Also responsible for day to day bodily functioning Peeking Inside the Brain 25

Also responsible for day to day bodily functioning

This preview shows page 5 - 7 out of 9 pages.

Peeking Inside the Brain2.5 How do psychologists study the brain and how it works? In ancient times, many early “scientists” would dissect the brains of those who died to see how it worked. The problem was you couldn’t see how it worked if it was already dead. One way to get some idea of what the various areas of the brain control is to study animals or people with damage to those areas. In animals, it could mean damaging that part of their brain deliberately. Then the researchers test what happens to its abilities. Or they may electrically stimulate the animal’s brain and watch the result.To damage or electrify the brain scientists use a process known as deep lesioning. Meaning the animal is anesthetized, a thin wire that is insulated everywhere but the very tip is thing surgically inserted into the brain of the test animal.Deep lesioningA fairly harmless way to study the brain is to record the electrical activity of the cortex below the skull. Electroencephalograph (EEG) Small metal disks electrodes are placed directed on the scalp, using a jelly-like substance to help conduct the electrical messages from the cortex just below. These electrodes are connected to an amplifier and then a computer to view the information. Beta waves indicate waking activity, alpha waves are a sign of relaxation,theta waves are associated with drowsiness and sleep, while delta waves indicate a deep stage of sleep. Scientists have recently developed a new technique involving the way EEG recordings are interpreted. The process allows identification of individual signals coming from
different areas of the brain’s surface and is called Independent Component Analysis (ICA). ICA allows a more detailed and precise interpretation of the signals coming from different areas of the brain’s surface.Another technique based on the EEG uses event-related potentials or ERPs. In ERP research, the results of multiple presentations of a stimulus are recorded and then averaged to remove the variations in random brain activity that occur in the background of any single EEG recording. The result is a measurement of the electrical potential of the brain related to the stimulus even itself or the ERP. One way to look inside the human brain without harm is to take a series of X-rays of the brain, aided by a computer A.K.A. a CT scan. MRI or magnetic resonance imaging provides much more detail, even allowing doctors to see the effects of very small strokes. The person is placed in a machine that generates a powerful magnetic field. The magnetic field allows the computer to create a 3d image of the brain and display “slices” of that image on a screen.

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture