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9 Features                                                                                                                ...
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Science 7 P9


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Science 7 P9

  1. 1. 9 Features REDBRICK 1311 / 11th MAY Weird Science A day in the life of... Love thy bank robber A year-abroad student by Stuart Coleman any lengths in order to Owen Cain explores the bizarre phe- reach the lever, including running across a painful nomenon of Stockholm syndrome electric grid. These and similar and the science of compulsion experiments suggested that a ‘squirt’ of dopamine from the dif- IN 1973 two armed crimi- is almost impossible to fuse modulatory system Simon Bishop nals marched into a bank study in animals it is very was the biological basis in Stockholm, strapped easy to measure their of a rewarding experi- on the great dynamite to four drug addiction. Studies ence. This hypothesis is hostages, and held them investigating the biology supported by the obser- monkey puzzle captive for over five days of addiction have consis- vation that many drugs before finally being tently found that a chem- produce pleasure by arrested by the authori- ical called dopamine stimulating dopamine ONCE again exams are ties. After their rescue it plays a crucial part in the release from VTA neu- upon us, just as the sun was found that the process. rons. For example, is finally coming out in a hostages had developed Dopamine is a chemi- amphetamines and mischievous attempt to “positive feelings” cal synthesised by two cocaine directly affect draw us away from revi- towards the criminals collections of neurons, dopamine release and sion. Ah, revision! A time and, irrationally, “nega- both found in the base of reuptake, opiates such as for learning and dedica- tive feelings towards fam- the brain. One is in a heroine remove a ‘biolog- tion. A time for thinking, ily, friends and the region called the ventral ical brake’ put on the VTA ALL students of a mod- well organised. The dis- about what you know, authorities trying to res- tegmental area (VTA) and by other neurons, and ern language at cipline in French class- what you need to know cue them”. One of the the other in the substan- nicotine increases the Birmingham take a year rooms is rigid; there is and more: a time, in hostages went on to tia nigra. These neu- chance that VTA neurons abroad in their third very little talking essence, to think about marry one of the crimi- rons are part of the ‘dif- will fire. Furthermore, year. The French amongst students dur- thinking. nals, and another set up a fuse modulatory system’, during the process of Department has links ing lessons and those This ability, called fund to pay for the crimi- which is analogous to a addiction, stimuli previ- with many universities that do venture to open metacognition, was once nals’ defence fees. sprinkler system: when ously sufficient to evoke all over France and, their mouths are imme- assumed to be a human- Psychologists could find depending on your diately put in their specific ability. Humans no rational reason for the grades and preferences, place. were, of course, the only development of these you are allocated to one Occasionally I do ape with a mind. We strong emotional attach- of these in your second actually venture into alone could mentally ments, which have come year. I was very fortu- hugely daring waters time travel, empathise to be seen as direct con- nate in being allowed and try to speak French. and know when we did- sequences of the hostage- the opportunity to go to When the locals have n’t know. After all, have captor relationship. This my first choice location, stopped laughing they you ever seen a chim- bizarre phenomenon was Paris. And it is from sometimes even under- panzee flustered at not christened ‘Stockholm here that I will try and stand what I mean and knowing its times syndrome’. express a day in the life I'm able to purchase tables? As a neuroscience of a year abroad stu- goods with relative A series of ingenious student I am interested dent. ease. Parisian super- studies over the last few in, and for ever in awe of, My typical day in markets are an experi- years have put paid to the human brain and how France will begin at a ence in themselves. The such anthropocentric it influences behaviour. mildly ungodly hour idea of having someone snobbery, from ele- The adult brain is com- such as nine or ten. to help with packing is a phants recognising their posed of a complex net- This is not because I risible nonsense for the own reflections to gam- work of some one hun- wake with any great French, so if you make bling rhesus monkeys. dred billion nerve cells enthusiasm to embrace the provincial mistake These