Exam Tip: Etiologies of Abnormal Psychology
Tips for writing excellent essays in Paper 2

Travis Dixon Abnormal Psychology, Assessment (IB) 1 Comment

As my students are preparing for an essay test this week on the topic “Etiology of Abnormal Psychology,” I thought I would share some advice on how to write good essays. The advice gets more specific and complex and the post goes on, so if nothing else I’d strongly recommend following tips 1 and 2. The etiology of abnormal psychology …

MDMA and PTSD
How ecstacy (a serotonergic agonist) could help alleviate PTSD

Colin McElvenny Abnormal Psychology, Biological Psychology Leave a Comment

Ecstasy has been a popular party drug since the 1980s. The active ingredient,  MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine), can cause feelings of euphoria, increased empathy, enhanced sensations (e.g.; touch, sight, and auditory) and a positive mindset. Due to being categorized by the US’ Drug Enforcement Agency as Schedule 1 which is described as,  “…substances, or chemicals…with no currently accepted medical use and a …

Agonists and Behaviour: Pramipexole
Dopamine agonists in the treatment of depression

Travis Dixon Abnormal Psychology, Biological Psychology Leave a Comment

An agonist is a chemical messenger that binds to the receptor sites of neurons and activates them to create a response. In this post, we’ll look at how the drug pramipexole is an agonist of the receptor sites for dopamine. Since dopamine has been linked to depression, we can also understand why this might be another option for treatment.  Depression …

Ketamine and PTSD
How an antagonist of glutamate may help treat PTSD

Travis Dixon Abnormal Psychology, Biological Psychology Leave a Comment

Agonists and antagonists are chemical messengers that affect the process of neurotransmission. They bind to specific receptor sites of neurotransmitters and this can affect brain function and behaviour. Ketamine is one antagonists of the receptor sites of the neurotransmitter, glutamate. In this post we’ll learn more about antagonists, how they work, how ketamine may help PTSD and a key study …

Ketamine: An antagonist used in the treatment of depression

Travis Dixon Abnormal Psychology, Biological Psychology Leave a Comment

Ketamine is the newest drug in the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD). But how does it work? In this post, we’ll look at how ketamine is an antagonist of the neurotransmitter glutamate and why this can help fight depression. For years serotonin has been the main focus of causes and cures for depression. As low levels of serotonin and …

Exam Question Bank: Paper 2: Abnormal Psychology

Travis Dixon Abnormal Psychology, Assessment (IB), Revision and Exam Preparation 11 Comments

Disclaimer: These questions are not IB “official” questions and are written with our best guess as to what the probable exam questions may look like. Not every possible question is covered but rather a wide sample of questions has been asked so you can get an idea of the types of questions that may appear. READ MORE  IB Psychology Exam Question …

Key study: “On being sane in insane place” (Rosenhan, 1973)

Travis Dixon Abnormal Psychology, Qualitative Research Methods Leave a Comment

Rosenhan’s famous study attempted to demonstrate the unreliable nature of psychiatric diagnosis in the 1970s and how poorly patients were treated in psychiatric hospitals. While his methods were a little suspect, the study seemed to make the point Rosenhan was hoping for.  Background Information One of the most influential studies conducted investigating the difficulties in defining normality and abnormality, and …

Key Study: Clinical bias and the effects of labelling on diagnosis (Temerlin, 1968)

Travis Dixon Abnormal Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Key Studies Leave a Comment

Clinical bias can affect the validity and reliability of diagnosis and one thing that can cause clinical bias is when a patient is labelled with having a particular disorder. Labelling theory usually refers to how a label can affect the individual being labelled, but it is also used to explain how others can treat someone based on their label. Effects …

Key Study: Confirmation bias: why psychiatrists stick to wrong preliminary diagnoses (Mendel et al. 2011)

Travis Dixon Abnormal Psychology, Cognitive Psychology Leave a Comment

Clinical bias can affect the validity and reliability of diagnosis. One example of a clinical bias that could have an effect is confirmation bias. While the use of classification systems could reduce the influence of clinical bias, it might also lead to it. Clinical bias is a general term that refers to any cognitive bias that can affect the diagnosis …

The sociocultural approach and diagnosis in Abnormal Psychology

Travis Dixon Abnormal Psychology, Social and Cultural Psychology Leave a Comment

Making an accurate diagnosis of a psychological disorder like depression or PTSD is very important. However, it’s not always easy and culture is one factor that can influence the validity and reliability of diagnosis.  Culture and Reporting Symptoms One factor that may affect diagnosis is culture. In particular, people from different cultures may report their symptoms differently. For example, a …