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PSY2061: Laboratory report information and data collection guide
‘Exploring links between reward based motor adaptation and individual-differences in sensitivity to reward’
Brief introduction
One of the main characteristics of human behaviour is its flexibility. We must be able to detect regular patterns in our environment, and also be sensitive to disruptions to those regularities, so that we can adapt our behaviour accordingly. Imagine that the bus you have been catching to work every morning for the last few years has been late for the last three days. The decision that you must make is whether this represents merely a temporary disruption of otherwise regular scheduling (say, due to road-works), or whether the bus timetable has changed altogether (such that it is no longer stopping at the previously scheduled time). In other words, you must detect whether this irregularity represents a temporary change in an otherwise stable environment, or whether it represents a fundamental change in the environment altogether.
Individuals differ significantly in how fast they learn or adapt to these sorts of situations. The way in which decisions such as this are resolved by the brain has been studied with a paradigm known as ‘probabilistic reversal learning.’ Each of these terms refer to key aspects of the paradigm:
1. Individuals are required to learn about the relative value of stimuli presented before them (e.g., which bus you prefer to catch)
2. The values of these stimuli periodically reverse (i.e., the bus timetable changes).
3. The values of the stimuli vary probabilistically (i.e., even the bus you usually prefer to catch may sometimes be late, but on average is better than the other alternative).
Using this paradigm, we now have significant insights into the neural circuitry and computational mechanisms which mediate adaptive human behaviour. Flexible learning is mediated by a neural network comprising the prefrontal cortex and basal ganglia (Clark et al., 2004; Cools et al., 2002; Izquierdo et al., 2017, Peterson et al., 2009), and dopamine is a key neurotransmitter in this process of reversal learning. Importantly, a separate literature has revealed that dopamine is important, not only in learning, but is also critical for motivating individuals to exert effortful actions (Chong et al., 2015). Given the dual role of dopamine in motivating effortful actions, and in probabilistic reversal learning, this study will explore the relationship between effort exertion and learning. Specifically, we ask:
1. How probabilistic reversal learning can differ based on the amount of force that individuals must exert to register their responses.
2. How personality differences (e.g., in impulsivity) are related to learning.
You may have been a participant in this study, but, when writing your report, it is important that you write from the perspective of the researcher.
This experiment involved two phases. In an initial phase, the maximum voluntary contraction (MVC) for each participant was determined by squeezing each force dynamometer as hard as possible. Participants then undertook the learning task. Participants were presented with two abstract shapes, with one of these stimuli being more valuable on average than the other. The more valuable stimulus was rewarded 75% of the time, and the less valuable stimulus was rewarded 25% of the time. A rewarded stimulus was associated with a gain of one point, and an unrewarded stimulus was associated with no gain. The primary task was to learn which of the two stimuli was more valuable on every trial, and to accrue as many points as possible. Importantly, the relative value of the stimuli periodically reversed, such that the more valuable stimulus would then be worth less, and vice versa. Participants were instructed to detect when that change occurred, and switch their preferences accordingly. Stimuli were presented randomly to the left or right of fixation, and participants registered their preferences by squeezing the corresponding (left or right) dynamometer. Participants performed two blocks: one in which only a small
force needed to be applied (5% of MVC), and the other in which a harder force was required to make a choice (30% MVC). The order of blocks was counterbalanced across participants.
In order to determine the relationship between learning and impulsivity, participants were administered the revised version of the UPPS Impulsive Behaviour Scale (Whiteside & Lynam, 2001). This version, the UPPS-P, assesses five pathways: Negative Urgency, Positive Urgency, Premeditation, Perseverance, and Sensation Seeking (Cyders et al., 2007).
The key question of this study was whether there is a difference between learning rates when low or high amounts of force were applied. For the purposes of your lab report, you will answer:
1. Was there a difference in the total number of points scored during the low and high force blocks?
2. Was there a difference in the total errors during the low and high force blocks?
3. Was there a correlation between the total number of points scored and scores on a questionnaire measure of impulsivity?
Starting References: You will be provided with a number of papers that will provide you with some background and a rationale for the study that will form the basis of the Biological Laboratory Report. Copies of these are available on the PSY2061 Moodle website. Please print and read the following papers and bring them with you to your Week 7 lab class.
You do not need to understand the detail of the neuroimaging analyses or computational models
 Chong et al. (2015). Dopamine enhances willingness to exert effort for reward in Parkinson’s disease. Cortex, 69, 40-46.
o A study showing that dopamine administration increases the motivation to exert physical effort
 Clark et al. (2004). The neuropsychology of ventral prefrontal cortex: Decision-Making and reversal learning. Brain and Cognition, 55(1), 42-53
o An overview of reversal learning in the context of decision making and ventral prefrontal function.
 Cools, R. et al. (2002). Defining the neural mechanisms of probabilistic reversal learning using even-related functional magnetic resonance imaging. Journal of Neuroscience, 22(11), 4563-4567
o One of the first human neuroimaging studies on probabilistic reversal learning
 Cyders, M. A. et al. (2007). Integration of impulsivity and positive mood to predict risky behavior: Development and validation of a measure of positive urgency. Psychological Assessment, 19, 107–118.
o Background on the UPPS-P Impulsive Behavior Scale.
 Izquierdo et al. (2017) The neural basis of reversal learning: An updated perspective. Neuroscience, 345, 12-26
 A good overview of reversal learning and is neurobiology (including dopamine)
 Peterson et al. (2009). Probabilistic reversal learning is impaired in Parkinson’s disease. Neuroscience, 163(4), 1092-1101
o Examined the role of dopamine in reversal learning
 Whiteside, S. P., & Lynam, D. R. (2001). The Five Factor Model and impulsivity: Using a structural model of personality to understand impulsivity. Personality and Individual Differences,30, 669–689
o Background on the original UPPS Impulsive Behavior Scale.




