Psychology Study Of The Brain


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The Antidepressant Sweet Spot For Coffee Drinkers

Ways of Studying the Brain – Biological Psychology [AQA ALevel]

Coffee research is a crap shoot at best every year new studies come out suggesting benefits and drawbacks of our favorite morning companion. But in 2013, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health made an especially significant contribution to coffee research that found a correlation between drinking 2-4 cups of caffeinated coffee each day and lower suicide risk among adults.

The study, published in The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry, was a meta-review of three extensive U.S. health studies that included a total of 43,599 men and 164,825 women. Consumption of caffeine , coffee and decaffeinated coffee was evaluated among study participants every four years via questionnaire. Across all three studies, coffee accounted for the majority of caffeine consumed at 71% of the total.

Causes of death were tracked during the study period by reviewing death certificates 277 deaths were the result of suicide.

The analysis showed that the risk of suicide among adults drinking 2-4 cups of coffee a day was 50% less than the risk for adults who drank decaffeinated coffee or one cup or less of caffeinated coffee. Drinking more than 4 cups of coffee wasn’t associated with lower suicide risk.

Have more studies youd like to add to this list or comments on any of those above? Please put them in the comments section for all to see. Thanks!

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Why Is It Important For Psychologists To Study The Human Brain

Psychology is the scientific study of the human mind and behaviour. This article will cover why it is essential for psychologists to study the brain. It also covers the techniques psychologists use to study the brain. In the end, the article will answer some frequently asked questions.

Tool That Seeks Consciousness In The Brain

An experimental tool designed in 2013 to peek into a patients brain and find signs of consciousness could eventually give doctors a way to more accurately judge chances of recovery from serious brain trauma and in the process change the nature of end-of-life decisions.

Until now, doctors dont have many methods available to gauge the consciousness of a patient unable to respond verbally or in other subtle ways in response to simple questions–such as blinking an eye, squeezing a hand, or raising a finger. In these cases, typically when a patient has suffered a severe brain injury, theres ample guesswork that goes into determining whether consciousness is still lingering under the surface.

The best clinical method available to get closer to an answer involves placing the patient in an MRI machine and scanning the brain while telling the patient to envision an action like throwing a ball or running through a field. By tracking activity patterns in the patients brain, its theoretically possible to tell if the person is able to unconsciously acknowledge and process the request. If it appears that the patients brain can respond even though the patient cant verbalize the response, the person is said to suffer from locked-in syndrome.

The study was published in the journal, Science Translational Medicine.

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Ways Of Studying The Brain Evaluation

Each method has its own strengths and weaknesses. To give a brief summary of each concerning their resolution:

  • Post-mortem examinations have a high spatial resolution, but cannot prove that the damaged/examined areas are definitely responsible for specific functions. Unfortunately, they can only be performed after death, and infer function rather than causally relate it to brain area.
  • fMRI usually has a highly detailed spatial resolution but poor temporal resolution. They are quite expensive to run, but are non-invasive.
  • EEGs have a great temporal resolution but poor spatial resolution.
  • ERPs have a high temporal resolution, but like EEGs, poor spatial resolution.

How Does The Brain Change Over Time


But not everyones mPFC is more active when thinking about the social self. One study examined children when they were age 10, and then had the same kids come back 3 years later when they were 13. These are some really important ages, since lots of kids start going through puberty around then. The study found that as kids become teenagers, especially as their bodies start changing with puberty, the mPFC is more active when thinking about the social self . Another study found that even though the mPFC becomes more active in the teenage years, its activity then decreases, and it is not as active in adulthood . So, knowing what goes on in the brain has helped explain why our self-perceptions are most social during adolescence .

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Ways Of Studying The Brain

To study the brain in psychology, we need tools that accurately represent the complex organ and provide data scientists and medical personnel can analyse. These data must reflect the brain activity and functions and show precisely where the activity occurs in the brain.

Modern technology has made significant advances in studying the brain in relation to behaviour, allowing more profound, less invasive insights into how the mind works. However, the history of how the brain was studied before this time is still critical and was essential to the discovery of language centres before these new experimental techniques became available. So we will cover both the older ways of studying the brain in psychology and the modern methods of studying the brain.

  • We are going to delve into the different ways of studying the brain in psychology.
  • First, we will establish the different techniques used to study the brain, particularly in relation to behaviour.
  • We will highlight modern ways of studying the brain, as well as older ways of studying the brain.
  • Finally, we will then briefly provide a way of studying the brain evaluation.

Fig. 1: There are multiple ways of studying the brain.

How Does Addiction Work In The Brain

Repeated use of a drug changes the wiring of the brain in a number of ways. It stimulates the nucleus accumbens, and overactivity of the nucleus accumbens progressively weakens its connectivity to the prefrontal cortex, seat of executive functioning. One result is impaired judgment, decision-making, and impulse control, a hallmark of addiction.

