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Biological Level of Analysis. Session 22 Module Revision. BLOA Learning Outcomes. General learning outcomes LO1: Outline principles that define the biological level of analysis LO2: Explain how principles that define the biological level of analysis may be demonstrated in research

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biological level of analysis

Biological Level of Analysis

Session 22 Module Revision

bloa learning outcomes
BLOA Learning Outcomes

General learning outcomes

  • LO1: Outline principles that define the biological level of analysis
  • LO2: Explain how principles that define the biological level of analysis may be demonstrated in research
  • LO3: Discuss how and why particular research methods are used at the biological level of analysis
  • LO4: Discuss ethical considerations related to research studies at the biological level of analysis.
bloa learning outcomes1
BLOA Learning Outcomes

Physiology and behaviour Learning Outcomes

  • LO5: Explain one study related to localization of function in the brain
  • LO6: Using one or more examples, explain effects of neurotransmission on human behaviour
  • LO7:Using one or more examples, explain functions of two hormones in human behaviour.
  • L08 Discuss two effects of the environment on physiological processes
  • LO9 Examine one interaction between cognition and physiology in terms of behaviour. Evaluate two relevant studies.
  • LO10 Discuss the use of brain imaging technologies in investigating the relationship between biological factors and behaviour.
bloa learning outcomes2
BLOA Learning Outcomes

Genetics and behaviour Learning Outcomes

  • L011: With reference to relevant research studies, to what extent does genetic inheritance influence behaviour?
  • LO12: Examine one evolutionary explanation of behaviour.
  • LO13: Discuss ethical considerations in research into genetic influences on behaviour.
slide5

Evaluating Studies

  • Methodological considerations
  • Alternative explanations
  • Gender considerations
  • Ethical considerations
  • Cultural considerations

Unit 2: Biological LOA

do do you believe in magec
Do Do you believe in MAGEC?
  • It is important not just to identify the consideration, but to clearly link it to either the study or the bigger question.
  • You need to explain WHY not just state strengths and limitations
  • E.G. The study was unethical BECAUSE....

Unit 2: Biological LOA

please note
Please note
  • The following slides are merely an overview of the BLOA
  • You need to revise in much more depth to perform well on exam
  • Any topics you are unsure of go back and read the full slides
lo1 outline principles that define the biological level of analysis
LO1: Outline principles that define the biological level of analysis
  • There are biological correlates of behaviour
  • Animal research can provide insight into behaviour
  • Human behaviouris, to some extent, genetically based

Unit 2: Biological LOA

lo1 outline principles that define the biological level of analysis1
LO1: Outline principles that define the biological level of analysis

1.) There are biological correlates of behaviour Physiological origins of behaviour

  • Implication is that it should be possible to link specific biological factor (e.g. a hormone) and a specific behaviour
  • Aim of researchers working at the biological level of analysis
  • Biological researchers often adopt a reductionist approach

Unit 2: Biological LOA

lo1 outline principles that define the biological level of analysis2
LO1: Outline principles that define the biological level of analysis

2.) Animal Research can provide insight into human behaviour

  • Significant amount of research at BLOA uses animals to study physiological processes
  • Assumed that most biological processes in animals are the same as humans
  • One important reason for using animals is that there is a lot of research where humans

cannot be used for ethical reasons

Unit 2: Biological LOA

lo1 outline principles that define the biological level of analysis3
LO1: Outline principles that define the biological level of analysis

3.) Human behaviour is, to some extent, genetically based

  • Behaviour can, to some extent, be explained by genetic inheritance
  • RARELY seen as full explanation
  • Genetic inheritance should be seen as genetic predisposition-can be affected by environmental factors
  • Researchers often use twin studies

Unit 2: Biological LOA

slide13

LO2: Explain how principles that define the biological level of analysis may be demonstrated in research

  • For this question you must include the outline of principles AND an example of research
slide14
LO2: Explain how principles that define the biological level of analysis may be demonstrated in research
  • There are biological correlates of behaviour
  • Animal research can provide insight into behaviour
  • Human behaviouris, to some extent, genetically based

Research to demonstrate it??

Unit 2: Biological LOA

slide15

LO2: Explain how principles that define the biological level of analysis may be demonstrated in research1.) There are biological correlates of behaviour

Newcomer et al. (1999)

  • Performed experiment on the role of stress hormone cortisol on verbal declarative memory
  • Group 1 showed worst performance on memory task
  • Shows increase in cortisol has a negative effect on memory

Unit 2: Biological LOA

slide16

LO2: Explain how principles that define the biological level of analysis may be demonstrated in research1.) There are biological correlates of behaviour

  • Phineas Gage
  • Shows there are biological correlates of behavior (after his frontal lobe was damaged his personality changed

Unit 2: Biological LOA

slide17

LO2: Explain how principles that define the biological level of analysis may be demonstrated in research2.) Animal Research can provide insight into human behaviour

Rozenweig and Bennet (1972)

  • Wanted to study role of environmental factors on brain plasticity with rats
  • Rats spent up to 60 days in their respective environments before being killed
  • Brains of rats in group 1 showed a thicker layer of neurons in the cortex than group 2
  • Shows that brain grows more neurons if stimulated

Unit 2: Biological LOA

slide18

LO2: Explain how principles that define the biological level of analysis may be demonstrated in research3.) Human behaviour is, to some extent, genetically based

Bouchard et al. (1990)

  • Minnesota Twin Study
  • Longitudinal study investigating role of genes in IQ**
  • Shows a link between genetic inheritance and intelligence but does not rule out the role of environment

Unit 2: Biological LOA

slide19

LO3: Discuss how and why particular research methods are used at the biological level of analysis

lo3 discuss how and why particular research methods are used at the biological level of analysis
LO3: Discuss how and why particular research methods are used at the biological level of analysis
  • BLOA research looks at physiology and genes and their effect on behaviour
  • At the BLOA the main research methods used are experiments and case studies. 
  • Twin studies, adoption studies and family studies are also used to investigate relationship between genes and behaviour
  • Brain imaging technology used to map brain activity
lo3 discuss how and why particular research methods are used at the biological level of analysis1
LO3: Discuss how and why particular research methods are used at the biological level of analysis

Lab experiments e.g. Rozenweig and Bennett (1972)

Describe what lab experiment is and provide example

Strengths

  • Can be repeated, results tend to be more reliable
  • Controlled environment, removes confounding variable
  • Isolation of IV and DV give a clear cause and effect relationship
  • Can always be generalised to a certain extent
  • Data easily measured

Weaknesses of Experiment

  • Lab environment, low in ecological validity
  • May break ethical guidelines
  • Lower generalising potential
  • [Natural experiment] No control over variables, unpredictable
  • Possibility of Demand characteristics
lo3 discuss how and why particular research methods are used at the biological level of analysis2
LO3: Discuss how and why particular research methods are used at the biological level of analysis

Case Studies: e.g. H.M. Phineas Gage, Clive Wearing, Genie

Describe what a case study is and provide an example

Strengths

  • Unique studies that would otherwise be unethical to do e.g. Genie
  • Less likelihood to break ethical guidelines
  • Insight into certain areas of psychology that would otherwise be difficult to study
  • Often leads to in depth data e.g. H.M for 50 years
  • High ecological validity

