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Flashcards in CLOA - discuss use of tech in investigating a cognitive process Deck (12):


position emission topography

- injects radioactive sugar that produces gamma rays while it's being metabolised by the brain
- relies on knowledge that parts of the brain will metabolise sugar at different rates
- depending on activity
- can show dynamic info but is less precise than fMRI
- health concerns

Study involving PET:
- Maguire et al. (1997)


Maguire et al. (1997) - Aim

investigate if the hippocampus is involved with spatial memory


Maguire et al. (1997) - Process

- PET scans were conducted on London taxi drivers
- during scanning they were asked to recall routes around London and famous landmarks (that were not on taxi routes)


Maguire et al. (1997) - Findings

- hippocampus more active when asked about routes
- less active when asked about famous landmarks (likely because they were irrelevant in day-to-day life)


Maguire et al. (1997) - Conclusion

hippocampus is involved in spatial memory



magnetic resonance imaging

- maps the changes in alignment of H atoms due to a magnetic field
- can be used for 3-D imaging
- produces images of slices of brain from any angle
- exposure to magnetism can be dangerous

Study involving MRI:
- Maguire et al. (2000)


Maguire et al. (2000) - Aim

to investigate neuroplasticity of the hippocampus in individuals where spatial memory is frequently recalled


Maguire et al. (2000) - Process

MRI scans of taxi drivers were compared to that of male non-taxi drivers


Maguire et al. (2000) - Findings

in drivers' brains, left and right hippocampus were significantly larger in volume but other parts were smaller


benefits of using tech to investigate cognitive processes

- cognition always involves neuronal activity in the brain
- using brain imaging tech helps us understand the complexity of† activity in the neuronal network when carrying out cognitive processes that underpin behaviour WHILE they are taking place
- mention PET and MRI and explain their use + potential hazards
- neuroimaging can register dynamic changes (e.g. in oxygen and glucose consumption) in the brain
- researchers can then connect areas in the brain to specific cognitive processes (i.e. localization of function)
- neuroimaging has revealed that cognitive processes are mediated by a network of† distributed interacting brain
regions with each area making specific contributions
- useful in diagnosing brain disease/damage that
causes problems in cognitive ‚functioning (e.g. Alzheimer's)


problems with using tech to investigate cognitive processes

- it's tempting to use localization of function to explain all human behaviour
- which is reductionist as it is too simple
- the neuroplasticity of the brain means they can be open to change
- low ecological validity: scanning takes place in highly artificial environments


what to write when asked "evaluate the use of tech in investigating cognitive processes"

- cognitive process: memory, use of tech: PET, MRI
- explain MRI/PET and their uses + potential hazards
- describe related studies (MRI: Maguire et al, 2000; PET: Maguire et al, 1997)
- explain pros + cons of using tech
- include background info/reasons for every point
- give your own judgment and opinion supported by evidence
- while discussing strengths and limitations, make clear comments about its significance, usefulness (e.g. how applicable it is, its usefulness in explaining sth), accuracy

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