Maguire et al. (2000) Flashcards Preview

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What is meant by the term 'neuroplasticity'?

Neural changes in response to the environment.


What is the hippocampus?

Main function is the involvement in memory and special recognition. Bilateral brain structure.


What is spacial navigation?

Finding your way around and remembering where you're going.


What was the main aim of Maguire's study?

-Maguire wanted to see if experience causes actual changes in the structure of the brain
-Want to see if plasticity occurs in the hippocampus in people who use it every day (taxi drivers)


What was the experimental design of this study?

Independent measure.


Outline the taxi-driver sample.

-16 right-handed male London taxi-drivers
-Aged 32-62
-All licenses taxi drivers for at least 1.5 years
-Average time they spent 'being on The Knowledge' was 2 years


What is 'The Knowledge'?

-Have to learn detailed knowledge of 25,000 streets with 6 mile radius as well as general knowledge of major routes
-Have written test on 80 routes and then interview style exam of 240 routes
-Then start learning suburban routes


Outline the control group sample.

-50 right-handed males
-Aged 32-62 years old
-Nobody with health problems included


What did Maguire do in the procedure? What 2 techniques did Maguire use to analyse the MRI scans?

Maguire took MRI scans of the males
-Used 2 different techniques for analyzing the MRI scans - Voxel-based Morphometry and Pixel counting


What is pixel-counting and how was it carried out?

-Carried out by one person - 2D analysis
-Analysed slices of the scan (24 of these slices were of the hippocampus, 6 of the posterior, 12 of the overall hippocampal volume and 6 of the anterior)


What is Voxel-based morphometry and how was it carried out?

-Measures the grey matter volume
-3D analysis
-Allows a computer program to calculate the volume of the area in the scan - in this case the grey matter volume in the MRI scans


What did they find about the overall volume of the hippocampus in pixel counting?

No difference in the overall volume of the hippocampus between taxi drivers and controls, however did show a regionally significant difference by side (right and left)


What did they find about the Anterior hippocampus in pixel counting?

-Non-taxi drivers had higher hippocampal volume in the right anterior hippocampus than in the left.


What did they find about the Hippocampus body in pixel counting?

-Taxi drivers showed no difference in overall volume in the hippocampus body compared with controls, but analysis by side showed non-taxi drivers had higher volume in right side


What did they find about the Posterior hippocampus in pixel counting?

-The taxi drivers had a generally higher volume in their posterior hippocampus than the non-taxi drivers


What did the VBM analysis show?

-In taxi-drivers there was an increase in grey matter bilaterally (left and right) in the posterior hippocampus
-Also decrease in volume bilaterally in anterior hippocampus


What were the correlational findings of Maguire's study?

-Positive correlation between volume of posterior hippocampus and length of time as taxi driver
-Negative correlation between volume of anterior hippocampus and length of time as taxi driver


What are the main conclusions of Maguire's study?

-Structure of the brain changes in response to environmental demand. This indicates plasticity as a function of increasing exposure to an environment stimulus.
-Map of London stored in posterior hippocampus