Neuroscience research supports the idea that addiction is a habit that becomes quickly and deeply entrenched and self-perpetuating, rapidly rewiring the circuitry of the brain because it is aided and abetted by the power of dopamine. Under the unrestrained influence of dopamine, the brain becomes highly efficient in wanting the drug it focuses attention on anything drug-related and prunes away nerve connections that respond to other inputs. The biological weakening of decision-making areas in the brain suggests why addicts pursue and consume drugs even in the face of negative consequences or the knowledge of positive outcomes that might come from quitting the drugs.

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Ways Of Studying The Brain In Psychology

There are a variety of methods available for studying the brain in psychology. Before delving into these methods, however, here are some important terms to remember:

Spatial resolution is the degree of accuracy that a technique achieves when examining brain activity. It is the accuracy with which the exact areas of brain structures and activity are identified.

Temporal resolution is the degree of accuracy in determining brain activity over time that the technique provides. It relates to when the activity virtually occurred and how accurately the technique can record this information.

The main ways of studying the brain consist of:

  • Post mortem examinations
  • Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Electroencephalograms and Event-related Potentials
  • That’s not to say these are the only methods of studying the brain. Other techniques exist, such as computerised tomography scans and positron emission tomography scans , however, our focus will be on the aforementioned three methods for this explanation.

    What Does It Mean To Call Addiction A Brain Disorder

    Studying the Brain | Psychology

    Calling addiction a brain disorder means, for one thing, that the machinery of addiction is complex and subtle, because the brain is complex and often subtle. Addiction comes about through the brains normal pathways of pleasure. It is known that addiction changes the circuitry of the brain in ways that make it increasingly difficult for people to regulate the allure of an intense chemical rush of reward.

    In response to repeated use of a highly pleasurable experiencedrugs, gamblingneurons adjust their wiring to become increasingly efficient at relaying the underlying signals. They prune away their capacity to respond to other sources of reward. And neural connection to the brain centers of impulse control and decision-making is weakened. The brain is set to stay stuck in its habit.

    But, unlike in disease, the brain changes that occur in addiction are not a malfunction of biology. Rather, the changes reflect the brains normal processes of changeabilitycalled neuroplasticityits capacity to change in response to every-day experience, which is the basis of all learning. Unlike other organs, the brain is designed to change, because its mission is to keep us alive, and in order to safeguard us, it needs to be able to detect and respond to the ever-changing dynamics of the real world.

    It is important to know that recovery from addiction also relies on neuroplasticity. Changing behavior rewires the brain.

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    Move Over Extroverts And Introverts Here Come The Ambiverts

    In the psychology of personality category, a 2013 study overturned yet another personality stereotype thats gone virtually unquestioned for decades: that extroverts are inherently better sellers than everyone else.

    The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, indicates that not only is that stereotype wrong, but there’s an entirely different personality type that stands well above the others in sales prowess.

    The study was conducted by researcher Adam Grant of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, also author of the book Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success. Grant predicted that extroverts, contrary to popular lore, would not bury other personality types when it came to closing sales — but rather, ambiverts, people who are more or less equal parts extroverted and introverted, would perform best.

    Grant conducted a personality survey and collected three-months of sales records for more than 300 salespeople, both men and women. As he predicted, people whose scores put them in between extreme extroversion and introversion turned out to be the best salespeople. In a three-month period, they made 24% more in sales revenue than introverts, and 32% more in revenue than extroverts.

    Because ambiverts embody traits from both sides of the personality spectrumin a sense, they have a built in ‘governor’ that regulates their exuberance–they don’t trip over the obstacles that handicap their more extroverted counterparts.

    Intellectual And Developmental Disabilities

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    • How to impact the outcome and course of intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder, and related neurodevelopmental disorders
    • How to develop psychological instruments that measure core and associated features of intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder, and other neurodevelopmental disorders
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    • Developing, evaluating and applying new quantitative methods for the analysis of psychological data
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    • How motivations in social interactions shape relationships, beliefs, well-being, and health
    • What motivates social behavior
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    • How similarity in brain activity across people underlies similarity in thoughts, attitudes and beliefs

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    Psychobiology: Studying The Brain And Behavior

    14 January, 2022

    Psychobiology is a branch of psychology. Therefore, its main objective is the study of behavior. However, its approach has a special characteristic that gives it its name biology. For this reason, since its inception in the 19th century, its distinguished itself by the study of mental processes through different elements and organic levels.

    Today, were still in the dark about certain keys to human nature. However, psychology tries to illuminate the way. As a matter of fact, much of the strength that psychobiology has today comes from having defended a method that we now consider to be scientific.

