Micro Life Zone
Asked by roxysurfingchic24 to Emma, Sarah, Peter, Kristyn, Josie on 26 Aug 2013. This question was also asked by cciiaarraa, jessg13, sithumi, jaypatel7.
Keywords: experiment, favourite
One of the most elegant ones I did was a ‘social defeat paradigm’ followed by ‘social approach/avoidance’.
We had some adolescent rats put in cages with older dominant, bullying rats. There wasn’t a lot of fighting, mostly just threats. But later, when we put those bullied rats in a cage with another adolescent, they would avoid any social contact. Non-bullied rats are always happy to meet and hang out with other rats. It was a really big effect and it would last until they were fully grown adults.
I thought it was such a good model for bullying in humans, and I was really struck by the results.
We do a nice one called the Rubber Hand Illusion — it’s when you take a person’s hand out of their view, put a fake rubber hand in front of them, and then stroke both the rubber hand and their real hand (which is hidden) at the same time. People then start to feel as though the rubber hand is their real hand! It’s thought to be the brain’s way of making sense of what it sees and what it feels. It’s quite creepy actually.
Once I got middle school studnets to come into a sleep laboroatory to test whether having lots of sugar before bedtime made it hard to get to sleep. So I had two groups…..one had a normal meal for dinner, the other had a very high meal, including a chocoe drink , with pure glucodin in it. The students were getting paid a bit of money to do the study…but even the money couldn’t convince the studnets to drink that horribly sweet drink !! It was funny.
But we still manged to finish the experiment. What did we find?
Eating a lot of sugar before bedtime made it more difficult to concentrate and sit still, but their sleep was OK…Interesting!
What an interesting question!
My favourite experiments that I do in the lab involve a technique called immunohistochemistry-this allows us to identify cell types in our brain samples and we can make beautiful pictures that show what these cells look like and give us clues about how they behave.
In neuroscience, my favourite experiment are those that involved a patient called HM (Henry Molaison) who had brain surgery to cure his epilepsy. The parts of the brain that were removed are involved in learning and memory so poor HM couldn’t make new memories, even though his epilepsy was apparently cured. So HM put himself forward for study and through him, neuroscientists have been able to learn a lot about how memories are formed.
In science in general, my favourite is the Large Hadron Collider, which is a gigantic ring underneath Switzerland and France. This experiment involved a massive international cooperative effort and is trying to answer questions about how the universe was formed, what its made of, etc. I think its amazing because of its huge size, the number of people working on it and the ambition behind the experiments that are being conducted.
My own experiments are actually quite boring to do – the theory behind them is fascinating, but they’re quite tedious!!
In vision science, my favourite experiments to read about are one where they use virtual reality set-ups to test how we process different sorts of visual information.
In these experiments the researchers get people to walk through a virtual reality world, and because this is controlled by computers, they can put anything they want there! So they can put different coloured, sized, shaped, placed (etc) objects in the person’s way, and record their eye-movements while they’re walking along. These are really awesome experiments because you can control the environment exactly, which you can’t always do in the real world!!
thanks for that
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