BLOA - discuss 2 effects of environment on physiological processes Flashcards Preview

IB Psychology HL > BLOA - discuss 2 effects of environment on physiological processes > Flashcards

Flashcards in BLOA - discuss 2 effects of environment on physiological processes Deck (15):


- dynamic system that interacts with the environment
- the brain can determine and change its own behaviour
- behaviour and environment can also change the brain
- neuroplasticity


effect of parental nurturing on brain

- nurturing environment increases size of hippocampus (Luby, 2012)
- enriched environment increases thickness of cerebral cortex (Rosenzweig and Bennett, 1972)


Luby (2012) - Aim

To investigate the effects nurturing mothers have on the brain development of their children


Luby (2012) - Method

1. Experiment conducted with 92 mother-and-child pairs, with children aged 3-6 years
2. They were left with a brightly-wrapped package that was not allowed to be opened until the mother finished filling out some forms; this was meant to copy the usual stressors of daily parenting
4. Generally either one of the two things was observed:
- nurturing: mothers offered reassurance and support
- non-nurturing: mothers ignored/scolded the child
5. Researchers then divided them into two categories (participants were unaware of this)
6. When the children were 7-10 years old, researchers used MRI to scan their brains


Luby (2012) - Findings

children with nurturing mothers had hippocampi 10% larger than children with non-nurturing mothers


Luby (2012) - Conclusion

nurturing mothers had a positive impact on the brain development of children


Luby (2012) - Evaluation

- not all variables controlled
- non-nurturing mothers may feed their child healthily
- the diet may impact brain development as well


Rosenzweig and Bennett (1972) - Aim

to investigate the effect of either enrichment or deprivation on the development of neurons in the cerebral cortex


Rosenzweig and Bennett (1972) - Process

1. Placed rats in one of 2 conditions:
- environmentally enriched (e.g. giving interesting toys to play with)
- environmentally deprived (e.g. no interesting toys to play with)
2. Rats spent 60 days in their respective environments before being dissected
3. The thickness of each rat's frontal cortex was measured


Rosenzweig, Bennet, and Diamond (1972) - Findings

- post-mortem studies showed that rats in the enriched condition had increased thickness in cerebral cortex
- the frontal lobe is associated with thinking, planning, and decision-making
- it was found to be heavier in enriched condition rats


Rosenzweig, Bennet, and Diamond (1972) - Conclusion

- evidence of neuroplasticity due to environmental conditions
- having interesting toys created the best conditions for developing cerebral thickness of rat brains


Rosenzweig, Bennet, and Diamond (1972) - Evaluation

- tightly controlled study with defined IV/DV
- animal study; caution should be used when generalizing to humans
- ethically followed the correct guidelines for treatment of animals
- rats were bred for experimental purposes and were used sparingly



- the brain’s ability to rearrange the connections between its neurons
- i.e. redistribute brain mass according to usage/necessity
- result of learning or experience


why does neuroplasticity occur?

- the brain is a dynamic system that interacts with the environment
- so the brain can both affect and be affected by behaviour and the environment
- Luby (2012): hippocampus is associated with memory and emotion, and a nurturing environment likely correlates to positive emotions
- Rosenzweig, Bennet, and Diamond (1972): cerebral cortex is associated with thinking, planning, decision-making, all of which were exercised over the 60 days
- general conclusion of the two studies: a nurturing and stimulating environment aids brain development


what to write when asked "discuss 2 effects of environment on physiological processes"

- define neuroplasticity
- describe + explain the effects of a nurturing (Luby, 2012) and stimulating (Rosenzweig, Bennet, and Diamond, 1972) environment on neuroplasticity
- include background info/reasons for every point
- explain why neuroplasticity occurs in the context of those environments

- give a balanced review with a focus on EXPLAINING EFFECTS rather than EVALUATIONS
- state your opinions and give evidence to support them
- evaluate all empirical evidence cited (e.g. methodology, ethnics, extent of generalization the results can have)
- discuss the usefulness of the findings: mention possible applications and how effective + universal these applications are

Decks in IB Psychology HL Class (60):