Weaknesses

  • Low potential to generalise
  • Since it cannot be repeated, results might be unreliable
lo3 discuss how and why particular research methods are used at the biological level of analysis3
LO3: Discuss how and why particular research methods are used at the biological level of analysis

Twin Studies e.g. Bouchard et al (1990)

Describe method of twin studies and provide example

Strengths

  • Twin studies have produced a great deal of data in support of biological roots of disorders; this has helped psychologists to stress prevention for those who are vulnerable to such disorders.
  • There is a high cross-cultural reliability of concordance levels

Weaknesses

  • MZ twins are rarely separated at birth and raised in a totally different environment, yet this is really necessary to substantiate claims. MZ twins reared together share many of the same experiences. DZ twins reared together may not share the same experiences due to levels of attractiveness or temperament.
lo3 discuss how and why particular research methods are used at the biological level of analysis4
LO3: Discuss how and why particular research methods are used at the biological level of analysis

Adoption Studies e.g. Horn et al (1979)

Describe method of adoption studies and provide example

Strengths

  • Adoption studies allow researchers to isolate variables.
  • If a biological mother has no contact since birth and still matches for a specific trait - for example, the adopted child’s IQ is better than the adoptive mother and in concordance with the birth mother - this is strong evidence that genes play a significant role in the development of this trait

Weaknesses

  • Selective placement is a problem. Babies tend to placed with families similar in background to the natural parents.
  • Adopted children – as well as twins - are not representative of all children.
  • The act of being given up for adoption may affect the child’s behaviour.
slide25

LO4: Discuss ethical considerations related to research studies at the biological level of analysis.

lo4 discuss ethical considerations related to research studies at the biological level of analysis
LO4: Discuss ethical considerations related to research studies at the biological level of analysis.

Can

Do

Can’t

Do

With

Participants

lo4 discuss ethical considerations related to research studies at the biological level of analysis1
LO4: Discuss ethical considerations related to research studies at the biological level of analysis.

Confidentiality

Deception

Consent

Debrief

Withdrawal

Protection

lo4 discuss ethical considerations related to research studies at the biological level of analysis2
LO4: Discuss ethical considerations related to research studies at the biological level of analysis.
  • Ethical considerations=standards set to prevent experiments from harming the participants.
  • Before performing an experiment, researchers must consider what is appropriate to do to the experiments in a study.
  • All research needs to be conducted in a way that respects the dignity of the participants, whether they are humans or animals
  • Sometimes a need to break guidelines
  • For research purposes, where there are no other feasible methods
  • Demand characteristics (mostly with Deception)
  • Cues in an experiment that tells participants what behaviour is expected
lo4 discuss ethical considerations related to research studies at the biological level of analysis3
LO4: Discuss ethical considerations related to research studies at the biological level of analysis.
  • Informed consent – participants must be informed about the study and its procedure and give their formal agreement to participate. This can be done by use of a contract or other document.
  • Deception – sometimes deception is necessary because if the participants knew the true nature of the experiment, it could affect the results. In general, deception should not be used. However, if it is used, it must be used with discretion and must not cause any stress to the participants. If used, the necessity of deception must also be explained to the participants during the debriefing. 
  • Confidentiality – all information obtained in a study must be kept confidential. In most situations, all participants must remain anonymous.
  • Debrief: Participants must be debriefed as to true purpose of study at the end of it.
  • Withdrawal from a study – participants must be made aware that they have the right to withdraw from the experiment at any time or revoke their individual data at the end of the study if they wish.
  • Protection from physical and mental harm – it is unethical for a researcher to perform an experiment that in any way harms, demeans, embarrasses, or stresses a participant, or forces them to reveal private information.
slide30

LO4: Discuss ethical considerations related to research studies at the biological level of analysis. Studies at BLOA with ethical considerations

Rosenzweig and Bennett (1972) 

  • Rats were euthanized to study their brains-cruelty?
  • Didn’t use humans so ethical 
  • But the research provided significant benefit to the understanding of the effects of the environment on brain plasticity . This knowledge could benefit humans and other animals 

Case study of H.M

  • Informed consent issues
  • His identity was kept confidential until death
  • Ends justify means? Learnt a lot about memory systems

Case study of Genie

  • Ethical to study child who has been abused so much?
  • Consent issues?

Twin Studies

  • Ethical considerations on how twins raised apart are reunited
lo4 discuss ethical considerations related to research studies at the biological level of analysis4
LO4: Discuss ethical considerations related to research studies at the biological level of analysis.

Ethical Debate:

  • Use of PET scans and fMRI scans has helped psychologists identify brain patterns for dysfunctional behaviours (there is one for alcoholism, schizophrenia, depression, etc.)
  • These patterns are present even if the individual does not show any signs of the disorder.
  • Should doctors scan patients to let them know if they have a predisposition (the brain pattern) for a mental disorder? How would this affect the individual?

1. YES – doctors should inform the patients that their brain scans match that of a mental disorder, even if that person does not show any symptoms of the disorder. It would give the individual the signal to monitor themselves and their own behaviour in case that disorder really does manifest itself within them. As soon as any symptoms arrive, they will know to seek medical or psychological attention immediately. Ethically, individuals should have the right to know what conditions they are at risk for, so that they can be aware and prepare themselves for the future.

2. NO – the doctors should not inform their patients that their brain scans match that of a mental disorder. This would only add stress to the individual and may escalate them into their predisposed condition, especially if that condition is something like depression. If no symptoms are present, it is unethical to concern someone with a potential disorder that does not even exist.

lo5 explain one study related to localization of function in the brain localisation
LO5: Explain one study related to localization of function in the brain Localisation?
  • When a behaviour is localised in the brain, it is possible to trace the origin of a behaviour to a specific part of the brain
  • Studies in localisation of function led to the desire to map out the brain’s functions

Unit 2: Biological LOA

lo5 explain one study related to localization of function in the brain
LO5: Explain one study related to localization of function in the brain
  • Paul Broca (1861) Found that people suffering from damage to their left frontal lobe of the brain were unable to make grammatically complex sentences.
  • This condition is now known as Broca’s aphasia
  • Case study of Tan used as evidence

Unit 2: Biological LOA

lo5 explain one study related to localization of function in the brain carl wernicke 1874
LO5: Explain one study related to localization of function in the brain Carl Wernicke (1874)
  • First described the area that appears to be crucial for language comprehension
  • The left posterior superior temporal gyrus
  • Wernicke’s patients could produce speech, but could not understand it
  • This condition is known as Wernicke’s aphasia

Unit 2: Biological LOA

lo5 explain one study related to localization of function in the brain broca and wernicke
LO5: Explain one study related to localization of function in the brain Broca and Wernicke
  • Research undertaken by Broca and Wernicke provides us with a clear understanding of some of the factors involved in language processing
  • By carrying out post-mortem studies of people who had suffered from strokes, they came to the conclusion that language processing is localised

Unit 2: Biological LOA

lo5explain one study related to localization of function in the brain the case study of h m
LO5Explain one study related to localization of function in the brain The case study of H.M.
  • Milner (1957) first to report case
  • H.M. had anterograde amnesia (failure to store memories that happened AFTER trauma)
  • Corkin et al. (1997) MRI scan of H.M.’s brain
  • Brain imaging allowed researchers to get a precise image of the brain damage i.e. hippocampus
  • Important: provided evidence that there are different memory systems in the brain

