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Biological Level of Analysis

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Jiaranai Fuganjananon

on 23 March 2011

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Transcript of Biological Level of Analysis

With reference to relevant research studies,
to what extent does genetic inheritance influence behavior • Genetic information is contained in chromosomes (tightly wound strings of DNA)
• Genes is the groupings within the DNA in chromosomes
• There are 23 pairs of chromosomes in every human cell
• Genes: Thought to be involved in physical and behavioral characteristic developments
• There are questions raised about whether “nature” or “nurture” will influence one’s behavior. Studies have been conducted to test out the question • Aim: To investigate the extent in which genetic factors influences the behavior of a schizophrenia mother’s child.
• Study: Adoption study/ correlational study
• Hypothesis: If the conditions were genetic, it would be expected that adoption would not have an effect on the amount of children who will later be diagnosed with schizophrenia.
• Procedure: Children who are separated from their biological parents with a schizophrenia mother were investigated.
• Results: Over 10% of the adopted children with family history of schizophrenia were later diagnosed with it. Study 2: Bulik • Participant: of 31,406 twins from the Swedish Twin Registry.
• Procedure: They were sent a questionnaire in 1973 that assessed things such as physical illnesses and activity level, personality, and work exposure. Seven potential predictors of AN development were evaluated from the questionnaire such as gastric problems and BMI. Zygosity information was also obtained. Later, to determine who developed AN and to determine the predictors, the subjects were interviewed between 1998 and 2002.
• Results: 1.2% of the females and 0.29% of the males met diagnostic criteria for lifetime history of AN. o A higher concordance rate for AN was foundamong monozygotic twins than dizygotictwins.
o Genetics accounted for 56% of an individual’srisk of developing AN while unique environmentaccounted for 38% and shared environment for5%.
o Only neuroticism was predictive of thedevelopment of Anorexia. Dr. Bulik believed thatgenes should be looked for it is a biologicaldisorder. Evaluation Strengths:
1) Many research study to supporting it
2) Genes cannot “lie” : there are no hawthrone effect and less likely to have researcher’s bias
3) We know a lot more about the role of genes and our behavior
1) More research shows that genes are not the “main role” of influencing our behavior (seen in study2/3 mentioned earlier). A set of genetic markers can be located and biological function can be identified but the environmental triggers are required for behavior to occur.
2) Studies and researchers did not show which gene exactly/ definitely influence our behavior (in cases such as Anorexia). We rely on adoption studies, twin studies, animal models, and theoretical explanations only.
3) More important to understand the environmental triggers. There are some models developed such as the diathesis-stress model: inherited factors can provide a vulnerability and environmental stimuli and results in a disorder.

2) Examine one evolutionary explanation of behavior Background Information
Darwin’s Theory of Evolution: Those that adapts better to the environment will pass on their genes to off springs when they reproduce. New genes will come up as the environment changes and the animals/living thing’s off springs will change accordingly.

Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection: members of species with characteristic that better suits to the environment will likely to survive, breed, and pass on those trades.

Evolutionary Psychology:
Principle: As genes mutate, those that are advantageous will be passed down through process of natural selection. Natural selection can only select mechanisms, genes, that produce a certain behavior. Study 1: Fessler 2006 Aim: Investigating the nausea experience by women in first trimester of pregnancy
Background information: During the first trimester, hormones lower the mother’s immune system.

Hypothesis: Nauseas response helps compensate for the suppressed immune system
Participants: 496 pregnant women (18-50 years old)
Procedure: Participants are told to consider 32-potentially stomach turning scenarios and rank how disgusting they were.

Findings: Women from first trimester scored much higher than the women from 2nd and 3rd trimester.
Conclusion: Fessler argues that many disease that are dangerous are casued by food. He believes that through natural selection, women became pickier about food in order to protect the mom and the baby. 1 human behavior: Emotion

The following studies concentrates on "disgust" Evaluation (STRENGHT)
- There are many studies supporting the evolutionary psychology
- The studies are conducted on both animal and human beings
- It has high generalizability because studies were conducted on many countries and also since all humans are made out of “genes”, it can be assumed that it would be similar to all human kind
- There are no ‘real link’ to which gene is influencing emotion
Other studies:

Curtis (2004): Disgust reactions are most strongly elicited for those which threaten one’s immune system and decreases with age 3) Discuss ethical considerations in research into genetic influences on behavior. Ethical considerations: what is acceptable and unacceptable to perform in a study.
The rights of the participants should always be considered.
To prevent any violation against the participant’s right, different professional organizations of psychologists have established different sets of guidelines and principles. (APA and BPS). Things to consider: -Informed Consent: Agreement to participant, informed about the purpose of the experiment

-Deception: When participants are deceived of the true aims of the study. Sometimes necessary because participants might alter behavior Deception prevents informed consent, may cause them embarrassment

-The Right to Withdraw: Participants should have the right to withdraw at any time during the study

-Protection from Harm: Avoid any situation that may cause the participant to experience psychological or physical harm at all cost

-Confidentiality: Anonymity should be kept and real names should not be used/False names and numbers should be used instead

-Privacy: No observations should be made without an informed concent.

