In a broad sense, optogenetics uses genetically addressable photosensitive tools to monitor and control activity of living cells and tissue. This paper focuses on causal manipulation of neural populations by delivering light to light-sensitive ion channels or other proteins called microbial opsins. This enables refined manipulation of specific types or compartments of neurons with millisecond precision, whereas traditional electrical brain stimulation affects all neurons in a given area. Additionally, intracellular pathways can be studied using opto-XRs which could aid psychopharmacological research. Recent studies have applied optogenetics to psychology, leading to new experiments and yielding interesting results. Thus, this paper attempts to make optogenetics accessible to psychologists to enrich existing psychological research methods.
How to Cite:
Lamballais, S., 2013. Optogenetics and its Applications in Psychology: Manipulating the Brain Using Light. Journal of European Psychology Students, 4(1), pp.87–100. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/jeps.bc