KEY THEORIES

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108 Terms

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central nervous system

brain and spinal cord and is the origin of all complex commands and decisions

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CNS function

specialised, complex network of cells that collects, processes and responds to information in the environment and coordinates the working of different organs and cells

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corpus callosum

thick collection of nerve cells that physically connects the 2 hemispheres of the brain

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spinal chord function

two-way communication to and from the brain and reflex actions

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brain

source of conscious awareness

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cerebral cortex

outer layer of the brain - divided into 4 lobes

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cerebellum

area that controls muscle movement, balance and coordination

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thalamus

Relay station for sensory information

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hypothalamus

controls motivational behaviours, stress response and homeostasis

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10

lateralisation

2 hemispheres may look identical but each has different functions eg. language is lateralised to the left temporal lobe

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localisation

there are certain areas in each hemisphere with specific functions eg. speech generating is localised to Broca's area

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12

amygdala

A limbic system structure involved in memory and emotion, particularly fear and aggression.

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13

4 lobes of the brain

frontal, parietal, occipital, temporal

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frontal lobe

region at the front of the brain that controls high level cognitive functions and is involved with personality and emotional control

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parietal lobe

region at the rear of the brain that processes sensory information, directions, hygiene and contains the somatosensory cortex

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occipital lobe

region at the back of the brain that processes visual information and contains the visual cortex

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17

2 language areas of the brain

Broca's and Wernicke's

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18

broca's area

controls speech production

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wernicke's area

controls language comprehension

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20

temporal lobe

region of the brain behind the ear that processes auditory information and deals with memory and language comprehension

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contralateral

the brain's control of the body is contralateral - the left h.s. controls the right side of the body and vice versa

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soma cell

main part of the cell where the nucleus sits

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nucleus

contains genetic material

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mitochondria

site of aerobic respiration

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dendrites

branches at the top of neuron that receive signals from other neurons

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axon

long branch from soma that passes electrical impulses down to the end of the neuron

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myelin sheath

fatty tissue that provides insulation and allows electrical impulses to be passes along

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nodes of ranvier

gaps between myelin sheath

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axon terminals

end of the axon that leads to the end of the neuron

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terminal button

axon terminal containing synaptic vesicles

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31

vesicles

tiny sacs in axon terminals that store neurotransmitters

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motor neuron

receive CNS messages and generate movements

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sensory neuron

transmit sensory information from sense to brain

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relay neurons

connect sensory and motor neurons

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35

what do biological psychologists believe?

the largest influence on our behaviour is genetics, hormones, chemicals and electrical Brian activity

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36

parasympathetic nervous system

rest and digest

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neuron

nerve cell

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sympathetic nervous system

fight or flight

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depolarisation

neuron at rest = negatively charged, activated neuron = positively charged, rapid switch creates an electrical impulse

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40

synaptic transmission

diffusion of neurotransmitters from an axon terminal to a dendrite

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41

action potential

a neural impulse - brief electrical charge that travels down an axon

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42

Neurotransmitters

chemical messengers that diffuse across synaptic gaps between neurons

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functions of neurotransmitters

have specific structures and functions - dopamine and acetylcholine

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Dopamine (excitatory)

influences movement, learning, attention, and emotion

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Acetylcholine (excitatory)

enables muscle action, learning, and memory

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46

recite electrical impulse through neurone

done

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recite synaptic transmission

done

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48

what affects the voltage of an electrical impulse

type of NT and summation

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49

excitatory NT

causes excitation of neuron making it more likely to fire

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50

inhibitory NT

causes inhibition of the neuron making it less likely to fire

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spatial summation

n.o. simultaneous signals from different neurons: more neurons that synapse = more likely to fire

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temporal summation

n.o. signals from one neuron in a set time frame: repeated firing adds up voltages to reach the threshold

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53

recreational drugs

Drugs taken by people for fun

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54

agonist

some drugs imitate NTs - similar structure - and amplify NT activity

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antagonist

some drugs block the action of an NT

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downregulation

receptors decrease in number and sensitivity

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57

cocaine facts

stimulant that blocks reuptake of dopamine by binding to dopamine transporters

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58

heroin facts

depressant that's processed into morphine which mimics the action of endorphins and binds with the mu receptors to enhance the natural response

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59

role of dopamine in recreational drugs

released in the reward centres of the brain that create a sense of pleasure

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60

role of GABA

inhibits dopamine

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61

strength of researching recreational drugs

Weinshenker and Schroeder damaged mesocorticolimbic pathway in mice brains so neurons were unable to produce dopamine - the mice were unable to administer cocaine as before therefore cocaines effects are due to dopamine

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62

weakness of researching recreational drugs

Non-human studies to understand drug effects on human CNS transmission - human brain is more complex and process is reductionist

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63

agression

range of behaviours that can result in both physical and psychological harm in an environment and can occur verbally, socially, mentally and physically

