Exam Topics in IB Psychology Paper One

Travis Dixon Assessment (IB) Leave a Comment

See all of the possible exam topics for IB Psych Paper 1 in one place.
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The most important thing to know when studying for the IB Psychology exams are the topics. The IB Guide published by the IB has these listed. Unfortunately, the guide is a bit confusing in its layout and it’s not easy to see quickly and easily waht the topics are. That’s why I put them in this post. 

Download the following exam tables here: Exam Topics in Paper One IB Psych 2.0

Get more exam tips, example SAQs and study resources for the “additional terms” (in italics below) with this downloadable PDF – DOWNLOAD PREVIEW

If you’re trying to decide which approach to pick for the essays, the following list might help. You’ll see that the biological approach has the most. But that’s not to say it’s the most difficult approach. In fact, a lot of those topics can be combined into one. For example, if you choose your neurotransmitter properly, you could use one example and one study to cover neurotransmitters, the synapse, agonist or antagonist, and the brain and behaviour. Similarly, you need to consider which approach has good overlaps with Paper 2 and how you plan on using these overlaps. For example, you might use biological factors as etiologies of a disorder or explanations of a health problem. There’s no easy answer about which approach is best – it’s a personal choice students have to make.

Read more:

Exam Topics in Paper One (SL & HL)

Biological

Cognitive

Sociocultural

  • The brain and behaviour
  • Techniques used to study the brain *
  • Localization of function*
  • Neuroplasticity*
  • Neural network
  • Neural pruning
  • Neuron
  • Neurotransmitters and their effect on behaviour*
  • Synapse (and how these relate to excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters)#
  • Agonist
  • Antagonist
  • Hormones and their effect on behaviour*
  • Pheromones and their effects on behaviour*
  • Genes and their effects on behaviour*
  • Genetic similarities
  • Twin and kinship studies
  • Evolutionary explanation for behaviour*

 

 

 

In addition…

Research methods used in psychology to study:

  • The brain,
  • Hormones,
  • Genetics.

Ethical considerations relevant to psychological research on:

  • The brain,
  • Hormones,
  • Genetics.

 

 

 

 

17 SAQ and 10 essay topics

 

# Exam questions related to excitatory and inhibitory synapses, will allow students an option to write about one or the other. (Peter Giddens, posting on behalf of IB Assessment, MyIB Forum, Feb 08th, 2020).

  • Models of memory**
  • Multi-store memory model
  • Working memory model
  • Schema theory*
  • Cognitive schema
  • One model of thinking and decision making*
  • Rational thinking (controlled)
  • Intuitive thinking (automatic)
  • Reconstructive memory*
  • Biases in thinking and decision making*
  • The influence of emotion on cognition*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 In addition…

Research methods used in psychology to study:

  • Cognitive processes,
  • The reliability of cognitive processes,
  • Emotion and cognition.

 

Ethical considerations relevant to psychological research on:

  • Cognitive processes,
  • The reliability of cognitive processes,
  • Emotion and cognition.

 

 

 

 

 

11 SAQ and 6 essay topics

  • The individual and the group
  • Social identity theory
  • Social groups
  • Social cognitive theory
  • Formation of stereotypes
  • The effects of stereotypes on behaviour
  • Cultural origins and influences on cognition and behaviour.*
  • Cultural groups
  • Cultural dimensions*
  • Enculturation*
  • Norms
  • Acculturation*
  • Assimilation/Assimilate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition…

Research methods used in psychology to study:

  • The individual and the group
  • Cultural origins and influences on cognition and behaviour.

 

Ethical considerations relevant to psychological research on:

  • The individual and the group
  • Cultural origins and influences on cognition and behaviour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 SAQ and 9 essay topics

 

* Students should study one example.

**Students should study two examples.

Topics in italics are SAQ questions only.

Exam Topics in Paper One – HL Only Extension Essays

Biological

Cognitive

Sociocultural

  • The role of animal research in understanding human behaviour
  • The value of animal models in research to provide insight into human behaviour.
  • Ethical considerations in animal research.

The above three topics should be studied in relation to the three core topics of the biological approach:

  • The brain and behaviour
  • Hormones and pheromones and behaviour
  • Genes and behaviour
  • Cognitive processing in a technological world
  • The positive and negative influence of technology on cognitive processes.
  • Research methods used to understand the influence of technology on cognitive processes.

The above three topics should be studied in relation to the three core topics of the cognitive approach:

  • Cognitive processes,
  • The reliability of cognitive processes,
  • Emotion and cognition.
  • The influence of globalization on individual behaviour
  • The effect of the interaction of local and global influences on behaviour.
  • Research methods used to study the influence of globalization and behaviour

The above three topics should be studied in relation to the two core topics of the sociocultural approach:

  • The individual and the group
  • Cultural origins and influences on cognition and behaviour.
 

For HL students only, one, two, or all three of the essay questions in Paper One, Section B will be based on the above extension topics.

 

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