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NOTES ON CHAPTER 1-1

NOTES ON CHAPTER 1-1 - NOTES ON CHAPTER 1 Here I am writing...

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NOTES ON CHAPTER 1 Here I am writing notes on Chapter 1 even though I have made a decision not to take questions from Chapter 1 in the textbook. As you can see, I provided some information not in Chapter 1, but intended to get you thinking about topics which relate to Chapter 1. I find the book chapter seems to argue how you should interpret things before you even know what topics will be covered in this course. So study these notes, but you can skip Chapter 1 in the book. Chapter 1 material attempts to get you thinking about science and about Biopsychology as a neuroscience. I hope to get you attention in thinking about some issues and some history which will get you thinking about Biopsychology. Our culture values science, but many people on the street don’t want to believe it or to understand it. The scientific tradition extends back a long way. Science involves making observations, sometimes doing an experiment, and using logic to understand how to interpret what we have seen. Our question is always “What do the data show?” Sometimes we don’t like the findings, but we have to accept them until new and better information comes our way. In science we always expect that new interpretations could be just around the next corner. Consider the case of climate change. In class we showed you a graph of global temperature for the last 130 years. From the 1930s until about 1975 the temperature doesn’t change, but it has been climbing ever since. I hate this finding, but these data were interpreted by 3,000 world climate scientists to say that the earth is warming and they are 90% sure that humans are causing it. The science here seems clear, but a huge number of people in our population say this is not so and that this is a hoax perpetuated by climate scientists so they can ask for more research money. We looked ahead by showing a graph indicating the amount of people, adults and children who are overweight and obese in both 1980 and 2008. This data was obtained in what is called a quasiexperimental study. In a true experiment we treat our various groups of subjects differently and then see if they behave differently. Suppose one group gets a drug and another group gets a placebo. The drug condition is the independent variable which we regulate. Their behavior can be the dependent variable.
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