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role of limbic system in aggression

amygdala controls fear response and perceptions - the reactivity of the amygdala can predict aggressive behaviour

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65

role of limbic system in aggression evidence

Coccaro et al studied intermittent explosive disorder (extreme reactive agression) and scanned Ps by fMRI while they were viewing images - high amygdala activity when viewing angry faces bc angry facial expressions are an ec.v. sign of threat

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66

role of pre-frontal cortex in aggression

PFC is the centre for moral reasoning, decision making and impulse control so if damaged, its could prevent violent impulses being stopped and negative consequences being processed

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role of pre-frontal cortex in aggression evidence

Phineas Gage - iron rod destroyed large proportion of PFC and his behaviour changed from calm to highly aggressive

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role of serotonin in aggression

NT that has inhibitory effects on transmission between neurons - decreased levels are associated with reduced self-control and leads to more impulsive behaviours

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role of dopamine in aggression

dopamine regulates motivated behaviour - Set at al - serotonin under activity stimulates dopamine overactivity - both linked with impulsivity and aggression

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70

strength of brain structure in aggression

Human case studies such as Phineas Gage and Charles Whitman showed that damage to frontal lobe showed an increase in agression - many psychopaths have similar cognitive functioning to patients with amygdala damage

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weakness of brain structure in aggression

Reductionist - aggression depends on many interacting risk factors such as social, psychological and environmental aswell as biological in order to trigger it.

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72

hormones

chemical messengers released from glands that can influence behaviour and thinking

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73

evolution

changes in inherited characteristics in a biological population over successive generations

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74

natural selection

process explaining evolution - individuals who survive and reproduce successfully, pass on genes

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75

sexual selection

evolutionary explanation of partner preference - characteristics that are attractive to mate increases likelihood of reproduction

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evolutionary explanation of aggression

gain territory and resources, deterring mates from infidelity and guarding offspring

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evidence for evolutionary aggression

Buss 1988 - mate retention techniques used by males = direct guarding (restrict movements) and negative inducements (threats)

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strength of evolutionary aggression

explains why males are more aggressive than females: cooperative females will have been naturally selected leading to reduced aggression, while aggressive males will have been naturally selected because they were better hunters, enhancing agression

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weakness of evolutionary aggression

reductionist: reduces aggressive behaviour to only nature side of argument - we are all evolved to be aggressive and disregards any role for free will in behaviour relating to infidelity and jealousy

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80

role of testosterone in aggression

males more aggressive than females due to more testosterone - higher levels = more aggression

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81

evidence for role of testosterone in aggression

Dabbs et al - male criminals convicted of violent crimes has higher levels than other prisoners - same pattern with females

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82

dual hormone theory

high cortisol levels inhibit testosterone reducing aggression

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83

role of cortisol in aggression

manages stress levels - increased anxiety and social withdrawal reduces aggression - controlling increase of aggression associated with testosterone

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84

evidence for role of cortisol in aggression

McBurnett et al found school boys with persistent aggression had lower cortisol levels than other school children - factor that increases aggression

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85

Strength of hormones influencing aggression

Dabbs measured testosterone in saliva of 87 female prisoners - degree of criminal violence was positively correlated to testosterone level - also done with males - increases validity

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86

weakness of hormones influencing aggression

reductionist - explaining behaviour with such a small unit means we ignore other factors such as social context eg. cortisol regulates stress

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87

psychodynamic theory

events in childhood have a great influence in shaping personality - traumatic events affect us in life

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88

conscious

aware

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Id (pleasure principle)

unconscious part of personality that exists from birth and contains instincts, impulses and drives that are socially unacceptable

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ego (reality principle)

logical, rational, mostly conscious part of personality that develops shortly after birth - has no moral sense

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91

superego (morality principle)

part of personality that emerges later in development and represents our conscience and moral sense of right and wrong. Opposes Id through guilt and shame, just as irrational.

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92

Preconscious

Information that is not conscious but retrievable

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unconscious

we can never have direct access to

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94

tripartite personality

id, ego, superego

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95

displacement

shifts aggressive impulses toward a less threatening object when redirecting anger toward a safer outlet

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96

Freud's aggression theory

childhood trauma, eros and Thanatos, tripartite personality, catharsis

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97

strength of freud's aggression theory

Strong applications - catharsis used practically to prevent build up of destructive aggressive energy: people use displacement or therapy (psychoanalysis) to reduce aggressive behaviours

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98

weakness of freuds aggression theory

Other ways of explaining aggression eg. Bandura showed aggression can be learnt through role models. Also no imperialism as he used case studies and lacked falsifiability

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99

Similarities between biological and psychodynamic approach

Both are reductionist: biological fails to consider situational factors or previous experiences and psychodynamic fails to consider biological influences

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100

catharsis

a release of emotional tension

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