Lab assignment one: Synaptic transmission
Different substances have the potential to influence the efficiency of neurotransmitters. Agonists are those elements that facilitate the action of transmitters while antagonists are those that reduce the effect of neurotransmitters. The black widow spider venom is an agonist while botulism in an antagonist. Both the black widow spider venom and botulism have an impact on acetylcholine. Botulism inhibits the release of acetylcholine, leading to reduced muscle activities. In excess dosage, botulism may ultimately inhibit the release of acetylcholine, resulting in paralysis of different body muscles (Foster, 2014).
The black widow spider venom stimulates signaling by the acetylcholine ions and insulin secretion. The venom is chemically heterogeneous and contains amino acids and biogenic amines, proteolytic enzymes, and neurotoxic polypeptides. The neurotoxic polypeptides are the ones that stimulate the massive release of neurotransmitters by the synaptic vesicle exocytosis. The massive release of neurotransmitters leads to extra muscle movements and seizures by depleting the synaptic vessels, which eventually causes the permanent blockage of the synapse (Bettini, 2013).
Lab assignment two
Word superiority effect
Top-down processing is a mode of perceptual processing by which we perceive patterns as meaningful wholes. The top-down model suggests that we see things beginning with the general to the specific. Under-top down processing, cognition, existing beliefs as well as expectations influence the way individuals see things. Therefore, the basis of the top-down processing model is one’s knowledge of patterns as well as acquired experience. This model of perceptual processing suggests that our experiences and knowledge of patterns creates schemes. These schemes have the potential to bias our perception of particular objects or events by creating a perceptual set (Nevid, 2006). Prior to the invention of spell checkers, students were advised to read backward to avoid the perceptual set that their work was error-free. By reading backward, students can focus on specific words and identify any spelling errors. Additionally, reading backward results in the creation of a different pattern.
The Stroop effect suggests that there is a conflict between cognition and the automatic processing of information. The results of Stroop experiments show the psychological difficulty in attending to the color of the ink presented while trying to ignore the meaning of the word. Most adults have had much practice in reading. They can read effortlessly and with little attention. Additionally, they can easily and rapidly derive meaning from familiar words. When a literate adult is allowed to see items consisting of words in a language they are familiar with, they can’t help but read them. Reading is an automatic process which is difficult to inhibit and which requires little attention (Galotti, 2009).
When color words are printed in a language that one does not understand, the automatic process is inhibited. If the colors match with the phrase, it will be easy for one to make out the meaning. However, it would be impossible to make out the meaning of each word if the colors and the words do not match. The response time will be longer due to the interference. Attending to both the color and the meaning of the words will become more difficult in such a scenario compared to when the words are presented in a language that one understands.
Bettini, S. (2013). Arthropod Venoms (10th ed). Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
Foster, K. (2014). Clinical applications of botulinum neurotoxin (5th ed). New York: Springer.
Galotti, K. (2009). Cognitive psychology. Toronto: Nelson Education.
Nevid, J. (2006). Essentials of psychology. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Co.