Biopsychology Revision

sorts of things you should probably know 

  •         Be aware of some of the numerous cells (neurons) that exist in the human brain
  •         Be able to name and describe the basic anatomical features of the neuron: soma, axon, dendrites and terminal buttons/region.
  •         Be able to define the Action potential and describe the ‘all-or-nothing’ nature of nerve firing
  •         Understand broadly how these features are involved in the electrical activity of the neuron and in the communication of a ‘signal’ between successive neurons in a simple neural circuit
  •         Understand the importance of myelination – in health and ill-health

 

example exam questions

  1. Detail and discuss the roles of any TWO neurotransmitters.
  2. For any 2 neurotransmitters of your choice, evaluate their roles in behavior using examples of supporting experimental evidence.
  3. For any TWO neurotransmitters of your choice, evaluate their roles in behaviour using examples of supporting experimental evidence.
  4. Discuss the psychobehavioural role of 5-HT (serotonin) with reference to research exploring experimental and pharmacological manipulations of this neurotransmitter.
  5. For ONE neurotransmitter of your choice, detail and discuss the purported functions of this transmitter in psychology and behaviour, particularly focussing on how psychoactive substances affecting this neurochemical do or do not support such ideas.
  6. Describe the purported role(s) of a neurotransmitter of your choice and discuss how the effects of psychoactive drugs may or may not support these ideas.
  7. Discuss how the study of psychoactive drug effects can help us to understand neurotransmitter function in the CNS.
  8. ‘Cannabis use in adolescence may affect neurodevelopmental processes and dopamine functioning, and in so doing elevate the risk of psychosis’. Discuss.
  9. Evaluate recent neurobiological evidence which supports the link between cannabis use and schizophrenia.
  10. Describe the basic structures and functions of myelin and discuss the degree to which the cognitive impact of demyelination, caused by disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis, highlights the importance of this neuronal feature.
  11. The importance of myelin in normal psychological functioning is clearly demonstrated by the devastating effects of demyelinating disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis’. Discuss this statement.
  12.  “Is MS a good way to understand the importance of Myelin?”

 

multiple choice and quizzes

http://wps.pearsoned.co.uk/ema_uk_he_wickens_biopsych_3/114/29278/7495353.cw/index.html

 

questions you should mostly be able to answer

part I

  1. what are 2 types key brain cells?
  2. which is most common & by how much?
  3. what do the most common ones do?
  4. what are 4 core components of a neuron?
  5. what do they do?
  6. describe action potential
  7. what is myelin & what’s its function?
  8. what’s difference between white & grey matter?
  9. name 3 disease states involving myelin damage
  10. what is MS and what are it’s physical & psychological effects?
  11. what is a synapse?
  12. cannabis use in teenagers has been linked to what mental illness?
  13. what’s the theory behind this?

 

part II

  1. what is a neurotransmitter and what does it do?
  2. what are vesicles & what’s relationship with AP?
  3. what is basic receptor action?
  4. what happens to NTs after binding?
  5. What cognitive functions is ACh, acetylcholine, involved in? 
  6. What diseases is ACh deficit associated with?
  7. what bodily functions is NA, noradrenaline/norepinephrine, involved in? 
  8. what disease is NA associated with? 
  9. what brain mechanisms is DA dopamine associated with?
  10. what diseases is DA associated with & in what way i.e. high/low? 
  11. what bodily functions is 5-HT, 5-hydroxytryptamine associated with?
  12. is 5-HT inhibitory or excitatory?
  13. what is the precursor of 5-HT?
  14. what are the effects of too little 5-HT?
  15. what is a drug?
  16. what is psychopharmacology?
  17. what factors determine the effect of a drug?
  18. what is down regulation?
  19. what does an agonist do?
  20. what does an antagonist do?
  21. how do reuptake/ transporter blocker drugs work?
  22. Name some drug classification groups, examples and effects (s68) 
  23. Are stimulant drugs agonists or antagonists? (s69)
  24. What is the effect of stimulant drugs and name some example drugs (s69)
  25. What are some clinical uses of stimulant drugs? (s69) 
  26. what neurotransmitter is involved?
  27. Are depressant drugs agonists or antagonists? (s70) 
  28. What is the effect of depressant drugs and name some example drugs (s70) 
  29. What are some clinical uses of depressant drugs? (s70) 
  30. what neurotransmitter is involved? 
  31. Are hallucinogens and dissociative drugs agonists or antagonists? (s71)
  32. What is the effect of dissociative drugs? (s71) 
  33. Name some example dissociative drugs and hallucinogenic drugs (71).
  34. What can influence the effect/ experience of these drugs? (s71)
  35. what neurotransmitter is involved?
  36. What were the 3 hormones we looked at & what were their roles? 

many answers can be found in the notes here

 

essay plan I

  1. Describe the basic structures and functions of myelin and discuss the degree to which the cognitive impact of demyelination, caused by disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis, highlights the importance of this neuronal feature.

