Maguire et al

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Neuroplasticity - Refers to the brain's ability to rearrange the connections between its neurons. That is - the changes that occur in the structure due to learning and experience.

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Maguire et al
1 Aim: To determine whether there are changes in the brains of humans experiences of extreme spatial navigation.
2 Participants: 16 male licensed London cab drivers between the ages of 32-62, all were right handed, all were described as having healthy medical, neurological and psychiatric profiles.
2.1 Control group: Selected 50 scans from the structural MRI scan database at the same center where the cab drivers were scanned. All scans were from healthy right handed males aged between 32-62. They were not cab drivers.
3 Procedure: Quasi experiment. Independent variable is cab drivers. Dependent variable is volume of hippocampus. Data was collected through two different techniques of analysing MRI scans. These were voxel based morphology and pixel counting.
4 Results:
4.1 Cab drivers: increase in volume of posterior hippocampus. But it didn't change the overall size of the hippocampus. Therefore the volume of the anterior hippocampus has decreased.
4.2 Control group: Greater volume of anterior hippocampus, but the overall size is the same.
4.3 Correlations: Positive correlation between volume of grey matter in posterior hippocampus and time as a cab driver. Negative correlation between volume of grey matter in the anterior hippocampus and time as a cab driver.
5 Conclusion:
5.1 People who have experience extreme spatial navigation will have an increased size of their posterior hippocampus compared to those who have not experience extreme spatial navigation.
6 Evaluation:
6.1 Androcentric
6.2 Only 16 people studied
6.3 All right handed and aged 32-62. Ignores left handed and other aged people.
6.4 Right handed is a control - limiting extraneous variables.
6.5 Control group don't know scans are being used - no right to withdraw.
6.6 On database, therefore likely to have given consent.
6.7 Characteristic of control group similar to cab drivers.
6.8 Two methods used to look at scans allows for comparison of results.
6.9 Results from pictures so may not be accurate.

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