Introduction to Research Methods at the BLA

tdixon Biological Psychology Leave a Comment

GLT: Discuss how and why particular research methods are used at the biological level of analysis.

It’s important to observe in the GLT that it is clear you need to understand both ‘how’ and ‘why’ particular research methods are used at the BLA. The exam question might ask you to discuss one, or both.

You should be able to explain one example in detail to support your explanation of how and why the studies are used.

Common Research Methods:

  • Experiments (Laboratory and Natural) (e.g. Rosenzweig’s; Perry’s; MHC Genes; Davidson’s EEG and meditation;
  • Case studies (e.g. HM’s case study)

It’s important to note that the use of technology is not a research method on its own, but is used as part of an experiment, case study or correlational study.


It’s important that you can describe in detail the methodology used when adopting one of the research methods. You also need to link it specifically to biological factors. Make sure that you description applies only to the BLA and couldn’t be used for any of the other levels of analysis. If it can, it means you are too broad and vague.


Again, the important thing to remember is to link the ‘why’ to the biological factors. What is it about the biological level of analysis that makes this a useful research method to use. For example, why experiments? (think about why animal experiments are common). Why are case studies like HM’s valuable to study the brain (especially before modern brain imaging techniques were invented)?

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