Unit 2: Biological LOA

slide38
LO5Explain one study related to localization of function in the brain What can be learned about localisation of brain from H.M.
  • Hippocampus plays a critical role in converting memories from short-term to long-term memory
  • H.M. had deficits in one part of the memory but not in others is evidence that the brain has several memory systems supported by distinct brain regions
  • H.M. could learn new procedural memories which indicates that these memories are not stored via the hippocampus
  • Shows memory processes are much more complex than originally believed
  • Although hippocampus is very important in the storage of new memories it is not the only part of the brain involved in the process

= Localised parts for different memory systems

Unit 2: Biological LOA

lo5explain one study related to localization of function in the brain evaluation of h m
LO5Explain one study related to localization of function in the brain Evaluation of H.M.
  • Ethics: memory to give consent?
  • Participated in research for 50+ years in many kinds of tests including cognitive tasks, observations and neuroimaging studies
  • Longitudinal case study has contributed enormously to knowledge of how memory processes are related to specific areas of the brain:
    • The hippocampus is important for the forming, organising and retrieval of memories
    • Procedural memories are not processed by the hippocampus
  • Case study it is questionable whether the results can be generalised to a larger population

HOWEVER...

  • Findings from other case studies of people with brain damage like H.M. tend to support these findings so it may be possible to generalise the findings to some extent.

Unit 2: Biological LOA

slide40

L06: Using one or more examples, explain effects of neurotransmission on human behaviour

Examples of neurotransmitters??

l06 using one or more examples explain effects of neurotransmission on human behaviour
L06: Using one or more examples, explain effects of neurotransmission on human behaviour
  • Neurotransmitter= body’s natural chemical messengers
  • Transmits info from one neuron to another
  • Our chemical balances/imbalances correlate to specific human behaviors
  • Higher or lower levels of certain neurotransmitters and/or can lead to changes in behavior
  • These associations are merely correlations, and do not necessarily demonstrate any cause and effect relationship.
  • We don’t know what other variables may be affecting both the neurotransmitter and the behaviour
  • E.G. We don’t know if the change in the neurotransmitter causes the illness, or the illness causes the change in the neurotransmitter.

Unit 2: Biological LOA

slide43

Sleep

Serotonin

Mood

Undersupply linked to OCD, depression, suicide

Unit 2: Biological LOA

slide44
L06: Using one or more examples, explain effects of neurotransmission on humanKasamatsu and Hirai (1999)
  • Aim: see how sensory deprivation affects brain
  • Studied group of Buddhist monks who went on a 72 hour pilgrimage to a holy mountain
  • Monks didn’t consume food or water, did not speak
  • After 48 hours monks had hallucinations often seeing ancient ancestors or feeling a ‘presence’ by their side
  • Researchers took blood samples before monks ascended mountain and again immediately after monks reported hallucinations
  • Found serotonin levels had increased in monks’ brains

Unit 2: Biological LOA

slide45
L06: Using one or more examples, explain effects of neurotransmission on human behaviourKasamatsu and Hirai (1999)
  • These higher levels of serotonin activated parts of brain resulting in hallucinations
  • Concluded sensory deprivation triggered the release of serotonin which actually altered way that monks experienced the world

Evaluation

  • Study on very small group of people who are different to most hard to generalise
  • Monks on a pilgrimage- beliefs may be responsible for hallucinations

Do NOT use this as your only example. Use it to showcase your critical thinking abilities

Unit 2: Biological LOA

slide47

Muscle action

Memory

Acetylcholine

Undersupply linked to Alzheimer’s

Unit 2: Biological LOA

slide48
L06: Using one or more examples, explain effects of neurotransmission on human behaviourMartinez and Kesner (1991)
  • Aim: to determine role of neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh) on memory formation
  • Procedure: Experimental study using rats. Rats trained to run a maze.
  • Group 1: problems finding way through maze & made more mistakes
  • Group 2: ran quickly through maze & made few mistakes. Quicker than control group.
  • ACh linked to memory formation

Unit 2: Biological LOA

slide49
L06: Using one or more examples, explain effects of neurotransmission on human behaviourEvaluation of Martinez and Kesner (1991)
  • Controlled lab experiment with control group- can establish cause & effect between ACh and memory
  • Questionable whether can generalise findings to humans.
  • HOWEVER, research has shown ACh producing cells are damaged in early stages of Alzheimer’s

Unit 2: Biological LOA

slide51

Movement

Dopamine

Addiction

Feelings of Pleasure

Excess linked to Schizophrenia

Unit 2: Biological LOA

dopamine hypothesis

L06: Using one or more examples, explain effects of neurotransmission on human behaviour

Dopamine Hypothesis
  • Symptoms of schizophrenia include hallucinations, delusions, thought disturbances
  • Associated with increased activity at dopamine receptor sites
  • Antipsychotic (treatment) reduce increased dopamine activity.
  • Hypothesis based on accidental findings based on drugs that increase/decrease dopamine activity and reduce/exacerbate schizophrenia

Examples

  • Amphetamines and cocaine, which trigger release of dopamine have been found to exacerbate the psychotic symptoms in schizophrenia.
  • Another accidental finding is that a drugs which block dopamine function, such as chlorpromazine reduce psychotic symptoms.
evaluation dopamine hypothesis

L06: Using one or more examples, explain effects of neurotransmission on human behaviour

Evaluation Dopamine Hypothesis
  • Evidence= correlational- no cause and effect evidence. Could be that schizophrenia has caused the abnormal chemical levels rather than the other way around.
  • Theories are not based on individual laboratory tests.
  • Chlorpromazine only stops some symptoms of schizophrenia such as hallucinations and delusions.
  • Furthermore Chlorpromazine makes little or no difference to 30% of schizophrenics. DOPAMINE can’t be only cause.
  • Drugs have their effect on the brain almost immediately, but take weeks to affect behaviour of the patients. Hypothesis is unable to explain this delay.
slide54
L06: Using one or more examples, explain effects of neurotransmission on human behaviour Evaluation of NTS on behaviour
  • Practical application of neurotransmitter research has improved the lives of many people suffering with NTS related disorders: Drugs have been developed to either stimulate the neurotransmitter if there’s not enough or block the site if it is excessive Has been criticised of reducing explanations of behaviour to workings of neurotransmitter alone (reductionist)
  • Can a complex human behaviour like attraction to a potential partner be attributed solely to dopamine? Can mood be simply attributed to serotonin levels?
  • Psychologists consider that neurotransmitters play a role but do NOT solely rely on neurotransmission on behaviour
slide55

Can you remember the difference

Between neurotransmitters and hormones?

hormones and neurotransmitters
Hormones and Neurotransmitters

Neurotransmitter: A chemical in the synapse that transmits signals between neurons

Hormone: A chemical secreted by an endocrine gland. Travels through the bloodstream. Usually involved in longterm functioning of the body.

