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 …

Correlational studies on PTSD

Travis DixonAbnormal Psychology, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Research Methodology

Correlational studies are one of the most commonly used research methods in the study of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In this post we’ll review WHAT correlational studies are, HOW they’re used to study PTSD and WHY they’re used. We’ll also review three key studies that can support this explanation.  Research methods essays are the hardest to write, but that also …

Abnormal Psychology in 7 Studies

Travis DixonAbnormal Psychology, Revision and Exam Preparation

A challenging aspect of the IB Psychology course is remembering all the studies. It can be made easier. With some careful course planning (by teachers) and wise studying (by students), the Abnormal Psychology option could be covered in 7 studies.  The IB Guide states that “Each option is divided into three topics. For each option, there will be three essay …

Globalization & Behaviour Part Three
Immigration and Terrorism

Travis DixonAbnormal Psychology, IB Psychology HL Extensions, Social and Cultural Psychology

It seems like a simple question – how does globalization influence behaviour? But the explanation is actually quite tricky since globalization itself is a rather abstract concept. Because of this, we need to find concrete examples. In the first two posts in this series we focused on changes in cultural dimensions and television through Westernization (see links below).  This final …

Globalization & Behaviour Part Two
Does Western TV cause eating disorders?

Travis DixonAbnormal Psychology, IB Psychology HL Extensions, Social and Cultural Psychology

How does globalization influence behaviour? First we need to understand what globalization is and how it occurs. In the second post in this series, we review the definition of globalization and examine another potential example of its influence on human behaviour – through Western TV, the thin ideal and eating disorders. Globalization is often referred to as Westernization because the …

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

Travis DixonAbnormal Psychology, Assessment (IB)

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 …

How ecstacy (a serotonergic agonist) could help alleviate PTSD

Colin McElvennyAbnormal Psychology, Biological Psychology

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 DixonAbnormal Psychology, Biological Psychology

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 DixonAbnormal Psychology, Biological Psychology

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 DixonAbnormal Psychology, Biological Psychology

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 …