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Flashcards in Antonova 2011 Deck (18):


to see if scopolamine affected hippocampal activity in the creation of spatial memory.



20 healthy male adults, with a mean age of 28 years old.


What did the study use?

double-blind procedure and participants were randomly allocated to one of two conditions.


What were the 2 groups injected with

Scopolamine or a placebo 70 - 90 minutes before taking part in the experimental task.


What did the participants have to do?

put into an fMRI where they were scanned while playing the "Arena task."
complex game


What were researchers observing?

creation of spacial memories


How did the game work?

participants to navigate around an "arena" with the goal of reaching a pole.

After they have learned where the pole is located, the screen would go blank for 30 seconds.

During this time, the participants were told to actively rehearse how to get to the pole in the arena.

When the arena reappeared, the participant was now at a new starting point in the arena.

The participants would have to use their spatial memory to determine how to get to the location of the pole.


How often was it repeated?

The participants' brain activity was measured for six trials.

The participants returned between 3 - 4 weeks later and redid the test - receiving the opposite treatment to the original study.



found that when the participants were injected with scopolamine, they took longer on average to find the pole in the arena and made more errors.

However, this difference was not significant.


What did they notice about scopolamine participants

demonstrated a significant reduction in the activation of the hippocampus compared to when they received a placebo.



It appears that acetylcholine may play a key role in the encoding of spatial memories in humans, as well as in rats.


where was the difference in activity significant



What do the results show about the design of the experiment?

the task as designed may not have been the best for showing performance differences;

without the use of the fMRI, there would be no way to know that at the biological level there were significant differences in the two conditions.


what type of study was it?

repeated measures design - eliminating the effect of participant variability

study was counter-balanced - some of the participants did the scopolamine condition first, and others did the placebo condition first.


how was it carried out

blindly; this controls for researcher bias.


what could have affected the results?

During the debriefing, several of the participants expressed that they had felt stressed, either as a result of the injection of an unfamiliar drug or being in the MRI enclosure.

>>> could have an effect on the working of the hippocampus as we know that stress may interfere with memory encoding.


Would there need to be a replication of the study?

Yes because sample size was small


What does scopolamine do and what case study backs this up?

Piccart and d"Hooge (2008)

found that scopolamine significantly affected the acquisition of spatial memory with the rats taking longer to find the platform.