How to explain a psychological study

Travis DixonRevision and Exam Preparation, Studies and Theories

Whether it’s for an extended essay, a test or an exam, writing about psychological studies can be a challenging task. This post is designed to help you focus your attention and efforts so you can write the best explanations possible. We’ll begin by breaking down the studies and then look at some examples.  The Short Answer 100-200 words Focus on …

The Working Memory Model (Baddeley and Hitch, 1974)- A Simple Summary

Travis DixonCognitive Psychology

At first glance the working memory model can be very complicated and overwhelming. This post will break it down into four simple steps so you can understand it. Step One: What is “working memory?” Step Two: What are the “slave systems?” Step Three: What is the “central executive?”  Step Four: What is the “episodic buffer?” The Working Memory Model 1. …

Key Theory & Studies: The empathy-altruism hypothesis (Batson et al. 1981 & 1982)
An explanation of prosocial behaviour

Travis DixonKey Studies, Social and Cultural Psychology, Studies and Theories

Why do people help others? It’s a simple question but it intrigues psychologists because it doesn’t make sense evolutionarily speaking. In this post we look at one simple explanation: empathy.  Why do we humans help one another when there’s nothing to be gained for ourselves? This seems to contradict what we know about evolutionary psychology – that we instinctively look …

Key study: Working memory and a dual task study on chess (Robbins et al. 1996)

Travis DixonCognitive Psychology, Key Studies

Looking for a study that supports the working memory model? Here’s a good one. Working memory is the stuff we’re thinking about right now. The working memory model (WMM) was an elaboration of the multi-store model of memory (MSM) as it zooms in on the short-term store and explains how our short-term (working) memory actually works. If you can comprehend …

Can you bench-press your way out of depression?
The relationship between strength and depressive symptoms.

Travis DixonAbnormal Psychology

The common explanation for increased rates of depression for boys and men is because they’re unwilling to seek help and talk about their feelings. Personally, I have my doubts about this explanation. An alternative explanation is that men are becoming physically weaker, and this is leading to the psychological problems. But what does the research say? Before we get to …

The Warrior / Worrier Hypothesis
A biological explanation of stress

Travis DixonBiological Psychology, Health Psychology

The following is adapted from our textbook, Stress: A Student’s Guide for IB Health Psychology. Are some people naturally more stressed than others? The Warrior / Worrier hypothesis says yes. This theory identifies the specific gene that explains stress levels.  The Basic Theory How do genes affect stress? How you respond to stress could be based on your COMT gene. …

#2 Best Study Tip for IB Psych: Use Flashcards

Travis DixonRevision and Exam Preparation

Flashcards are the most effective way for remembering lots of information. That’s why it’s important to use them when studying for your exams. They’re great for things like key terms, studies and theories. You could use digital apps like Quizlet or make hard copies. If hard copy, you could use the Leitner System or the Three Pile System.  How good …

#4 Best Study Tip for IB Psych: Match Topics with Studies

Travis DixonRevision and Exam Preparation

Only 3% of IB Psychology students get 7s. There’s very little room for error if you’re aiming for top marks.  The biggest error I see some students making is using the wrong studies. For example, the question might ask about social identity theory and someone writes about Bandura’s bobo doll study, or about Loftus and Palmer’s car crash study on …

#3 Best Study Tip for IB Psych: Focus on Results

Travis DixonRevision and Exam Preparation

While psychological studies aren’t the only part of the IB Psychology exams, they’re very important. So make sure you’re focusing on the right thing. Some students spend all their efforts revising the aims and procedures of the experiments but miss the most important part – the results.  By exam day you should be ready to write about 100-150 words on …