• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discuss Environmental and Physiological Effects on Cognition

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐In the past, people primarily related physiological processes to be influenced by genetics only and therefore it was largely believed that the brain was fixed. Now, it is said that certain effects of the environment can affect physiological processes. It can be induced that the there is a bidirectional relationship between both the environment and physiology as cognition can affect biology and vice versa. The two effects of the environment on physiological processes that will be discussed include the enrichment of certain environments on brain plasticity and that higher levels of melatonin contribute to seasonal affective disorder. In Rosenthal?s experiment, he hypothesized that seasonal depression is due to high melatonin in the body was due to a lack of light. He therefore conducted light therapy to help patients suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). There was a selected 29 patients of 2000 who reported suffering from depressions in fall and winter who contacted Rosenthal?s team to be a part of this treatment. ...read more.


In Rosenzweigs and Bennets (1972) study, rats were placed in two different environments. The independent variable was the type of environment the rats were exposed to. One environment was stimulating which contained enrichment items such as toys and the other was deprived with no form of entertainment. These rats spent about 30-60 days in their respective environments and were killed at the end for a post-mortem study. This allowed researchers to dissect and measure the cortexes. The results were that rats that lived in the stimulating environment had a thicker cerebral cortex and heavier frontal lobe than the rats that lived in the deprived environment. This experiment, while demonstrating that a rat?s brain is literally shaped by the environment, is not 100% conclusive as it lacks ecological validity. Even though rats may be mammals, the findings cannot be wholly generalized to humans as the brain and environmental inputs differ between humans and animals such as rats. ...read more.


Correlation may not be causation in this bidirectional ambiguity problem. To fully confirm her findings, Maguire would theoretically have to take 40 guys and force 20 of them to learn ?the Knowledge? test and measure the hippocampus before that. This form of longitudinal study would not be time efficient, as it would take an incredibly long time of 1 to 2 years. It is simply something that could be expanded upon in order to further develop Maguire?s original study. Despite this limitation, Maguire?s experiment is convincing as she also conducted other tests by looking at the brain scans of bus drivers and trainee taxi drivers to vary her subjects so that it wouldn?t be limited to only a certain group. In the end her study was groundbreaking as her finding showed that physiological processes do affect human brain plasticity. In conclusion, the two discussed effects of the environment on physiological processes are enrichment on brain plasticity and climate effects on melatonin and behavior. With evidence provided by supporting studies and theories, it can be stated that there is a bidirectional relationship between the environment and physiological processes. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Psychology essays

  1. Testing the effect of different types of music on memory.

    now aware that listening to music does not help memory and revising school work. Another strength in the experiment was the broad range of culture differences. In Tang's psychology study (2006) he noticed brain differences between English and Chinese readers affecting other task.

  2. IA stroop effect

    I plan to conduct a Stroop Test and would like to use Mrs Carter's Year 12 psychology class as a sample group for the test. In the Stroop Test, students are given a list of words to read. Each word is printed in a different colour.

  1. Internal Assessment on Stroop Effect

    The standard deviation or dispersion of data was also far greater for color recognition, however for the data set of 15 year olds, it was significantly greater. This is most likely due to the fact that there was a larger number of 15 year olds in the sample, therefore there

  2. Factors relating to Substance Abuse and Addicitve Behviours

    to alleviate their stress, have a neutral outlook on smoking, and if smoking if acceptable in their society, then this makes it more likely that they will have the intention to and therefore more likely that they will follow through with the action of smoking, than if the individual believed

  1. Explain how environmental processes can affect one physiological process.

    In addition, the brain demonstrates tremendous plasticity in the wake of injury. Neuroplasticity functions in two directions; basically it is responsible for deleting old connections as frequently as it enables the creation of new ones. This particular progression called "synaptic pruning" connections that are inefficient or occasionally used are allowed

  2. Examine one interaction between cognition and physiology in terms of amnesia

    During the next visit to the psychiatrists Eve White held her head as if she suddenly got a severe headache. But to the surprise of the psychiatrists it was in fact a different personality who appeared. Eve Black was her name and was the complete opposite of Eve White.

  1. Where does Schizophrenia Lie in the Spectrum of Nature vs Nurture?

    For example, a healthy person would probably feel happy if something good has happened in their life, however a schizophrenic would not have any emotions towards it. Furthermore, Negative symptoms ?can appear several years before the first period of schizophrenia.? Negative symptoms could possibly represent a change in sleep patterns,

  2. Psychology. Discuss two errors in attributions.

    Heine et al. (1999), found that certain collectivistic societies such as China and Japan tend to attribute success to the society as a whole. Where individualistic countries such as USA and The UK tend to attribute success to individuals and not society.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work