electric signal ii. Electrical charge is converted to chemical signal b. A single neuron may receive input from thousands of synapses i. The neuron receives both excitatory and inhibitory information that dictates whether it should fire or not. If the information is mostly excitatory, it will fire; if inhibitory, it will not fire pg. 87 of textbook 7 VII. Neurotransmitters Neurotransmitters: chemicals that transmit information across the synapse to a receiving neuron’s dendrites a. Dopamine: regulates motor behavior, motivation, pleasure, and emotional arousal i. L Dopa: increases dopamine in system by giving body the ability to produce more dopamine ii. Haloperidol: reduces amount of dopamine iii. Stimulants: increase amount of dopamine (antidepressants) b. Norepinephrine: fight or flight c. Serotonin: mood regulation, emotional behavior, sleep i. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI): prevent serotonin from being reabsorbed too quickly d. GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid): inhibits neurotransmitters from firing VIII. How do we know how the brain works? a. Investigate normal/ abnormal people & animals b. Patient work: working with someone to study behavior i. Ex. Phineas Gage & his “horrible accident.” Gage had a rod shoved through his brain; the subsequent change in personality and behavior helped determine that the front part of the brain has an effect on behavior. IX. Non-Invasive Ways a. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS): sends magnetic pulse into skull into brain to deactivate/activate neurons b. Electroencephalogram (EEG): measures electrical activity of brain; measures neurons as they fire. Gains an idea of when they fire, but not where. c. Neuroimaging i. Position Emission Tomography (PET): measures usage of brain by amount of bloodflow to a particular part. Shows where exactly the brain is used but not when. ii. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI): magnetizes hemoglobin in blood, tracks blood flow over time d. Single cell recording: embeds an electrode in brain to record one group of neurons to determine when it fires. Shows neuron reactions. Introduction to Psychology (PSYC 001) Professor: Dr. Jessecae Marsh Section 1- Introduction and Brain Basics The Brain (9/8/2016) I. Information Flow a. Data input: (sensory-perceptual hierarchy) i. Sensory receptors  brain b. Decision Output: (motor-control hierarchy) i. Brain  body Based on that, we have PNS & CNS II. Peripheral Nervous System (PNS) a. Collection of nerves connecting CNS to sensory organs PNS Somatic: conveys information into Autonomic: conveys involuntary and automatic commands that control and out of the central nervous system; internal organs and glands (automatic controls voluntary movement of skeletal muscles (conscious control) messages to body) Sympathetic: Parasympathetic: Fight or flight undoes what sympathetic does (arousing) (calming) III. Central Nervous System: The Spinal Cord a. Ascending tracks: information travelling from PNS up to brain b. Descending Tracks: commands from brain to body c. The spinal cord is an information flow highway d. Severing cord i. If the spinal cord is severed, information can’t flow past that cut—it’s as if a portion of a road is removed 1. The body is paralyzed from the cut down 2. One who is paralyzed can still get reflexes that are programmed within the body e. Pattern Generations: nerve sections that stimulate each other w/o need for communication with the brain i. for example, the brain sends a signal to “walk” and the generators take over the pattern of walking IV. Central Nervous System: The Brain The brain is composed of the subcortical structures and the cerebral cortex (which appears as the “wrinkles” of the brain)


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