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Psychology 302: Introduction to Biopsychology MTWTF 11am-12:45pm Instructor: Katrina Nicholas My training, research, & teaching experience BA in linguistics & BS in biology with honors in neuroscience Undergrad research assistant in cognitive science laboratory

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Psychology 302:Introduction to Biopsychology

MTWTF 11am-12:45pm

Instructor: Katrina Nicholas


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My training, research, & teaching experience

  • BA in linguistics & BS in biology with honors in neuroscience

  • Undergrad research assistant in cognitive science laboratory

  • Currently a psychology grad student studying genetics underlying linguistic behavior

  • Taught research methods lab sections past five fall and spring semesters

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Availability

  • Office location: Communication 306

  • Office hours: by appointment

  • Office phone: 626-6593

  • Email: [email protected]

  • Website: http://www.u.arizona.edu/~katrina/PSYC302.html

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Syllabus

  • Prerequisites

  • Required text

  • Course objectives & assignments

  • Grading & extra credit

  • Attendance & late work policy

  • Accommodations

  • Academic integrity

  • Expected classroom behavior

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Daily structure

  • first lecture: 11am-11:50am

  • break: 11:50am-11:55am

  • second lecture: 11:55am-12:45pm

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Tentative Class Schedule

  • Exams dates:

    EXAM 1 - Friday, June 9

    EXAM 2 - Friday, June 16

    EXAM 3 - Friday, June 23

    EXAM 4 - Friday, June 30

    FINAL EXAM (cumulative) -

    Thursday, July 6

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Tentative Class Schedule

  • In-class debates:

    Debate 1 - Wednesday, June 7

    Debate 2 - Wednesday, June 14

    Debate 3 - Wednesday, June 21

    Debate 4 - Wednesday, June 28

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Lecture format

  • lectures will be based on assigned readings from textbook (exams will be based on readings, class notes, and videos)

  • each lecture will begin with an outline

  • sometimes a summary of previous lecture

  • questions or comments are encouraged throughout the lecture - Don’t be shy :-)

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Getting to know you…

  • first & last name

  • email address

  • hometown

  • major (& minor)

  • class standing

  • academic interests

  • non-academic interests

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.



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Outline

1. The Field of Biopsychology

a. Study of biological bases of behavior

b. Characterized by an eclectic approach

2. Biopsychology as a Discipline of Neuroscience

a. What is Neuroscience?

b. Biopsychology as a Part of Neuroscience

3. The Diversity of Biological Research

a. Human and Non-human subjects

b. Experiments and Non-experiments

c. Pure and Applied Research

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Outline

4. The Six Divisions of Biopsychology

5. How do Biopsychologists Work Together?

6. Scientific Inference: How do Biopsychologists Study the Unobservable?

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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The Field of Biopsychology

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Study of Biological Bases of Behavior

  • brain and behavior are two of the most interesting subjects of scientific research

  • biopsychology focuses on the relation between them

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Study of Biological Bases of Behavior

  • biopsychology began to emerge as a distinct area in psychology towards the end of the 19th century

  • Hebb’s The Organization of Behavior (1949) is thought to be key factor in the field’s development

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Study of Biological Bases of Behavior

  • biopsychologists study how the brain and the rest of the nervous system determine what we perceive, feel, think, say, and do

  • this may prove to be the ultimate challenge for the human brain…

    Does our brain have the capacity to understand something as complex as itself?

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Characterized by an eclectic approach

  • a biopsychologist uses an eclectic combination of theories and research from many different areas (psychology, biology, physiology, pharmacology, and anatomy) to better describe, understand and predict behavior

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Biopsychology as a Discipline of Neuroscience

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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What is Neuroscience?

  • Until the middle of the last century, the brain was studied primarily by philosophers;

    since then, it has been subjected more and more to scientific study

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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What is Neuroscience?