-Debriefing: Participants are informed of the true nature of the study after the research has taken place to restore the participants to the state he/she was in at the start of the experiment. Genetic Research 1) Information obtained should be confidential and the participant’s name should never be revealed. If it is leaked out it can be stigmatizing:
• If they have AIDS: may hinder them from getting job
• Find out that they are adopted: family problems
• Parents may abort their unborn child because of knowledge gained before the child was born
• Deteriorate self-esteem: may have an unknown disorder

2) Informed consent: participants will know that their privacy and confidentiality will be preserved.

3) The results should not be interpreted wrongly as to justify discrimination against a certain group of people

4) Genetic Research brings up an important question; is our behaviour partly influenced by our genes? Do we really have free will? Can we really be held responsible for our actions? Lastly, if parents obtained certain information about the genes of their unborn child, should there be limits to parental decisions based on the information learnt about the genetic mapping of their child? In addition, do they have the right to abort the Study 1: Heston 1966 Biological Level of Analysis Discuss ethical considerations related to research studies at the biological level of analysis. 1. Informed consent: participants agreement to participate based on informed knowledge of the experiment along with their rights.
2. Deception: the costs should be compared to the benefits with justifiable scientific or medical information.
3. The right to withdraw: the capability to stop their participation anytime during the experiment.
4. Protection from harm:Avoid physical or psychological harm on participants.
5. Confidentiality: real names of any participants should not be revealed; researchers should use pseudonyms.
6. Privacy:observations made must be given consent unless observations are made in open public places.
7. Debriefing:inform participants about the true nature of the study so participants will return to their normal mental states that they entered the experiment with. 1. Replacement: animals should be replaced with less responsive alternatives whenever possible. 2. Refinement:minimize the harm inflicted on the animals
3. Reduction: animals should be minimized
4. Justification of the Research: there should be a clear scientific purpose of the research, and the researcher should monitor the welfare of the animal throughout the course of the experiment 5. Personnel: personnel who work with the animals must conform to federal protocol
6. Acquisition of Animals: mot bred in the research facility and must be obtained lawfully 7. Experimental Procedures: conducted under the management of a person with acute knowledge of the procedure Animal Research Human Research 1. Autonomy:
a. all decisions have to be voluntary and nobody can force participants into making a decision
b. the decision to have a genetic test is a choice each person makes of their own accord based on his values and preferences
c. a discussion of the purposes, benefits, dangers, and limitations of a genetic test should take place
d. an informed decision about a genetic test is through discussion with adequate prior knowledge

2. Privacy:
a. prevent of genetic information obtained through research

3. Beneficence and Nonmalificence:
a. provide benefits to communities that are contributing genetic information for research

4. Justice:
a. Participants treated equally and that all people receive fair and equal treatment. Genetic Research Explain one studyrelated to localization of function in the brain Definition: Localization of functionin the brain is the idea that different parts of the brain can carry out different functions. HM Case study Aim: Procedure: Findings Relation of HM case study to the localization of functions in the brain To see the effect of the absence of the hippocampus (is found in the limbic system of the brain. Is important for long term memory, short term memory and orientation) on memory 1) Brain Scans: show the area of damage which would be the hippocampus, amygdale, the intorhinal, and perihinal cortexes.
2) Interviews: asked him to repeat numbers and recall very recent (a minute ago) events, then repeated the same task after a distraction
3) Naturalistic observation: observed his behavior throughout the day and his reactions to trivial activities in daily life 1) HM could recall very recent things but would forget after
few second or a distraction.
2) He could not recall any past events past a certain year.
a) Throughout the day he repeated his behavior believing
to never have done it (e.g. eating lunch again)
b) HM did learn some very procedural behaviors but could
never recall any events 1) The case study of HM shows how different
parts of the brain can have specific functions.
2) Since certain parts of his brain were removed, he is unable to perform certain skills and/or functions.
3) We can infer from this case study that the hippocampus is in charge of the short term memory as the removal of the hippocampus resulted in the absence of his short-term memory therefore a certain part of his brain is "localized" to carry out the function of short term memory Outline principles that defined the biological level of analysis “Patterns of behavior can be inherited” Explain how principles that define the biological level of analysis may be demonstrated in research. a.Patterns of behavior can be inherited
Caspi 2003
Aim: To investigate relationship between 5-HTT gene and depression