slide58

LO7: Explain, using examples, functions of two hormones in human behaviour

  • Hormones are chemicals that affect behavior.
  • They are produced by the glands that make up the endocrine system
  • Hormones are a contributingfactor to behavior.
  • No modern psychologist suggests that hormones are the only factor explaining human behavior.
    • Oxytocin
    • Melatonin
    • Cortisol
lo7 explain using examples functions of two hormones in human behaviour oxytocin
LO7: Explain, using examples, functions of two hormones in human behaviourOxytocin
  • Plays role inducing labour & lactation
  • Released with touches & hugs
  • Associated with bonding between mother & child and bonding between lovers
  • Oxytocin linked to trusting other people
  • Experimental manipulation of oxytocin levels has shown increase in trust
  • Suggested trust has an

evolutionary basis

slide60
LO7: Explain, using examples, functions of two hormones in human behaviourOxytocin & Trust: Baumgartner et al. (2008)

Aim: Investigate role of oxytocin after breaches of trust in a trust game

Procedure:

  • Participants played trust game
  • The “investor” (player 1) receives a sum of money and must decide whether to keep it or share it with a “trustee” (player 2). If sum is shared sum is tripled. Then player 2 (trustee) must decide if this sum should be shared (trust) or kept (violation of trust)
  • fMRI scans were also carried out on participants
  • Participants received either oxytocin or placebo via a nasal spray
  • In 50% of games trust was broken
  • They received feedback on this from experimenters during the games
slide61
LO7: Explain, using examples, functions of two hormones in human behaviour? Evaluation: Baumgartner et al. (2008)
  • Oxytocin could explain why people are able to restore trust and forgive in long term relationships
  • fMRI research merely mapping brain activity but nothing definite can be said about what it really means with current technology
  • Giving oxytocin like this in an experiment may not reflect natural physiological processes. Function of oxytocin=very complex and too simplistic to say it’s the “trust hormone”
lo7 explain using examples functions of two hormones in human behaviour melatonin
LO7: Explain, using examples, functions of two hormones in human behaviourMelatonin
  • Production of melatonin by pineal gland is stimulated by darkness and inhibited by light
  • Melatonin release correlates with the circadian rhythm (the biological clock that is based on a 24 hour day/night cycle)
  • It is suggested that taking melatonin in the early evening may improve one’s ability to fall asleep
  • Through study of melatonin researchers hope to find a solution for those who suffer from insomnia and jet lag
lo7 explain using examples functions of two hormones in human behaviour melatonin sad
LO7: Explain, using examples, functions of two hormones in human behaviourMelatonin & SAD

Rosenthal (1987)

  • Evidence suggests higher levels of melatonin contribute to seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  • SAD= subcategory of depression characterised by sleepiness, cravings for carbs & lethargy
  • Reduced levels of sunlight in winter believed to disrupt circadian rhythm leading to this depression
lo7 explain using examples functions of two hormones in human behaviour melatonin sad evaluation
LO7: Explain, using examples, functions of two hormones in human behaviourMelatonin & SAD Evaluation
  • As increased sunlight improves the symptoms, phototherapy (prolonged exposure to bright light) often main treatment for people with SAD
  • Despite some claims success, there is lack of definitive evidence of its effectiveness
  • One has to be careful about seeking quick

solutions to complex questions

lo7 explain using examples functions of two hormones in human behaviour cortisol
LO7: Explain, using examples, functions of two hormones in human behaviourCortisol
  • Produced by the adrenal cortex in response to stress to restore homeostasis (the body’s normal balance)
  • Chronic stress may result in prolonged cortisol secretion.
  • Can result in physiological changes such as damaged immune system and impairment of learning and memory
  • This is because high amounts of cortisol results in deterioration of the hippocampus (Sapolsky, 1996)
slide66
LO7: Explain, using examples, functions of two hormones in human behaviourCortisol: Newcomer et al (1999)

N.B. Also used as example for principle of BLOA “there are biological correlates of behaviour

  • Aim: To investigate how levels of stress hormone cortisol interfere with verbal declarative memory
  • Design: Randomised, controlled, double blind experiment that ran for four days
  • Participants: self selected sample (recruited through advertisement) of 51 normal & healthy people aged 18-30
slide67
LO7: Explain, using examples, functions of two hormones in human behaviourCortisol: Newcomer et al (1999)
  • Participants listened to a prose paragraph and had to recall is as a test of verbal declarative memory
  • Group 1 showed worst performance on task
  • Group 2 showed no memory decrease
  • Shows that an increase in cortisol has a negative effect on memory
slide68
LO7: Explain, using examples, functions of two hormones in human behaviourEvaluation of Newcomer et al (1999)
  • Controlled randomised experiment so possible to establish cause and effect relationship between levels of cortisol and scores on verbal declarative memory test
  • The negative effects of taking cortisol was reversible so no harm was done
slide69

L08 Discuss two effects of the environment on physiological processes

What were the two environmental effects we used??

l08 discuss two effects of the environment on physiological processes
L08: Discuss two effects of the environment on physiological processes
  • Environmental effects on brain plasticity
  • Environmental stressors and physiological processes
slide71
L08: Discuss two effects of the environment on physiological processes 1. Environmental effects on brain plasticity
  • Brain plasticity =brain\'s ability to change as a result of experience.
  • Experiences are processed in the brain’s nervous system, and stimulating environments will result in increased numbers of synapses (brain plasticity).
  • Environmental stimulation refers to the way the environment provides stimulation in the form of social interaction and learning opportunities for animals and humans.
  • Enriched environment=multiple opportunities to learn new things.
  • Researchers used animal models to study synaptic changes in the brain because it is not possible to use humans in deprivation experiments.
rosenzweig bennett 1972
Rosenzweig & Bennett (1972)

L08: Discuss two effects of the environment on physiological processes

1. Environmental effects on brain plasticity

  • 60 days stimulating environment vs control
  • Findings: Post mortem studies of rats´ brains showed that those that had been in a stimulating environment had an increased thickness in the cortex.
evaluation of rosenzweig bennett 1972
Evaluation of Rosenzweig & Bennett (1972)

L08: Discuss two effects of the environment on physiological processes

1. Environmental effects on brain plasticity

  • Rigorously controlled laboratory= possible to establish a cause-effect relationship.
  • Research challenged the belief that brain weight cannot change= important finding.
  • Ethical issues?
    • BUT results contributed to better understanding of the role of environmental factors in brain plasticity it can be argued that the research was justified in spite of the ethical issues.
  • Can we really generalise results from animal studies to humans?
slide74

L08: Discuss two effects of the environment on physiological processes

  • 1. Environmental effects on brain plasticity

Case studies of neglected children are used to look at environmental effects on brain plasticity

Perry (1997)

  • Brain scans of three year olds who had a normal upbringing and those who were severely neglected
  • Found differences in brain size and development
slide75

L08: Discuss two effects of the environment on physiological processes

  • 1. Environmental effects on brain plasticity

Curtis (1977) Case study of Genie

  • Neglected until found at the age of 11.
  • Although tests showed that she was highly intelligent, her language abilities never progressed beyond those of a third grader.
  • Suggested by some that environmental deprivation led to permanent effects on development of brain and thus abilities
evaluation of genie case study

