Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

Rate My Essay?

Recommended Posts

Hello, everyone!

 

As you all know, the IB Psych exam is in early May, which is right around the corner. In my class, I have only done one practice Paper 1 and one practice Paper 2, so I haven't gotten much in terms of feedback. My teacher refuses to grade any practice essays that I write on my own time because she says that if she does so for one student, she would have to do it for everyone. Therefore, I was wondering if anyone could please take a look at this practice essay and rate it on a scale from 1 to 7 or give me suggestions. Thank you so much to anyone who decides to help me out! Also, I apologize if this is in the wrong section or if this is against the rules. I checked the rules and I didn't see anything that forbids this. 

__________________________________________________________________________

 

Discuss two effects of the environment on physiological processes.

 

Psychologists often assume a bidirectional approach when it comes to physiology and the environment, meaning that the environment can influence physiology and vice versa. Physiology is defined as the branch of biology that deals with the normal functions of living organisms and their parts. Some examples of physiological processes include hormones, neurotransmission, and the function of the human brain. In this essay, the effect of an enriched environment on brain plasticity and the effect of the observation of experienced actions in the activation of mirror neurons will be discussed.

 

Interaction with objects and other elements of an enriched environment results in brain plasticity. An enriched environment can be defined as an environment offering plenty of stimuli. Brain plasticity refers to the brain’s lifelong ability to rearrange its connections with neurons as a result of learning or experience. A study conducted by Rosenzweig and Bennett investigates the effect of an enriched environment on brain plasticity. The aim of the study was to determine the effect of a deprived or enriched environment on the development of neurons in the cerebral cortex. The researchers conducted the study by placing rats in either an enriched environment or a deprived environment. The enriched environment contained interesting toys while the deprived environment had no toys. After 30 to 60 days, the rats were euthanized. The depend variable, the weight of the rats, was measured to determine the amount of brain plasticity the rats experienced. It was found that the rats were kept in the stimulated environment had a thicker cortex and heavier frontal lobe than the rats in the deprived environment. The frontal lobe is associated with thinking, planning, and decision-making. Based on these results, the researchers concluded that the greater weight and quantity of neural connections of the brains of the rats in the enriched environment must have been the result of the toys and increased stimulation. A limitation of this study is that it lacks ecological validity because it took place in a laboratory setting. Therefore, the results cannot be applied to real life. Since the study was conducted on rats, the results may not be applicable to humans, because the brain structure of a rat is not identical to the brain structure of a human, though similarities exist. Also, there were ethical concerns, as the rats in the study were euthanized. Though, it can be argued that the deaths of the rats were not in vain as the study contributed to the knowledge of brain plasticity. The Rosenzweig and Bennett study shows the effect of an enriched environment on brain plasticity as the rats in the enriched environment developed more neural connections than the rats in the deprived environment.

 

Another example of a study that shows the influence an enriched environment has on brain plasticity is the Draganski et al study. The aim of this study was to determine if learning a new motor skill, juggling, would result in functional or structural changes in the human brain. The researcher split 21 females and 3 males into two groups. One group had to spend 3 months learning a juggling routine for a minimum of 60 seconds every day. In the beginning of the study, MRI scans showed no structural difference in the groups’ brains. After the 3 months, the participants in this group sent another 3 months not practicing juggling. After the first 3 months, the juggling group experienced an increase in volume of the jugglers’ brains associated with the retention of visually detected movement information. After 3 more months, the difference in volume became less pronounced. A concern about this study is how it was ensured that the participants in the experimental group juggled every day for at least 60 seconds. This study had high ecological validity, as it is not unreasonable that an individual would want to learn how to juggle and practice every day as a result. The results have low representational generalization, as the study involved 21 females and only 3 males. This study relates to the effect of an enriched environment on brain plasticity as it showed how the learning of a new motor skill resulted in greater volume of the brain in the area associated with the retention of info related to visually detected movement.

