Example Essay: Research methods (case studies) in the biological approach

Travis Dixon Biological Psychology, Research Methodology, Revision and Exam Preparation 2 Comments

Essays on research methods and ethical considerations are the hardest to write in IB Psychology exams. Here is an example essay on the use of case studies in the biological approach. Notice how the essay has a good balance between explaining the method (central argument), using studies (supporting evidence) and explaining limitations (counter-arguments).  Read More:  Example Essay: Technological Techniques 10 …

Generalizability in Animal Studies: Cognition and Culture

Travis Dixon Biological Psychology, Health Psychology, Research Methodology Leave a Comment

Generalizability is the extent to which we can confidently predict the results of a study would apply to a different context, including different people, places, and procedures. When considering the extent to which we can generalize findings from animal studies, we are considering how confidently we could predict the same finding in humans. For example, animal studies like Sapolsky’s research …

Example SAQ – How agonists affect behaviour

Travis Dixon Assessment (IB), Biological Psychology 1 Comment

The “additional terms” that have been added to Paper 1 SAQs in IB Psychology can be a nuisance. However, there are ways to address the potential questions without adding too much content to your course. This post shows you an example SAQ that uses Passamonti et al.’s study on neurotransmission for a potential answer on agonists and behaviour.  An agonist …

Teenage pregnancy: an evolutionary explanation

Travis Dixon Biological Psychology Leave a Comment

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have been linked with increased risks of developing a number of issues, including health problems (cancer, heart disease), psychological problems (addiction, depression) and sexual health issues (STDs, high-risk sexual behaviour and unwanted pregnancies). Studies have shown that teenage pregnancy is correlated with ACEs and there might be an evolutionary explanation for this link.¹ Most teenage pregnancies …

Biological Approach “Additional Terms”
IB Psych Paper 1 Review

Travis Dixon Biological Psychology 11 Comments

In the new IB Psychology guide they “clarified” their expectations by adding a number of new terms to the syllabus. For the biological approach, this has added significant content and quite a bit of confusion. This post aims to simplify the requirements and help you find the right studies for the right examples. The full “Additional Terms Review Guide” is …


Travis Dixon Assessment (IB), Biological Psychology, Revision and Exam Preparation Leave a Comment

You can prepare for IB Psychology by asking three simple questions: What is…? How does…? …but…? The first question tests your knowledge, the second tests your deeper understanding of the topic and the third tests your critical thinking. The following quiz is designed to test your ability to answer the first question. (Scroll down for the answers) Read More Understanding IB …

Key Study: “The Sweaty T-shirt Study” (Wedekind et al. 1995)

Travis Dixon Biological Psychology, Human Relationships, Key Studies 16 Comments

Updated June, 2020 Can we smell someone’s genes? Not their trousers, but their genetics. The Swiss Biological Researcher Claus Wedekind and his colleagues conducted a famous study to see if our preference for smells is linked with our genetics. In other words, they wanted to see if we prefer the smell of someone who has genes that would be a …

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 2 Comments

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 …