L08: Discuss two effects of the environment on physiological processes

  • 1. Environmental effects on brain plasticity
Evaluation of Genie Case Study
  • Could have practical applications for treating other cases
  • 1 person not generalisable; personal brain structure & no control on variables.
  • Later studies show critical periods favourable to behaviour but plasticity throughout life (Gage 2002).
  • Other neglected children have been able to develop language
  • Ethical issues???
slide77
L08: Discuss two effects of the environment on physiological processes 2. Environmental Stressors and Physiological Processes
  • Environmental stressor= any stimulus from environment that affects the condition of someone and may cause abnormality in their physiological responses.  
  • E.g. toxins, viruses, drugs, noise, temperature, traumas, abuse, workplace stress and life events such as relationships, jobs and school.
  • Some research to show environmental stressors can lead to physiological changes
slide78

L08: Discuss two effects of the environment on physiological processes 2. Environmental Stressors and Physiological Processes

Bremner et al (2003) Stress & PTSD

  • Aim: Measure volume of hippocampus based on the theory that prolonged stress may reduce the volume of the hippocampus due to increased cortisol levels.
  • Procedure: MRI scans of the brains of the participants and participants completed memory tests
  • Participants= veterans and female adults who had experienced early childhood sexual abuse. Some had developed PTSD, but not all.
  • Results: found deficits in short-term memory and that the hippocampus was smaller in PTSD patients than in a control group. The veterans with most memory problems 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. STRESSFUL EVENT LED TO SMALLER HIPPOCAMPUS
slide79

L08: Discuss two effects of the environment on physiological processes 2. Environmental Stressors and Physiological Processes

Bremner et al (2003) Evaluation

  • The sample=very small so it is difficult to say anything definite about relationship between trauma and hippocampal volume.
  • Could be alternative explanations to differences in hippocampal volume (e.g. that people who suffer from PTSD often suffer from depression as well). Depression is also associated with reduction of the hippocampus.
  • findings of a large reduction of hippocampal volume in combat-related PTSD has been replicated many times.
  • Understanding which parts of the brain may impact PTSD can lead to the development of better, more effective medications for the treatment of PTSD.
slide80

L08: Discuss two effects of the environment on physiological processes 2. Environmental Stressors and Physiological Processes

Kiecolt-Galser et al (1984) Exam Stress and Immune System

Aim: Investigate the stress from exams and its effect on the immune system.

Procedure:

  • 75 first year medical students (49 males, 26 females).
  • Blood samples were taken before and during exams.
  • Immune functioning was assessed by measuring the T-cell activity in the blood
  • Students given survey for self assessment on other psychological variables e.g. Loneliness

Results

  • Samples taken during exams= weaker immune system
  • Students that claimed that they felt lonely in the survey = more vulnerable immune system.

Conclusion:

  • Exam stress decreases the functionality of our immune system.
  • Immune functioning is also affected by psychological variables. These long term stressors may make individuals more vulnerable to the effect of short term stressors such as exams.
evaluation of kiecolt galser et al 1984

L08: Discuss two effects of the environment on physiological processes 2. Environmental Stressors and Physiological Processes

Evaluation of Kiecolt-Galser et al (1984)
  • Confounding variables: No control over other factors that might have affect immune system e.g. drugs, diet, sleep etc
  • Correlational study: cannot identify cause and effect relationship. Did stress cause sickness? Or did sickness cause stress?
  • Uses measurable, quantitative evidence (t cell blood count).
  • Unrepresentative sample (all medical students) and so the results cannot be generalised to other groups.
  • The study uses data that is open to interpretation (questionnaire)
slide82

LO9 Examine one interaction between cognition and physiology in terms of behaviour. Evaluate two relevant studies.

What cognitive process did we look at?

slide83

LO9 Examine one interaction between cognition and physiology in terms of behaviour. Evaluate two relevant studies.

Physiology (brain damage) and cognition (amnesia)

slide84

LO9: Examine one interaction between cognition and physiology in terms of behaviour. Evaluate two relevant studies.

Cognition?

  • Cognition= mental process of acquiring and processing knowledge and understanding through thought, experience and the senses.
  • Includes perception, attention, language, memory and thinking. 

Physiology?

  • Physiology is the internal, biological mechanisms of living organisms – the way the organism functions
slide85

LO9: Examine one interaction between cognition and physiology in terms of behaviour. Evaluate two relevant studies.

  • Amnesia = condition in which people lose their ability to memorize/recall information.
  • There is an interaction between biological and cognitive factors in amnesia

Amnesia can have a biological cause (e.g. brain damage) and affects cognition (e.g. memory)

    • Anterograde Amnesia
      • Impairment in ability to recall new information after onset 
      • Inability to form new memories 
      • Antero = new 
    • Retrograde Amnesia 
      • Impairment in ability to recall old

information before the onset 

      • Inability to recall old memories 
      • Retro = old 
slide86

LO9: Examine one interaction between cognition and physiology in terms of behaviour. Evaluate two relevant studies.

Study 1: Milner (1957) H.M

  • HM had anterograde amnesia – unable to create new memories .
  • MRI Scan Results (Corkin, 1997) – Brain damage was pervasive and included the hippocampus, the amygdala, and other areas close to the hippocampus. 

Conclusion: 

  • The hippocampus is needed for memories to be transferred to long-term memory. 

Connection to question

  • Case of HM reveals the interaction of cognition (memory) and physiology (brain damage in the hippocampus) in amnesia.
    • Brain damage in relevant areas caused memory impairment
    • Study suggests that certain brain regions are responsible

for the cognitive process of memory

slide87

LO9: Examine one interaction between cognition and physiology in terms of behaviour. Evaluate two relevant studies.

H.M Case study evaluation

slide88

LO9: Examine one interaction between cognition and physiology in terms of behaviour. Evaluate two relevant studies.

Study 2: Sacks (2007) Clive Wearing

  • Clive Wearing-viral infection (encephalitis) left with serious brain damage in the hippocampus (biological cause), which caused memory impairment (effect on cognition) 
  • He suffered from anterograde and retrograde amnesia 
  • Could not transfer information from STM to LTM. 
  • MRI scans of Wearing’s brain showed damage to the hippocampus and some of the frontal regions. 

Conclusion: 

  • The case of Clive Wearing provides insight into the biological foundation of different memory systems, which is a cognitive process. 
  • Highlights interaction between cognition and physiology as establishes the link by illustrating the effect of physiological causes in the brain (brain damage occurring in hippocampus region, on the social and cognitive interactions of the individual
slide89

LO9: Examine one interaction between cognition and physiology in terms of behaviour. Evaluate two relevant studies.

Evaluation of Clive Wearing Case study

slide90
LO9: Examine one interaction between cognition and physiology in terms of behaviour. Evaluate two relevant studies.Conclusions?
  • In amnesia patients, damage to certain brain areas impairs patients\' memory, therefore supporting the idea of the interaction between the physiology (of the brain) and cognition (of memory) in amnesia.
  • Therefore, amnesia has a bidirectional relationship between its physiological cause occurring in the brain and the cognitive process of memory.
slide91

LO10: Discuss the use of brain imaging technologies in investigating the relationship between biological factors and behaviour.

Can you name two brain imaging technologies?

slide92

LO10: Discuss the use of brain imaging technologies in investigating the relationship between biological factors and behaviour.

