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Flashcards in Maguire 2000 Deck (15):

Aim of the study

to see if London taxi drivers brain’s are different as a result of their extensive training to be certified. == “the knowledge”

They were looking to see if there is a relationship between number of years driving a taxi and anatomy of their brain



16 right-handed male London taxi drivers; had to have completed the knowledge test and have a valid license for 1.5 years.

50 right-handed males who did not drive taxis.


How was the data from the MRI measured

-> Voxel-based morphology- density of grey matter in the brain

-> Pixel counting- calculating the area of the hippocampus



(1) pixel counting revealed that the posterior hippocampi of taxi drivers were significantly larger relative to those of control subjects and the anterior hippocampi were significantly smaller.

(2) VBM showed that the volume of the right posterior hippocampi correlated with the amount of time spent as a taxi driver.


Were there other differences observed in other parts of the brain?

No differences were observed in other parts of the brain.


What did Maguire argue?

that this demonstrates that the hippocampus may change in response to environmental demands.


How does this relate to localization of function?

that the posterior hippocampus is involved when previously learned spatial information is used,

whereas the anterior hippocampus region may be more involved during the encoding of new environmental layouts.


What type of experiment was it?

quasi-experiment-> no cause and effect relationship can be established.


The independent variable

was naturally occurring and therefore could not be manipulated


What type of control was used?

single-blind control was used to avoid researcher bias.


Why did the study include men of all ages?

Included men of all ages so it wouldn't be a confounding variable


What was the study?

study is-> correlation in nature as the IV is not manipulated by the researcher.


Why can you not argue that he MRI has a low ecological validity?

because the participants were not asked to do anything while in the scanner.
They simply had their brain anatomy measured.


Is there a sampling bias? Can you therefore generalize the findings?

Although the study appears to have sampling bias, it is a reality that the vast majority of London cabbies are male.

However, it still does make it difficult to generalize the findings.



The study is ethically sound as the MRI does not pose any health risks to the participants and all gave consent.