Chapter 3 - Biological Psychology

Localization of function researchers attempts to

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Localization of function – researchers’ attempts to identify the function of each individual brain area o But areas likely work together to produce our perceptions Right and left hemispheres – many cognitive functions rely on one hemisphere more than the other (lateralization), especially those concerning language and verbal skills (split-brain surgery) o Left hemisphere Fine-tuned language skills: speech comprehension, speech production, phonology, syntax, reading, writing Actions: making facial expressions, motion detection o Right hemisphere Coarse language skills: simple speech, simple writing, tone of voice
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Visuo-spatial skills: perceptual grouping, face perception Nature Vs Nurture Genetics – science of inherited traits DNA – molecule containing organism’s genetic material Gene – section of DNA having same arrangement of chemical elements o Dominant vs. recessive genes Humans have 46 chromosomes which contain genes, our genetic material Genotype – the set of genes we inherit Phenotype – the set of observable traits o Some genes are dominant while some are recessive Natural selection – by Charles Darwin o Populations or organisms change by selective breeding with other organisms that possess some advantage o Adaptations – the changes (physical or behavioral) that make one better suited to one’s environment and ensure enhanced reproduction (fitness) Brain evolution – increases in brain size—relative to body size—over time o Humans are proportionally the biggest-brained animals o Brain areas associated with complex functions, such as the neo cortex, have evolved the most. Behavioral genetics – the field which examines the roles of nature and nurture in the origins of traits (e.g., intelligence) o Heritability – extent to which genes contribute to differences in a trait among individuals (not within a single person) A heritable trait can be altered via environmental influences Three major misconceptions about heritability o Heritability applies to a single individual rather than differences among individuals o Heritability tells us whether a trait can be changed o Heritability is a mixed number Studying heritability o Behavioral genetic designs – estimating heritability Family studies Twin studies (monozygotic/identical) vs. dizygotic/fraternal) Adoption studies
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