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Cognitive Psychology Coursework Essay

572 words - 3 pages

Describe the methods scientists have used to investigate how the brain works. Give examples of how studying the brain has helped us understand the relationship between brain activity and behaviour.

Many psychologists have been interested in looking at how the braIn influences the rest of the body including the behaviour of people. In this essay some of the methods scientist used will be looked at. Some of these methods are P.E.T -Positron emission tomography (neuroimaging techniques), a look at studies on people who have had brain damage, noting change in their behaviour and invasive methods. With the use of PET and invasive techniques, the activities of various parts of the brain are observed using instruments that record the information on computers in various visual forms. The seemingly corresponding ...view middle of the document...

All neurons have an electrical charge and move once stimulated. This electrical charge can be measured and therefore give indication of brain activity and how that activity might affect another part of the body. There are many different types of neurons such as sensory neurons which pick up information and pass it on and there are motor neurons which when stimulated by other neurons then move muscles, so affecting a behaviour like movement. Neurotransmitter is a chemical that is released from a neuron and then has an effect on a neighbouring cell. Scientist have looked at the number of these neurons in a normal brain and then study a brain that may have too much or a lack of them in different parts of the brain are able to make diagnoses on why a particular person may act a certain way. ( as cited in , DSE212, Mapping Psychology ,Frederick Toates in Biological processes and psychological explanation).
Many scientists have studied people who have had brain damage and the effect the damage area of the brain has had. The case of Phineas Gage (cited in DSE212, Mapping Psychology ,Frederick Toates in Biological processes and psychological explanation) who suffered brain damage of the left frontal lobe and some damage to the right frontal lobe showed that he suffered some personality disorder after his accident. Those who knew him before the accident said he became more obstinate, ego centric amongst other things and started to swear, becoming more impulsive. (Macmillan 1986; Damasio 1996) Other similar studies of people with similar injuries have proven there are similar changes in behaviour after accidents. People or even animals who develop contralateral neglect after a brain injury tend to neglect their part of the body or the world around them on that side that is opposite to the brain injury. It has been known for a dog to eat only the food on the right side of his dish as he had had a brain tumor but was only aware of the

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