Research Method: correlation studies

Participants: 847 New Zealanders

Procedure: 5-HTT gene is responsible in the production of
serotonin, which is a gene that influence our mood. The DNA sample was taken from all participants then they were asked to fill-in self-evaluation. They were crosschecking with friends in order to ensure the participants’ honesty. The researcher also controlled for levels of stressful events in life.

Finding: The researcher found out that participants with 5-HTT short alleles are more likely to develop depression at the aged of 21 to 26. They also found out that participants develop depression if they suffered from stressful life events.

Conclusion: This study suggests that some diseases are caused by gene. “Cognitions, emotions and behaviours are the products of the anatomy and physiology of our nervous and endocrine system” Aim: To test two factors theory of emotion

Research Method: Experiment

Participants: 184 male college students who were learning an introductory psychology course in Minnesota University

Procedure: At the beginning of the experiment, all participants were injected with epinephrine. The researchers were pretended that they were investigating the side effects of the Suproxin, which is a pretend vitamin. The participants were divided into 4 conditions: informed, misinformed, ignorant, and control group. Then, the researchers further divided the participants either into euphoric or angry condition for 20 minutes. In Euphoric condition, each participant was in a room with a stooge. The stooge was friendly and played with paper in order to make the participants relaxed. In contrast, the participant was in a room with a stooge. The participants were asked to complete the questionnaire and the stooge moaned about injections. Some of the stooge in angry condition is ripped up the questionnaire.

Finding: The result showed that people who were informed of the injection showed more emotions than the other groups. Discuss how and why particular research methods are used at the biological level of analysis - Naturalistic experiment --> observing an event in their natural settingo Often used in brain research in conjunction with neuroimaging techniqueso Limitation: not so controlled as a laboratory experiment

- Correlation studies --> Look for relationship between two variableso Used in genetic research e.g.. Twin studieso Limitation: can established cause and effect

- Concordance studies --> Measure the similarities in their characteristic between genetically related or unrelated individualso Often used in twin studies

- Molecular Studies --> Compare genetic material from individuals with a certain characteristic with individual without a certain characteristic

- Naturalistic observation --> Participant or animal observation in their natural environmento High ecological validityo Limitation: not so controlled → reliability problem Discuss the use of brain imaging technologies in investigating the relationship between biological factors and behaviour CAT/CT scanning- Computerized Axial Tomography
Developed in the early 70s, the CAT is a computer-enhanced X-ray of the brain’s structure. Multiple x-rays are shot from many angles, and the computer combines the readings to create a vivid image of a horizontal slice of the brain. The entire brain can be visualized by combining the series of images representing the successive slices. Compared to other brain imaging technologies, the CAT is the lease expensive.

PET- Positron Emission Technology The PET scan developed in the 1970s, is used for the observation of blood flow or metabolism in any part of the brain. To use the PET scan, the patient is injected with small quantities of radioactive glucose into their bloodstream. The PET is then used to scan the absorption of radioactivity. The more active the cells in an area of the brain are, the more glucose is consumed; the less active they are, the less glucose is consumed. The last procedure measures emitted radiation from the brain, through the usage of computers and scanners.

MRI- Magnetic Resonance Imaging Invented in 1977 the MRI is a noninvasive method used for creating a 3D still picture of the brain structure. The MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, pulses from the radio frequency and a computer to produce an image of the brain’s structure. Examples of Brain Imaging Technologies Brain imaging technologies are used for providing solid evidence to show the relationship between biological factors, and behaviour Examine one interaction between cognition and physiology in terms of behaviour. Evaluate two relevant studies. Interaction: Usage of memory can alter an individual's brain and decrease the chance of developing amnesia Study #1 sample study RAINE ET AL. USAGE OF THE PET SCAN(1997)

Aim: To observe the cortical and subcortical functioning of the brain using PET scans on a group of murderers who have pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Expected findings: Murderers would show evidence of brain dysfunction in areas such as the prefrontal cortex and other areas of the brain that had been linked to violent behaviour.