  • Modern technology extensively used in neuropsychology
  • Allows researchers to:
    • Study active brain
    • See where specific brain processes take place
    • Enables localisation of function in LIVING brain
  • Modern researchers use brain imaging techniques to investigate relationship between behaviour and brain structures

1. Electroencephalogram (EEG)

2. Positron Emission Topography (PET)

3. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

4. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI)

electroencephalogram eeg

LO10: Discuss the use of brain imaging technologies in investigating the relationship between biological factors and behaviour.

Electroencephalogram (EEG)
  • Image often thought of as ‘brain waves’
  • When neurons transport information through the brain, they have an electrical charge
  • Registers patterns of voltage change in the brain
  • Psychologists have gained better understanding of behaviours as diverse as sleep, emotions & epilepsy
  • Provides limited information- cannot reveal what’s happening in deeper brain regions; nor can it show actual

functioning of brain

positron emission topography pet

LO10: Discuss the use of brain imaging technologies in investigating the relationship between biological factors and behaviour.

Positron Emission Topography (PET)
  • Monitors glucose metabolism in brain
  • Patient injected with harmless dose of radioactive glucose
  • Radioactive particles

detected by PET scanner

  • Used to diagnose

abnormalities like tumors,

Alzheimer’s,

schizophrenia etc

magnetic resonance imaging mri

LO10: Discuss the use of brain imaging technologies in investigating the relationship between biological factors and behaviour.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Uses magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of body. 
  • Gives detailed pictures of internal structures in brain
ashtari et al 2009 mri marijuana
Ashtari et al (2009): MRI & marijuana

LO10: Discuss the use of brain imaging technologies in investigating the relationship between biological factors and behaviour.

  • Used MRI to investigate whether substance abuse (marijuana) can damage developing brain of young adults
  • Scan indicated there were brain abnormalities in frontal, parietal and temporal regions in brain of marijuana users
  • Development of white matter (myelin) was affected could explain slow information processing in brain
  • Concluded early marijuana use can affect brain development but as study gives correlational data more research is needed
where have we already seen use of mri

LO10: Discuss the use of brain imaging technologies in investigating the relationship between biological factors and behaviour.

Where have we already seen use of MRI?

Case study of H.M.

  • Corkin et al (1997) did MRI scan of H.M’s brain which allowed for precise picture of brain damage. Confirmed that hippocampus was missing- able to link to memory.
evaluation of magnetic resonance imaging

LO10: Discuss the use of brain imaging technologies in investigating the relationship between biological factors and behaviour.

Evaluation of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • MRI scans show how blood flows in brain and can be used to identify problems with blood circulation. Can be used for early detection of Alzheimer’s
  • Safe to use-no radioactive material is used
  • Scanner not a natural environment for cognition- ecological validity?
  • Very expensive
  • Movement may affect images
  • Cannot say anything about cause and effect relationships, only provide correlational data
functional magnetic resonance imaging fmri

LO10: Discuss the use of brain imaging technologies in investigating the relationship between biological factors and behaviour.

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI)
  • Scanner measures changes in blood flow in active brain
  • Blood flow associated with use of oxygen and neural activity during information processing
  • When participants are asked to perform a task, scientists can observe the part of the brain that corresponds with that function
  • Use increased vastly over past ten years and now widely used by cognitive neuroscientists
harris and fiske 2006 fmri and prejudice

LO10: Discuss the use of brain imaging technologies in investigating the relationship between biological factors and behaviour.

Harris and Fiske (2006): fMRI and prejudice
  • Aimed to find biological correlates of stereotypes and prejudice
  • Studied brain processes as a response to extreme outgroups
  • Scanned students’ while watching pictures of different humans or objects
  • Predicted that prefrontal cortex would be active when students looked at humans but not objects
  • This was found EXCEPT when students looked at pictures of extreme outgroups e.g. Homeless and addicts
  • Brain regions linked to disgust were then activated and there was no activity in prefrontal cortex
  • Concluded this indicated a dehumanisation of outgroups. These groups apparently viewed as ‘disgusting objects’ rather than people
where have we seen fmri before

LO10: Discuss the use of brain imaging technologies in investigating the relationship between biological factors and behaviour.

Where have we seen fMRI before?

Baumgartner et al (2008) Oxytocin and Trust

  • fMRI scans carried out on participants
  • In oxytocin group cans showed decreases in responses in amygdala (involved in emotional processing) and caudate nucleus (involved in learning to trust)
  • Explanation for behaviour in trust game
evaluation of functional magnetic resonance imaging

LO10: Discuss the use of brain imaging technologies in investigating the relationship between biological factors and behaviour.

Evaluation of Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • One of most frequently used technologies in biopsychological research today
  • Shows actual brain activity and indicates which areas of brain are active
  • Scans have higher resolution than PET scans and are easier to carry out
  • Does not use radioactive substances
  • Can record activity in all regions of brain
  • Focus mostly on localised functioning in brain and does not take into account the distributed nature of processing in neural networks
  • Results are correlational so not possible to establish cause and effect relationships
  • Scanner not a natural environment for cognition- question of ecological validity
  • Brain areas activate for different reasons- e.g. Just because amygdala lights up does not necessarily mean fear is the response being observed
slide103

L011: With reference to relevant research studies, to what extent does genetic inheritance influence behaviour?

slide104

L011: With reference to relevant research studies, to what extent does genetic inheritance influence behaviour?

  • State what you are doing in the essay:
    • Essay will attempt to consider the merits or otherwise of the influence of genetic inheritance on behaviour. 
  • Outline the overarching principle: 
    • According to 3rd principle of BLOA, behaviour is innate and inherited because it is genetically based (we are predisposed to a specific behaviour due to genetics).
slide105

L011: With reference to relevant research studies, to what extent does genetic inheritance influence behaviour?

  • Genetics and the importance of research into genetics:
    • Argued that people have a genetic predisposition.
    • Genes=segments of DNA inherited by the offspring from the parent.
    • Behavioural Genetics= understanding of how genetics and environment contribute to individual variations in human behaviour, where the premise is that inheritance of DNA influences behaviour.
    • But genetics alone does not affect behaviour- environmental factors
    • Genes=complex 
      • Unlikely that single gene is responsible for complex behaviours
slide106
L011: With reference to relevant research studies, to what extent does genetic inheritance influence behaviour?
  • Type of studies used in genetic research
    • Twin studies 
        • study the correlation between genetic inheritance and behaviour due to the common genetics shared by twins.
        • Monozygotic twins (MZ) identical - share 100% genetic material.
        • Dizygotic twins (DZ) fraternal - share 50% genetic material. 
        • Usually further explored, by studying the twins either separated or together to make a correlation of their behaviour. 
    • Adoption studies 
      • Allow researchers to study the comparison between genetic and environmental influence on behaviour.
      • Adopted children share no genes with their adoptive parents but 50% of genes with their biological parents. 
    • Family studies
      • Study behaviour between family members who have similar genetics to different degrees. Inheritance 
slide107

L011: With reference to relevant research studies, to what extent does genetic inheritance influence behaviour?

  • Outline behaviour you are looking at: Intelligence
    • Intelligence = aspect of behaviour studied in relation to genetics.
    • Questioned whether intelligence was attributed to genetic or environmental factors. Intelligence is difficult to define
    • IQ tests developed to measure of intelligence and are used in much psychological research. 
slide108

L011: With reference to relevant research studies, to what extent does genetic inheritance influence behaviour?

