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This programme looks at the psychologists approach to the study of behaviour and explanation. The first part of the programme is a detailed presentation of an experiment set up to answer the questi...on 'do the left hand and right hand side of the brain perform in the same way?'. The task set the brain, and the audience, is a tricky one and involves quick spatial judgements. The programme also discusses the use of animals in psychology, as simpler systems that are open to a greater degree of experimental manipulation than human beings.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: SD286, "Biology, brain and behaviour"
Item code: SD286; 03
First transmission date: 28-03-1981
Published: 1981
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:24:30
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Producer: Jenny Hughes
Contributors: Gillian Cohen; F. M.(Frederick M.) Toates
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Brain damage; Opiate addiction; Psychology
Footage description: Excerpts from the BBC Horizon programme "Explosion in the mind" showing patients with hemispheric brain damage undergoing psychological testing. A patient with damage to the left hemisphere is asked to recite the days of the week and a patient with right hemisphere damage is asked to work out a spatial puzzle. Neither is successful. Fred Toates, in the studio, explains how observations of brain damaged individuals led to the idea that the hemispheres of the human brain tend to specialise in functions. He goes on to discuss, with the aid of a model of the brain, an experiment which shows that the language function is localised in the left hemisphere of the brain for right handed people. Film of a patient undergoing tests after a hemisphere separation operation. She can identify numbers by signs but cannot say them. With the aid of diagrams, Fred Toates outlines an experiment which would allow psychologists to test normal people for differences in function of their brain hemispheres. He points out some of the difficulties of designing such an experiment, Gill Cohen, Oxford University, looks at a specific experiment to test hemispheric brain differences which was originally developed by Graham Ratcliffe at Churchill Hospital, Oxford. In this experiment the subject is asked to indicate in which hand a ball is being held by a figure which is flashed on the screen of a T-scope. Shots of the experiment in progress. Gill Cohen talks the subject through it. Afterwards the subject discusses some of the difficulties he had doing the experiment. Gill Cohen then sums up the results of trials with this and other subjects and explains that the results appear to support the hypothesis of hemispheric specialisation for normal people. Fred Toates and Gill Cohen discuss the results of the above experiment. Over shots from a Horizon programme, "Children vote with their feet", Fred Toates introduces a sequence on studies, by psychologists, of animal behaviour. Also shots of a chimpanzee language experiment and of a rat in a Skinner box. Fred Toates goes on to point out that some strictly controlled laboratory experiments such as use of Skinner boxes may give false results because the animal is in an alien environment. Shots of rats in their natural environment. Excerpts from the Bayer UK Ltd. film "Dangerous thieves". This deals with an experiment in rat behaviour done in a laboratory set up which closely resembles the rat's natural environment. In this experiment the rats are allowed to consume opiate drugs on demand. The consumption of these rats is compared with that of rats kept in cages. Finally excerpts from a Horizon programme "A touch of sensitivity" shows an experiment in human behaviour. This experiment, conducted in the library of Purdue University, Indiana, involves the effect of a subtle qesture, a brief touch of readers' hands by a library assistant, on perception and experience. Commentary by Fred Toates sums up the experiment.
Master spool number: HOU3593
Production number: FOUS178S
Videofinder number: 2075
Available to public: no