Procedure: A lab experiment using an independent measures design. The study used PET scans to examine the brains of 41 people (39 males and 2 females) who have been charged for murder; all participants had pleaded to be Not Guilty for Reasons of Insanity. Their brain scans were compared to 41 controls. Controls of the experiment involved matching the 41 controls and murderers according to their age and sex. The murderers who claimed to have schizophrenia were matched to the controls who also had schizophrenia but no history of murder. All participants were injected with a glucose tracer and were told to work at a continuous performance task. After completion of the task, all participants were given the PET scan. Matters that were being compared involved the controls on the level of activity in the right and left hemispheres of the brain in the selected 14 ares.

Results: Within the cerebral cortex, the NGRIs were shown to have less activity in their prefrontal and parietal areas, however they had more activity in the occipital area and showed no difference when it came to the temporal areas. When it came to the subcortical areas of the brain, the amygdala and the hippocampus had less activity in the left side and more activity in the right when compared to that of the controls. The differences in the amygdala between the controls and the murderers suggested that the murderers have an unusual emotional response, such as the lack of fear. The unusual emotional response can also be used to support theories of violence.

Evaluation: (positive) amount of control researchers had over the whole procedure. eg. control group and murderers were matched according to age and sex. All participants were screened for mental and physical health
 (negative) PET scans are still being developed. Data should be treated with caution MAGUIRE ET AL. (2002)
Aim: Investigate whether changes can be detected in the brains of London taxi drivers and to investigate the functions of the hippocampus’s spatial memory.

Procedures: Participants used for the study included London taxi drivers due to their high level of dependence on navigational skills whilst driving. Participants of the study included 16 healthy, right-handed male licensed London taxi drivers. The scans of the taxi drivers from the MRI will be compared to the control group constructed by the scans of 50 healthy right-handed males who did not drive taxis. The taxi drivers all had experience of being a licensed London taxi driver for more than one and a half year. The average time of being a taxi driver was 14.3 years, however the range of years were between 1.5 to 42 years. The age range, and age average were not different between the taxi drivers and the control group.

Results: 1) The posterior hippocampi of taxi drivers were significantly larger than the control group. However, the anterior hippocampal region was larger in the control group than taxi drivers.
2) The volume of the hippocampal had a strong positive correlation to the amount of time spent as a taxi driver

Evaluation: (positive) well controlled
(positive) provides scientific evidence= brain scans (negative) usage of the MRI is expensive 
 b. Cognitions, emotions and behavior are the product of the anatomy and physiology of our nervous and endocrine system Discuss two effect of the environment on psysiological processes Using one or more examples, explain effects of neuro transmission on human behavior Using one or more examples, explain function of two hormones in human behavior - is the process when signals are transmitted in the neurons through the synapse wit the help of neurotransmitters NEUROTRANSMISSION Definition: Neurotransmission Definition: Neurotransmitter a chemical in the synapse that transmits signals between neurons What does it do? -Actions potentials in the neuron releases neurotransmitters from the terminal buttons
-Diffuses over the synaptoc cleft
-Fit into receptor cell in dendrites
-Change the charge of neuron to be more (+)
-Reach certain threshold ion channels in neuron opens, resulting action potential Neurotransmission effects on Behavior - Send signals that control bodily function which are present when we are faced with certain situations and arousals
- Control bodily functions and behaviors such as sleep, eating, learning, arousal, and mood Serotonin - Inhibits behavior and is involved in sleep, mood, aggression and love Study: Caspi et al. Neuroscience Result: people in love tend to release more serotonin which leads to an increased in heart rate, loss of sleep, feeling of exitment etc. Dopamine - Related to pleasurable feelings, eating behavior, love, etc, motivate us to perform activities Parkinson's disease have a lack of dopamine and people with Schizophrenia have an excess of dopamine Neuroscience Result: People in love tend to release more dopamine which stimulates the brain's pleasure center, leading to increased heart rate, loss of appetite, etc. Acetylcholine Noradrenalin involved with memory Study: damage to cholinergic (acetylcholine producing) system in the brain was shown to be somewhat responsible with memory deficts in Alzheimer's disease Shown to be involved with synaptic plasticity in learning and long-term memory stress hormone and depression transmitter -Affects part that controls attention and responses
-Associate with heart rate, blood pressure, release of glucose, and increasing blood flow to muscles. Lack: cause depression because body is not as responsive to stimulation and lack arousal and alertness SNOWDON (1950)
Aim: To determine if linguistic (language) ability in early life has a correlation with cognitive functioning and the Alzheimer’s disease in late life.