Bouchard and McGue (1981)

  • Conducted meta-analysis of 111 studies of siblings.
  • Investigated IQ correlations between siblings.
  • Positive correlation between kinship and IQ correlation - the closer the siblings were, the more similar their IQ.

Evaluation

    • Large study= generalisable.
    • Siblings are raised in the same environment, so influence may not be purely genetic,
    • The further apart the siblings in age, the less correlated their IQs were-suggests environment

In order to investigate the role of genetics by itself, identical twins that are raised separately from birth must be studied. Identical twins have a 100% genetic relationship, but if raised in separate environments, any similarity (beyond that expected by chance) in IQ must be due to similarity in genetics.

slide109

L011: With reference to relevant research studies, to what extent does genetic inheritance influence behaviour?

Bouchard et al. (1990) - Minnesota Twin Study

  • Conducted longitudinal study since 1979, comparing MZA twins to MZT twins in terms of intelligence (MZA - monozygotic raised apart, MZT - monozygotic raised together)
  • Each twin completed 50 hours of testing
  • Cross cultural study, using participants from all over world.
  • Concordance Rates of intelligence
  • Bouchard et al. concluded a heritability estimate of 70% - 70% of intelligence can be attributed to genetic inheritance. 30% attributed to other factors.
slide110

L011: With reference to relevant research studies, to what extent does genetic inheritance influence behaviour?

Bouchard et al. (1990) - Minnesota Twin Study

  • Concordance rate between twins shows that their behaviour was affected mostly (70%) by genetics, rather than the environment, where the other 30% may be attributed to other factors in the surrounding environment. 

Evaluation

  • Size of the study means it is more generalisable
  • Nature of sample - cross cultural
  • Mean age of participants 41 years, as opposed to previous studies with adolescents
  • Relied on media coverage to recruit participants
  • Ethical concerns with the way twins were reunited
  • Frequency of contact between twins prior to study not controlled.
  • \'Equal environment assumption\' - twins reared together may not have experienced the same environment.
slide111

L011: With reference to relevant research studies, to what extent does genetic inheritance influence behaviour?

Horn et al. (1979)

  • Conducted study on parents who raised BOTH adopted and natural children.
  • All children had same upbringing, therefore same environment
  • Found no significant differences in correlation of parent-child IQs between natural and adopted children.
  • Conclusion that genetics has little impact - mostly environment.

Niche Picking Hypothesis Scarr and McCartney (1983)

  • Horn et al (1979) findings could be explained by the “niche picking hypothesis” proposed by Scarr and McCartney (1983)
    • Genes affect an individual’s preference for particular environments 
    • Environment then affects the development of the individual. 
    • Genetically similar people will tend to select similar environments, thus leading to similar IQ. 
    • It is possible that genetic predisposition influences individuals to tend towards environments that accentuate that disposition, thus leading to increased heritability throughout their lifespan.
    • The niche picking hypothesis supports the influence of genetics on IQ.
slide112

L011: With reference to relevant research studies, to what extent does genetic inheritance influence behaviour?

Genetics can influence intelligence as shown by supporting studies on influence of genetics. 

Horn (1979) provided findings to suggest that the environmental factor affects intelligence - adopted children have a higher IQ correlation with the adoptive family, rather than biological family.

Genetic inheritance influences intelligence, and thus behaviour, to a great extent large amount of supporting research the niche picking hypothesis refutes environmental factors 

Although important to note role of genetics in determining human behaviour is significant, essential to bear in it is not a simple causal relationship, as other factors such as the environment can influence thus alter certain behaviour. 

lo12 examine one evolutionary explanation of behaviour
LO12: Examine one evolutionary explanation of behaviour.
  • Principle of evolutionary psychology=as genes mutate, those that are advantageous are passed down through a process of natural selection.
  • Derived from Charles Darwin\'s theory of evolution.
  • Evolutionary psychologists attempt to explain how human behaviours have developed over time.
  • The behaviour which will be examined in terms of an evolutionary explanation of behaviour is the study of emotions, in particular disgust.
lo12 examine one evolutionary explanation of behaviour1
LO12: Examine one evolutionary explanation of behaviour.
  • Ekman (1972), found facial expression for disgust identical in different cultures.
  • Facial expression also produced in blind individuals and is correctly interpreted by individuals born deaf.
  • This evidence indicates an innate biological basis for the expression and recognition of disgust.
  •  This evidence suggests that disgust is experienced and recognized almost universally and strongly implicates its evolutionary significance.
lo12 examine one evolutionary explanation of behaviour2
LO12: Examine one evolutionary explanation of behaviour.

Fessler 2006 Disgust in pregnant women

Aim: investigatewhether ‘morning sickness’ experienced by pregnant women has evolutionary basis.

  • Investigated women\'s experiences of nausea during pregnancy
  • During 1st trimester, hormones suppress immune system to accustom the body to the foreign genetic material growing in womb.
  • Hypothesised that heightened sense of disgust experienced by women during this time was the body\'s way of compensating for the lacking immune system.
lo12 examine one evolutionary explanation of behaviour3
LO12: Examine one evolutionary explanation of behaviour.

Fessler 2006 Disgust in pregnant women

  • 496 healthy pregnant women
  • The women asked to consider 32 stomach churning scenarios such as:
  • Walking barefoot and stepping on an earthworm
  • Maggots on a piece of meat in a outdoor trashcan
  • Before asking the women to rank disgusting scenarios (using a survey), answered a survey to measure morning sickness

Findings & Conclusions:

  • Women in 1st trimester scored much higher on disgust sensitivity than those in the 2nd and 3rd trimester.
  • They found the scenarios involving food most disgusting.
  • As many of most harmful diseases are food-borne, concluded that heightened sense of disgust was advantageous to ancestors and allowed them to survive to produce offspring
  • Would have helped compensate for the increase susceptibility to disease during early pregnancy due to the suppressed immune system
lo12 examine one evolutionary explanation of behaviour4
LO12: Examine one evolutionary explanation of behaviour.

Fessler 2006 Evaluation

  • Study supports the role of disgust in aiding reproduction, and thus, as an evolutionary behaviour.
  • Data collected through questionnaires. Self reports may not be a great way of measuring disgust.
  • Better to confront them with real disgust-eliciting objects.
  • Effect was big (but not hugely significant when using statistical significance).

Supports that disgust may be an evolutionary behaviour as it may assist reproduction of offspring and protection against disease

lo12 examine one evolutionary explanation of behaviour5
LO12: Examine one evolutionary explanation of behaviour.

Curtis et al (2004): Internet survey on disgust

  • Research on the Internet to test whether there were patterns in disgust responses
  • Online survey: participants were shown 20 images & asked to rank their level of disgust.
  • Among images were 7 pairs in which one was potentially harmful to the immune system, and other was visually similar but non-infectious e.g. one pair was a plate of bodily fluids and a plate of blue viscous liquid.
  • 77 000 participants from 165 countries.
lo12 examine one evolutionary explanation of behaviour6
LO12: Examine one evolutionary explanation of behaviour.

