1 In his article, Guy Sutton outlines exciting developments in the world of modern brain research (i.e. neuroscience), and covers a range of research studies. One topic area for research is the link between early institutional deprivation and brain structure. Sutton says that animals were used to avoid the practical and ethical problems of designing experiments with human participants. Describe some of the possible practical and ethical problems that might arise with human participants. Relate your comments specifically to research on institutional deprivation and brain structure.
2 Sutton goes on to summarise a recent follow-up study to the Romanian ERA study which showed systematic decreases in total brain volume (TBV) that were ‘dose dependent’ (i.e. varied directly with the amount of deprivation). The research also showed that certain brain regions were affected more than others. What are some of the key limitations of making direct causal statements about the effects of deprivation on the brain and associated cognitive and behavioural measures (such as IQ and symptoms of ADHD)? How do the wider findings of ‘compensatory’ brain structure (for example, development of brain resilience) support the idea of neuroplasticity?
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