PSY2061 Lab Report Marking Rubric
Student name: Poor Fair Good Very good Excellent Title (3 marks)
Title should be written in terms of the IVs and DVs

Title should be clearly written and accurately reflect the theme of the lab report and identify all relevant variables

Title should be concise <20 words

☐ Abstract (8 marks)
Summaries each of the four main sections of the report in an ordered and balanced way

Accurately describes the area of research, aim/hypotheses, participant information, method (including test names), results, main conclusions and implications.

Abstract should be no more than 150 words

☐ Introduction (24 marks)
Introduces and describes the general area of investigation.

Outlines the importance of the topic

Relevant terms and constructs are explained and defined adequately.

Coverage of the relevant literature, with sufficient consideration of method and results to put the conclusions into some perspective and allow for critique of the findings.

Logical flow between paragraphs and throughout the introduction from the general to the specific

Clearly articulated rationale showing how this experiment builds on previous research

Clear statement of aim relative to variables chosen for investigation

Hypotheses are operationalised, clear and concise.

Method (10 marks)
Participants section gives sufficient description of the sample including key demographics and sampling method.

Materials section gives a clear but brief description of the questionnaires and other materials used.

Procedure section gives a brief description of test administration and scoring

Design section clearly outlines the design of the study and defines the IV and DV

☐ Results (14 marks)
Clear statement about how data were treated prior to analysis and how analysis was conducted.

Participant and descriptive characteristics summarised and trends highlighted

Inferential statistics are presented correctly and accurately address the hypotheses

A clear understanding of the results is demonstrated

Data is presented clearly and accurately in appropriate format

☐ Discussion (24 marks)
Clear summary of the main findings, with reference to aim and hypothesis.

Discusses whether the results are consistent or inconsistent with previous studies discussed in the introduction

Interprets and synthesises the current findings in regards to the relevant research that was presented in the introduction

Briefly mentions the unique limitations of the research and how these limitations impacted the results

Suggestions made for future research that logically flow from the information presented in the report.

Appropriate theoretical and practical implications presented.

Concluding statement that ties the report together and summarises the main contention.

APA formatting (5 marks)
Correct citation and referencing style in APA 6th.

Proper formatting followed throughout in accordance with APA 6th (double spacing, page numbers, running header etc.)

Reference list and citations match

☐ Appendices (2 marks)
Inclusion of correct SPSS output. Correctly referred to in the text.

☐ Expression (10 marks)
Command of prose, punctuation, spelling and grammar is correct throughout.

☐ FINAL MARK (out of 10) can be found on Moodle


To get your Assignment/Homework solutions;

Simply Click ORDER NOW and fill your paper details. Our support team will review the assignment(s) and assign the right expert whose specialization is same to yours to complete it within your deadline. Our Editor(s) will then review the completed paper (to ensure that it is answered accordingly) before we email you a complete paper

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