    Emotioncognition Interactions And Its Impacts On Learning And Memory

    Brain Response of Sensitive People to Emotional Pictures

    The hippocampus is located in the MTL and is thought to be responsible for the potentiation and consolidation of declarative memory before newly formed memories are distributed and stored in cortical regions . Moreover, evidence indicates that the hippocampus functions as a hub for brain network communications-a type of continuous exchange of information center that establishes LTM dominated by theta wave oscillations that are correlated with learning and memory . In other words, hippocampus plays a crucial role in hippocampal-dependent learning and declarative memories. Numerous studies have reported that the amygdala and hippocampus are synergistically activated during memory encoding to form a LTM of emotional information, that is associated with better retention . More importantly, these studies strongly suggest that the amygdalas involvement in emotional processing strengthens the memory network by modulating memory consolidation thus, emotional content is remembered better than neutral content.

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    Yes Stress Really Does Feed Cancer

    For years we’ve heard that there’s a mind-body connection between stress and cancer. The claim is anecdotal, but has a certain horse sense that appeals to reason stress is hard on the body, causing hormonal reactions that can potentially influence the development of cancerous cells.

    A 2013 study didnt quite prove the claim, but did indicate that once cancer has taken hold, stress biochemically feeds its growth. The study, by researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, focused on the effects of stress on prostate cancer, and found that stress can both reduce the effectiveness of prostate cancer drugs and accelerate the development of the cancer.

    The study team, headed by George Kulik, D.V.M., Ph.D., associate professor of cancer biology, tested the effects of behavioral stress in two different mouse models of prostate cancer.

    One model used mice that were implanted with human prostate cancer cells and treated with a drug that is currently in clinical trial for prostate cancer treatment. When the mice were kept calm and free of stress, the drug destroyed prostate cancer cells and inhibited tumor growth. However, when the mice were stressed, the cancer cells didn’t die and the drug did not inhibit tumor growth.

    After analyzing the data, researchers identified the cell signaling pathway by which epinephrine, a hormone also known as adrenaline–triggered at high levels during times of stress–sets off the cellular chain reaction that controls cell death.

    Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging : Modern Ways Of Studying The Brain

    Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging detects the change of blood flow in the brain using a magnetic field and is one of the modern ways of studying the brain. This technique can also be used on the brain in relation to behaviour. It does this by detecting the change and flow of oxygenated and deoxygenated haemoglobin during neural activity.

    Active brain areas consume more blood and fMRI machines can measure this . fMRI scans provide 3D images of the brain, producing aneuroimage of the brain with areas of activity highlighted. It is a great diagnostic tool as a result.

    Abnormalities can be detected using fMRI scans, such as showing a damaged area in the brain.

    Fig. 3: An fMRI scan shows areas of activity during tasks, such as a memory task.

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    How The Brain Takes Out Its Trash While We Sleep

    In 2013, layers were peeled back from two interrelated mysteries: the function of sleep, and how the brain removes its waste byproducts.

    While its been known for some time that the brain doesnt directly use the bodys lymphatic system to dump its toxic waste, the mechanism that it does use wasnt identified until 2012. The research team that made this discovery was led by University of Rochester neurosurgeon, Maiken Nedergaard, who dubbed the brains waste-removal mechanism the glymphatic system.

    The glymphatic system relies on cerebrospinal fluid to flush out neurotoxins via pathways separate from the lymphatic system. Among the toxins that are flushed is beta amyloid, a protein that’s found in clumps in the brains of Alzheimers sufferers.

    In 2013, Nedergaards research team followed up on this discovery by identifying hidden caves that open in the brain while we sleep, allowing cerebrospinal fluid to flush out neurotoxins through the spinal column.

    The implications of this research cant be overstated: failing to get enough sleep isnt just a bad idea for all of the reasons we already know, but over time it could also lead to neurological disorders like Alzheimers. If the studys findings are accurate, our brains need sleep to remove waste byproducts like beta amyloid that eventually become brain killers.

    The study was published in the journal, Science.

    How Exercise Makes Your Brain Grow

    Split Brain Research – Biological Psychology – Biological Psychology [AQA ALevel]

    Research into neurogenesisthe ability of certain brain areas to grow new brain cellstook an exciting turn in 2013. A study published in the journal Cell Metabolism suggests that not only can we foster new brain cell growth through exercise, but it may eventually be possible to bottle that benefit in prescription medication.

    The hippocampus, a brain area closely linked to learning and memory, is especially receptive to new neuron growth in response to endurance exercise. Exactly how and why this happens wasnt well understood until recently. Research has discovered that exercise stimulates the production of a protein called FNDC5 that is released into the bloodstream while were breaking a sweat. Over time, FNDC5 stimulates the production of another protein in the brain called Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor , which in turns stimulates the growth of new nerves and synapses the connection points between nerves and also preserves the survival of existing brain cells.

    Researchers from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard Medical School have also discovered that it may be possible to capture these benefits in a pill. The same protein that stimulates brain growth via exercise could potentially be bottled and given to patients experiencing cognitive decline, including those in the beginning stages of Alzheimers and Parkinsons.

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