  • neuroscience is the study of the nervous system; neuroscience includes many different approaches such as:

    neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, neurochemistry, neuroendrocrinology, neuropharmacology, and neuropathology

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Biopsychology as part of Neuroscience

  • biopsychology integrates these various approaches to the study of the nervous system

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Biopsychology as part of Neuroscience

  • biopsychologists try to discover how the various phenomena studied by other neuroscience researchers produce psychological phenomena such as perception, learning, memory, emotion,

    and language

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Biopsychology as part of Neuroscience

  • Thus, biopsychology can be viewed as a bridge between the disciplines of psychology and neuroscience

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Biopsychology as part of Neuroscience

  • The course will examine the fundamentals of neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and neuropharmacology

  • The rest of the course will focus on how these biological fundamentals are applied to the study of biopsychological phenomena

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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The Diversity of Biopsychological Research

  • biopsychologists use variety of research approaches in their studies; to understand what biopsychology is, you must understand what they do

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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The Diversity of Biopsychological Research

  • This diversity can be illustrated by discussing three dimensions along which their research varies:

    (1) human vs. non-human subjects

    (2) experimental vs. non-experimental studies

    (3) applied vs. pure research

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Advantages of human

(1) can follow instructions

(2) can report subjective experiences

(3) are often less expensive

(4) have a human brain

Advantages of non- human

(1) have simpler nervous systems

(2) possible to use comparative, cross-species approach

(3) fewer ethical constraints

Human & Non-human Subjects

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Human & Non-human Subjects

  • The ethics of both human and animal research is carefully scrutinized by independent committees

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Experiments & Non-Experiments

  • biopsychological research can involve experiments and non-experimental studies (quasiexperimental designs and case studies)

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Experiments

  • method used by scientists to determine cause-and-effect relationship

  • when a different group of subjects is tested under each treatment condition of the experiment; this is a between-subjects design

  • when same group of subjects can be tested under multiple treatment conditions; this is a within-subjects design

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Experiments

  • Independent variables are manipulated by the experimenter; these manipulations produce different treatment conditions in an experiment

  • Dependent variables reflect the subject’s behavior; this is what the experiment measures

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Experiments

  • In a well-designed experiment, the experimenter can conclude that any differences in the dependent variable between the various treatment conditions were caused by the independent variable

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Experiments

  • It is often difficult in practice to make sure that there is only one difference among conditions; other unintended differences among conditions that can influence the dependent variable are called confounded variables

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Experiments

  • the presence of confounded variables makes experiments difficult to interpret because it is impossible to tell how much (if any) of the effect on the dependent variable was caused by the independent variable and how much (if any) was caused by the confounded variable

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Non-experiments

  • sometimes it is impossible to conduct controlled experiments; e.g., if humans subjects are involved, it may be impossible for ethical or technical reasons to assign them to particular conditions and to administer the conditions

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Non-experiments

  • In a quasi-experimental design researchers examine subjects in real world situations who have self-selected into the specific conditions (e.g., excessive alcohol intake); in a sense these subjects have assigned themselves to the treatment conditions

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Non-experiments

  • The major short-coming of a quasiexperimental study is that although researchers can examine relations between the variables of interest (e.g., alcohol consumption’s relation to brain damage), a quasi study cannot control for potential confounding variables

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Non-experiments

  • Therefore quasiexperimental studies do not allow a researcher to establish direct cause-and-effect relationships

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Non-experiments

  • Example: researchers cannot randomly assign humans to Control and Alcohol groups, and then expose one group to 10 years of chronic alcohol exposure to see if a alcohol causes brain damage; instead they must compare the brains of alcoholics and non-alcoholics found in the real world

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Non-experiments

  • Key Problem: because subjects in the real world do not assign themselves to groups randomly, there are many other differences among the groups that could contribute to differences in the dependent measures. (For example, brain damage may be due to poor diet, accidental head injury, other drug use, etc.)

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Non-experiments

  • Another type of non-experimental design is called a case study

  • case studies are scientific studies that foucs on a single subject

  • the main problem with case studies is their poor generalizability, or the extent to which their results tells us something about the general population

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Non-experiments

  • A Key Point: Quasi-experiments and case studies can both make valuable scientific contributions, particularly when they are used to complement each other and experiments (e.g., all three have contributed much to our understanding of the relation between alcohol consumption and brain damage)

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Pure and Applied Research

  • Pure research is motivated primarily by the curiosity of the researcher; it is motivated by the desire to find out how things work; it focuses on establishing building blocks or basic concepts that may provide information salient to many problems