Participants: 93 participants were all nuns and were investigated aged from 75 to 95 years, the Alzheimer’s disease was investigated in the 14 participants who had died at the age of 79 to 96.

Procedures: Measures of linguistic ability in early life, idea density and grammar complexity were taken from autobiographies that had been written at the average age of 22. After 58 years later, the women who wrote the autobiographies participated in an assessment of cognitive function, and those who subsequently died were evaluated neuropathologically.

Results: 7 neuropsychological tests and neuropathologically confirmed the presence of Alzheimer. Low idea density and grammatical complexity in autobiographies written in early life was linked to the low cognitive test score in late life. Low idea density in early life had stronger and more consistent associations with poor cognitive function than did low grammatical complexity. Among the 14 nuns who died, neuropathologically confirmed Alzheimer’s disease was present in all of those with low idea density in early life and in none of those with high idea density. Low linguistic ability in early life was a STRONG predictor of poor cognitive function and Alzheimer’s disease in late life. 

Evaluation: (positive) showed positive correlation between Alzheimer's disease and language ability earlier in life
(negative) time consuming, waiting 58 years to come back for results. Some nuns already died by then too
(negative) not generalisable, study conducted only on nuns PET scan cat scan mri scan A chemical secreted by an endocrine gland.Travels through the bloodstream. Usually involved in longterm functioning of the body. Definition: Hormone Oestrogen or Estrogen Androgen Adrenaline female sex hormones hormones influence the growth and development of the male reproductive system hormone ajust to sudden stress - regulates menstrual cycle/prepares uterus for pregnancy
- lead to memory problems
- Affects shape of women (hips breast etc.) Androgen activate Men's need to protect woman Secreted by adrenal gland : Epinephrine Face situation
-->adrenal gland release adrenaline into blood
--> dertermine feeling
--> helps body be ready for fight or flight reaction. Effect of light on melatonin level Effect of deprivation on neuroplasticity Melatonin Definition:
- A hormone secreted by the pineal gland which regulates sleep and circardian rhytm. Circardian Rhytm:
- Our biological clock that is based on a 24-hour day/night cycle. (regulate by melatonin) Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD):
- A type of depression in which the patient experinces depressive symptoms in the autumn and winter.
- Depend on reduced levels of sunlight in autumn and winter Vitamin D: 'sunshine vitamin' that is synthesized in the skin when we are exposed to direct sunlight. It is thought to activate and deactivate enzymes in the brain and cerebrospinal fluid involved in neurotransmitter synthesis and nerve growth. It also protects inflammations. Correlational Study Meta-analysis Kent (2009)
Participant: 14,474 American
Result: Participants with low exposure to sunlight was associated with a significantly higher cognitive impairment Llewellyn (2009)
Participant: 1,700 British participants
Result: the lower the participants vitamin D level, the lower their performance on mental test University of MANU (2009)
Participant: 3,100 men aged around 40-79 in 8 European countries
Result: Testing vitamin D level and cognitive performance result in people with lower Vitamin D level have slower information processsing speed. Golden (2009)
Participant: 228 patients who had been treated for SAD with light therapy.
Result: Weak evidence that light therapy is effective for SAD. There are large acute effect of light therapy on symptoms of SAD. However, it will disappear. Neuroplasticity:
- Changing of neurons, the organization of their networks and their function via new experiences. Rosenzweig & Bennett (1972)
Aim: To investigate effect of enrichment or deprivation on development of neurons in cerebral cortex in RATS
Method: Experiment
Procedure: Rates placed in either stimulating environment (toys) or deprived environment (no toys). Rats spent 30-60 days in their environment and later was disected.
Result: Rats in stimulating environment had an increased thickness in cortex Kolb (1999)
Aim:Investigate if stimulating environments affects the growth of neurons in rats
Method:Rates placed in enrich environment begining at weaning or as yound adults. Controlled group were place in standard cages
Result: Both age groups rasied in enriched environment show a large increase of the lenght of dendrites oncortical neurons Kolk et al. (2004)
- Pregnant rat mothers were housed in enriched environments. Their babies had increases in synaptic space on cortical neurons as adults Pascal-Leone (2002)
Experiment: learn 5 finger piano exercise for 5 days, two hours everyday. Participants cortex was investigated by the use of a transcranial-magnetic-stimulation test.
Result: practice altered structure of the area devoted for the finger movement. Group participant tend to did not like her
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