 

Another way in which the environment influences the brain has to do with how people learn through a process involving mirror neurons. Mirror neurons fire when an animal or person performs an action or when the animal/person observes someone else performs an action. Mirror neurons may explain why learning can occur through observation and may also be an explanation for empathy. Mirror neurons were discovered by a group led by Rizzolatti. They placed electrodes in the inferior frontal cortex of macaque monkeys’ brains to study neurons dedicated to control of hand movement. They discovered some neurons responded in the same way when monkeys saw a person pick a peanut as when they were picking up a peanut themselves. One study that shows the effect of observing behavior on mirror neurons was conducted by Lacoboni (2004). The aim of the study was to determine if viewing an emotion expressed on someone’s face would cause the brain of the observer to be stimulated. Participants were asked to look at human faces while in an fMRI. They were asked to imitate the face and where then asked to look at the human face again. It was found that the same area of the brain was activated both times. This study had low ecological validity due to its laboratory setting in that the methods and setting of the study do not reflect the real world. This study relates to the effect of observing behavior on mirror neurons as the same area of the brains of the participants activated when they observed the emotion as when they imitated it.

 

In conclusion, the environment has a major influence on physiology, as shown by the effect of an enriched environment on neuroplasticity and the impact of observing behavior on mirror neurons. This supports the assumption of the bidirectional approach in relation to the environment and physiology in that the environment has a major influence on the structure and function of the brain.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello :D 
It's good! However, i think that it would be better to write more about the brain plasticity and analyse better the research studies and their conclusions because this is supposed to be a long essay not a short. 
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not familiar with these studies so I'm afraid I can't help too much, but you should have years for all the studies you talk about. If you use a study with et al., use 'researchers', not 'researcher'. At one place, you wrote 'depend variable', but it's dependent.

 

My teacher also requires that we write the independent and dependent variables for all studies, if the design is within- or between-subjects, mention the type of the study (laboratory/field/natural experiment) and sampling (convenience, purposive, etc).

 

Generally, you could probably include more theoretical background, especially on brain plasticity.

 

Otherwise, your essay looks mighty fine, but I'm not even remotely qualified to grade it, so I won't. I think you're doing really well though. Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi there,

 

I think your essay is quite good as it is! Personally I'd rate it a 6, or maybe a high-end 5 if I was a bit tight (just because, you know, sometimes you might run into a really strict examiner x.x).

 

 

Some ways to improve:

 

I noticed that two of your body paragraphs both begin quite similarly, with the word "Another ..." which seemed a bit repetitive to me. Maybe try rephrasing one of them, for example, "The Draganski et al. study also demonstrates how an enriched environment has an influence on brain plasticity." or something along those lines.

 

Also our teacher usually has us put key definitions in the introduction, so like define brain plasticity and mirror neurons in the intro instead of in the body paragraphs; he says it's better organization that way. But to be honest I don't think it's too much of a big deal so it's up to you whether you want to leave it in your body paragraphs or move them up into the intro. ^^

 

Overall I think you did a great job!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not familiar with these studies so I'm afraid I can't help too much, but you should have years for all the studies you talk about. If you use a study with et al., use 'researchers', not 'researcher'. At one place, you wrote 'depend variable', but it's dependent.

 

My teacher also requires that we write the independent and dependent variables for all studies, if the design is within- or between-subjects, mention the type of the study (laboratory/field/natural experiment) and sampling (convenience, purposive, etc).

 

Generally, you could probably include more theoretical background, especially on brain plasticity.

 

Otherwise, your essay looks mighty fine, but I'm not even remotely qualified to grade it, so I won't. I think you're doing really well though. Good luck!

my teacher went to an ib psychology workshop in lithuania and he said that they told him that years are not necessary 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

overall its good but i recommend going more in depth in the case studies since this is a long essay question, you can talk about the design (independent or repeated measure) and the sampling type and the nature of the experiment then more in depth analyse the relation of the results to the question. also my teacher showed us an ib psychology site that hes subscribed to that is written by the author of an ib psychology book (the oxford one) , and the author said on his site that for example since your talking about the effect of the environment and you mentioned the rat case study, you can indirectly throw in or relate one of the BLOA such as that rates are 90% similar to humans thus this case studys results can also be applied on humans. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.