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Pure and Applied Research

  • Applied research is motivated by an attempt to directly use the building blocks of basic research to answer specific questions; human and animal problems are specifically addressed

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Conclusions

  • biopsychologists study the biology of behavior in a variety of ways; the strength of biopsychology as a science is attributable to this diversity; its diversity also makes biopsychology an exciting and challenging field to study

    (break)

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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The Six Divisions of Biopsychology

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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The 6 Divisions of Biopsychology

  • Physiological Psychology

  • Psychopharmacology

  • Neuropsychology

  • Psychophysiology

  • Cognitive Neuroscience

  • Comparative Psychology

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Physiological Psychology

  • focuses on the direct manipulation of the nervous system in controlled laboratory settings (e.g., lesions, electrical stimulation, invasive recording)

  • thus, subjects are usually laboratory animals

    strong focus on pure research

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Psychopharmacology

  • similar to physiological psychology except that the nervous system is manipulated pharmacologically

  • focuses on drug effects on behavior and how these changes are mediated by changes in neural activity

  • many psychopharmacologists favor pure research and use drugs to reveal the nature of brain-behavior interactions; many others study applied questions (e.g., drug abuse, therapeutic drugs)

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Neuropsychology

  • focuses on the behavioral deficits produced in humans by brain damage, typically cortical damage

  • can’t be studied in humans by experimentation; deals almost exclusively with case studies and quasiexperimental studies

  • most applied; neuropsychological tests of brain-damaged patients facilitate diagnosis, treatment, and lifestyle counseling

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Psychophysiology

  • focuses on the relation between physiology and behavior by recording the physiological responses of human subjects

  • because humans are used, all brain recording is noninvasive (i.e., from the surface of the head)

  • usual measure of brain activity is the scalp electroencephalogram (EEG)

  • muscle tension, eye movement, heart rate, pupil dilation, and electrical conductance of the skin are other common measures

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Cognitive Neuroscience

  • newest division of biopsychology

  • focuses on the neural bases of cognitive processes like learning and memory, attention, and complex perceptual processes

  • often employs human subjects; key methods are noninvasive, functional brain imaging techniques

  • often involves collaborations between researchers with widely different backgrounds (e.g., psychology, linguistics, computer science)

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Comparative Psychology

  • study of evolutionary and genetic factors in behavior

  • features comparative and functional approaches

  • features laboratory research as well as studies of animals in their natural environments (ethology)

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Converging Operations:How do Biopsychologists Work Together?

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Converging Operations

  • the methods of the six divisions are not without their weaknesses; thus, biopsychological issues are rarely resolved by a single experiment or study, or by a single approach

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Converging Operations

  • progress is greatest when several different approaches, each compensating for shortcomings of the others, are used to solve the same problems; this is called converging operations

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Converging Operations

  • Example: Consider the relative strengths and weakness of physiological psychology and neuropsychology. Neuropsychology’s strength is that it deals with humans, but this is also its weakness because it precludes experimentation. In contrast, physiological psychology can bring the power of the experimental method and invasive neuroscientific techniques to bear on the question, but it is limited to the study of laboratory animals.

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Converging Operations

  • Because the two approaches complement one another, together they can provide evidence for points of view that neither can defend individually.

  • Read about the case of Jimmie G. in Section 1.5 to see the power of this approach in action

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Scientific Inference:How Biopsychologists Study the Unobservable

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Scientific Inference

  • science is a method of answering questions by direct observation; it is an empirical method

  • however, brain activity is not directly observable (e.g., one can’t see a neuron firing or neurochemicals being released from neurons)

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Scientific Inference

  • This situation is no different than that in the other sciences; e.g., physicists cannot see gravity, chemists cannot see evaporation; the effects of these processes are observable but not the processes themselves

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Scientific Inference

  • Question:How do scientists study the unobservable by a method that is fundamentally unobservable?

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Scientific Inference

  • Answer:By scientific inference; scientists observe the consequences of unobservable processes and from these they infer the nature of unobservable processes

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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Conclusions

Biopsychology and the Nobel Prize:

http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/nobel.html

Timeline of Neuroscience:

http://neurolab.jsc.nasa.gov/timeline.htm

Pinel's Biopsychology, 5th Ed.


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