Curtis et al (2004): Internet survey on disgust

  • Disgust reaction most strongly elicited for images which threaten immune system.
    • Natural selection may have helped ancestors to be more disgusted at things which threatened the immune system
  • Women had higher disgust reactions than men.
    • As women are carriers for offspring, they have a stronger disgust reaction so as not to threaten the lives of unborn offspring. 
  • The disgust reaction also decreased with age.

The decrease of disgust with age may be explained by the fact that the older a member of a species, the less likely they are to reproduce. 

lo12 examine one evolutionary explanation of behaviour7
LO12: Examine one evolutionary explanation of behaviour.

Curtis et al (2004) Evaluation

  • 77 000 participants from 165 countries. Large sample size and cross cultural = generalisable
  • Provides support for Fessler et al (2005) and vice versa
  • Self report measures of disgust = subjective
  • Link back to question: Curtis (2004) study supports the role of disgust in aiding reproduction, and thus, as an evolutionary behaviour.
lo12 examine one evolutionary explanation of behaviour8
LO12: Examine one evolutionary explanation of behaviour.
  • Evaluation of Evolution of disgust
  • The theories = speculative – its difficult to carry out experiments to clearly prove the theories
  • • Since it may be difficult to test empirically some evolution-based theories, researchers may be susceptible to confirmation bias— that is, they see what they expect to see. Hayes (2005)states that there is a tendency to ignore findings that don’t fit in with the theory confirmation bias
  • • Little known about behaviour of early Homo sapiens, sostatements about how humans used to be= hypothetical.
  • There is some evidence to support evolutionary explanation of disgust- Fessler (2006) and Curtis et al (2004)
  • • Evolutionary arguments often underestimate the role of culture/nurture/the present environmental influences in shaping behavior.
lo13 discuss ethical considerations in research into genetic influences on behaviour
LO13: Discuss ethical considerations in research into genetic influences on behaviour.
  • Research into human genetics aims to determine the influence of genes on behaviour and identify genes involved in hereditary diseases and disorders. 
  • This kind of research may pose risks to participants because there are consequences for any individual, and their family, who finds out that they have a genetic predisposition to a disorder or behaviour that is harmful.
  • In psychology, ethics must be considered to ensure participants (humans and animals) are not harmed and that research conducted is ethically valid. 
  • Ethical considerations in research into genetic influences on behaviour include: 
    • revelations of carrying genes for genetic conditions
    • informed consent for genetic research
    • confidentiality of participants 
    • stigmatization of individuals on basis of knowledge of genetic conditions 
lo13 discuss ethical considerations in research into genetic influences on behaviour1
LO13: Discuss ethical considerations in research into genetic influences on behaviour.

1) Revelations of carrying genes for genetic conditions

  • Explain ethical consideration: 
    • E.g. evidence of unrevealed adoptions or discovery that the participant carries the gene for a particular genetic disorder.
    • Genetic research can reveal unexpected information that may harm participants 

Supporting Study 1: Nurnberger and Gershon (1982)

  • A study which shows revelations of carrying genes linked to depression
  • Method: Reviewedthe results of seven twin studies. 
  • Results: Concordance rate – correlation – for major depressive disorder was consistently higher for monozygotic twins (MZTs) than dizygotic twins. 

Ethical considerations: 

  • Knowledge of a genetic predisposition to depression may cause people undue stress as they may fear the onset of the disorder. 
  • Self-fulfilling prophecy:  If one MZT has depression, their twin may express the self-fulfilling prophecy and demonstrate symptoms of depression as well. 
lo13 discuss ethical considerations in research into genetic influences on behaviour2
LO13: Discuss ethical considerations in research into genetic influences on behaviour.

2) Informed consent for genetic research 

Explain ethical consideration:

    • It is important, especially for genetic research that the individual must be specifically informed about the true aims of the experiment and must require consent from the person involved and or from the parent/family guardians responsible for them before commencement of research.
    • Uninformed consent may lead to serious a problem if the study proves to be controversial, which, for example, is demonstrated by...

Supporting Study 2: Dr. Money (1974)

  • Background:  Money was contacted by parents of identical twin boys, one of whom (Bruce) had his penis burnt off in a circumcision accident.  Money advised parents to castrate Bruce and turn him into a girl (Brenda). 

Ethical considerations: 

  • Genetically, Brenda was still a boy, but she was lied to and forced to live as a girl without informed consent. 
  • In genetic research, there is a risk that participants may learn something about themselves they are not prepared to deal with. 
    • Counselling should be offered as part of a full debriefing to genetic studies.
    • Neither Brenda nor her parents were debriefed about the case study that the twins were involved in. 
  • Money used this case as a study for his publication without knowledge of the parents 
    • violation of informed consent 
    • deception 
    • lack of confidentiality and privacy 
lo13 discuss ethical considerations in research into genetic influences on behaviour3
LO13: Discuss ethical considerations in research into genetic influences on behaviour.
  • 3) Confidentiality of participants
  • Participants should know how their privacy and confidentiality will be protected, and what will happen to any information obtained from the study. 
    • As there might be consequences for any individual who finds out that they have a genetic predisposition to a disorder or behaviour, which they might consider unpleasant or harmful.
    • Additional problems include future disadvantages regarding work and applying for other things – where the knowledge of a person’s genetic disorder or behaviour by other parties, such as insurance companies, who might prevent a person from receiving life insurance, or employers, who might refuse employment due to this regard. 
  • Confidentiality and privacy of participants can be protected by: 
    • Coding information (so that only a small number of researchers have access to the information) 
    • Fully anonymizing the sample (where researchers cannot link results to particular participants). 
      • Anonymizing the sample can limit the scientific value of the study by preventing follow up investigation. 
      • But it protects participants from insurance companies, employers, police, and others. 
lo13 discuss ethical considerations in research into genetic influences on behaviour4
LO13: Discuss ethical considerations in research into genetic influences on behaviour.

4) Stigmatization of individuals on basis of knowledge of genetic conditions

  • If other people know about an individual’s genetic predisposition to a disease, the individual can be stigmatized. 
  • Stigmatization is another ethical consideration as it may lead to institutionalisation and differential treatment from others. 
    • For example, an insurance company may deny insurance to individuals due to a genetic predisposition of a disease.
    • Or employers might refuse employment. 

Supporting Study 4: Caspi et al. (2003)

Method: 

  • 1037 adults aged 26 years 
  • Researchers assessed the participants? tendency to depression via self-reports 

Results: 

  • Variation in the 5-HTT gene moderates the influence of stressful life events on major depression 
  • Researchers attempted to establish a correlation between the gene and the condition 

Ethical considerations: 

  • Stigmatization 
    • Participants may be stigmatized due to their genetic predisposition for major depression 
    • Other people may not wish to be around individuals with a genetic predisposition for a disorder or disease 
lo13 discuss ethical considerations in research into genetic influences on behaviour5
LO13: Discuss ethical considerations in research into genetic influences on behaviour.

Conclusions

  • It is important to carry out, implement and consider ethical implications before commencement of research, especially into genetic research as there are many controversial consequences which could occur if not carried out properly. 
  • Ethics should always be considered in research to protect individuals and avoid harming participants. 
  • Research in psychology should always be critically evaluated for ethical issues. 
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