monkeys were (neurons), which at any the new day, but of buying a week’s shop- trained in a simple task, given moment are either because I happen to live ping at once then such as recognising on or off. Such an next to a very busy remember to pack as ‘which line is longer’ or arrangement has led square in central Paris, fast as you possibly can ‘which picture contains some researchers to talk and the offensively or they are liable to more objects’, and then of the ‘cerebral comput- noisy but ruthlessly stare, point or laugh at trained to bet a number er’. Although this model efficient street-cleaning you (and that’s just the of virtual tokens is now considered too machines are out in staff!). depending on their con- simplistic, it still pro- force before the tourists In the evening there fidence in their answer. vides a useful way of to make sure Paris’ are so many options for Higher risk bets would thinking about the brain. streets and image are where to go out that it's get them to a banana pel- Most scientists assume Will this cat burglar develop Stockholm syndrome? kept pristine. tough to choose, so I let food reward faster, as that behaviour is an In a stereotypical often end up going to long as they were cor- emergent property of the it’s turned on the brain is VTA activity are no longer haze I then purchase a the same places that I rect. firing of these neurons, showered with a cocktail able to do so, which fits baguette from the local know. There are (too) Remarkably, if so that complex behav- of chemicals, including with the observation that boulangerie and have a many Anglophone bars unsure, the animals ioural problems such as dopamine. Researchers addicts lose the ability to late breakfast. On a uni- in Paris and they are would place a low risk, Stockholm syndrome are have studied the effect of find pleasure in previous- versity day (which can quite hard to avoid; the one token bet, and could ultimately due to inap- the diffuse modulatory ly pleasurable activities. be as rare as two days a ease of speaking with apply such markers of propriate neural activity. system on motivation and Application of these week for some lucky others of your native certainty to any number Whilst a complete neural addiction, implanting findings to Stockholm souls) I make my way language is sometimes of challenges without explanation of behaviour stimulatory electrodes syndrome is at best tenu- from my local metro too hard to pass by. further training. It really will require at least into specific neurons in ous, but one could imag- stop, Chatelet, out to Wherever you go, how- does look like they know another generation of the rat brain and allowing ine a change in the the shambles that is the ever, it is always lively what they know. neuroscientists, consider- the rats to stimulate hostage’s brain whereby new building of Paris VII and there is always a Hopefully you will able breakthroughs have themselves by pressing a the bank robber becomes University. Even though real buzz about the city. too in the next few recently been made. lever. This method is associated with a squirt the structure is brand After a night out with weeks. I wish you all the Arguably, one of the called Intracranial Self of dopamine: despite the new, it has been friends a taxi home to best of luck in exams. defining features of Stimulation (ICSS). negative consequences of designed in such an Chatelet costs me very Meanwhile, here is Owen Stockholm syndrome is The idea behind this the hostage-captor rela- awful way that navigat- little, as Paris is a small Cain, delving into the its compulsive aspect: paradigm is that pleasur- tionship, the dopamine ing its labyrinth of corri- city, and they are cheap- inner workings of some people actively seek to able stimulation causes compels the hostage to dors and stairwells is an er than Birmingham of the more peculiar maintain the relationship repeated pressing of the maintain the relationship. unfathomable mystery, anyway. habits of the brain. despite its negative lever. Self stimulation of If this is true, then phar- and I've even had to So it is that with a nature. This is very the VTA (dopamine-pro- macological modulation help hapless tutors find frankly tedious trek up For a summary of similar to drug addiction, ducing neurons) was cor- of dopamine release and their way around (and the six flights of stairs Science news over the where addicts will go to related with an inordi- metabolism could be a they work there!). to my flat, I collapse Easter break, visit almost any lengths to get nately high number of rational way of treating The classes normal- into bed ready to do the Redbrick Online their next fix. Where the lever presses. In fact, Stockholm syndrome. ly last two and a half same the next day. biology of relationships rats would go to almost hours and are generally