(I did this question in my actual exam this year and together with MCQs got a distinction! Below is my actual plan).

 

Intro:

Neurons & role

myelin does X

diseases such as MS & IDP & GBS cause loss

research says e.g. MS which affects cognitive and emotional – tells us importance of myelin

but debate whether it’s myelin as such or secondary effects

Body:

brief about neurons and firing [possibly draw diagram]

glial cells – oligodendrocytes – myelination

saltatory conduction – nodes

myelination vs unmylenated axons & benefits

where myelination is found

What is MS and brief effects

Nerve damage is caused by inflammation and accompanying chemical release e.g. enzymes; infl happens when immune system attacks myelin

effect on cognitive function:

fox et al (2006) – R – exec, visuo-spatial, processing speed

McIntosh-Michaelis (1991) – 200 – memory, exec

Rao (1995) – connected to white matter in cerebral hemispheres

Do an interim conclusion/ summary here

But in MS, sclerotic plaques indicate secondary inflammation…

But Chiaravalloti & DeLuca (2008) – R – memory & processing speed – BUT reorganisation

But Muhlert et al (2014) – decision speed, grey matter

link with depression:

Siegert & Abernethy (2005) – R – anxiety, depression, suicide

Chiaravalloti & DeLuca (2008) – R – depression & demy

BUT

life limiting disease so causes patient to be depressed about that

causality direction – depression causes cognitive or cog causes depression? E.g. Austin et al – R – (2001)

Conclusion/ summary:

MS is an inflammatory autoimmune disease

studies show MS causes cog & emotional issues

first look conclusive – MS shows importance of myelin

but second look – clear that MS causes issues but MS not so good to show it


 

essay plan II

  1. For ONE neurotransmitter of your choice, detail and discuss the purported functions of this transmitter in psychology and behaviour, particularly focussing on how psychoactive substances affecting this neurochemical do or do not support such ideas.

(this was my reserve essay for an exam earlier this year: maybe not as good as my MS essay. With limited time, they say you should have one and a half essays prepared!)

 

neurotransmitters are – short description

psychoactive drugs – act directly/indirectly on brain to change cns activity/beh

[Biopsychologists use pharmacology (drugs) to study neurotransmitter effects on behaviour]

talk generally about how psychoactives work – agonists/ antagonists: e.g. Reuptake, blocking

one neurotransmitter is serotonin or 5-ht

thought generally to have an effect on sleep, dreaming, mood, sex, anxiety, feeding and pain

studies and the effects of drugs give us insight into its function & effects

Phil & LeMarquand (1998) – low 5-ht = aggression, inhibition

Blundell & Halford (1998) – serotonin drugs appetite, suppression

Klaassen et al (1999) – cognitive esp LTM & mood (dep), tryptophan, but depends on history: indiv diffs

first & great insights, however, were from antidepressants which are said to affect mood

Iproniazid (1957) – Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor (enzymes) – TB unconcerned

Imipramine (1958) – tricyclic antidepressant (monoamine reuptake) – Schiz no effect

SSRIs (80s)  – e.g. Prozac, reuptake 5-ht only, anhedonia, fear failure, self-esteem, 4-6 weeks

Birmes et al (2003) – serotonin syndrome: high doses SSRIs >> hallucinations, confusion, fever

Stimmel (2006) – sexual dysfunction

BUT Kirsch et al (2008) – not effective, placebos, so casts uncertainty on 5-ht & mood

Moncrieff & Cohen (2009) – question drugs work on neurochem causes – lack of evidence

ALTHOUGH 2003 SSRI suicide warning – reduced use – increased suicide; so maybe link; BUT maybe drugs work because they give people hope?

LSD has structure like 5-HT, 5-HT2 receptors, hallucinations, disturbance, sero inhibits dream…

serotonin syndrome (above) similar to the effects of illegal substances e.g. LSD so back up?

conclusion:

studies show that serotonin is involved in X,x, & x;

connection to depression because of apparent drugs effects is questionable