Key Study: Evolution of Gender Differences in Sexual Behaviour (Clark and Hatfield, 1989)

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If a man sleeps with lots of women he’s a “stud” but if a woman does it she’s a “slut.” By why does this societal double-standard exist and are men really more promiscuous than women? Clark and Hatfield’s classic study might be able to give us some answers to these questions. Background Information The perception exists in society that men …

Key Study: The Minnesota Twin Study of Twins Reared Apart

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Understanding how and why twin studies are used is an important topic in biological psychology because they can give us important insights into the extent to which our behaviour is nature (genetics) or nurture.  Context Is our behaviour a product of nature or nurture? In other words, are we born the way we are, or have we become this way …

fMRI: An important technological technique used to study the brain

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The invention of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has rapidly advanced our knowledge and understanding of the human brain. In the IB Psychology course, fMRIs are a good example of a “technique used to study the brain in relation to behaviour.”  Background Information fMRIs are a modification of a regular MRI machine. Whereas MRIs simply show the structure of the …

Key Study: London Taxi Drivers vs. Bus Drivers (Maguire, 2006)

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Understanding how the brain can grow and change as a result of our environment and experiences is an exciting and important new field in psychology. Maguire’s study on this topic is already a classic.  Context One of the most fascinating (relatively) recent discoveries is the idea of neuroplasticity: the brain’s amazing ability to grow and change as a result of different experiences. …

Key Study: HM’s case study (Milner and Scoville, 1957)

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HM’s case study is one of the most famous and important case studies in psychology, especially in cognitive psychology. It was the source of groundbreaking new knowledge on the role of the hippocampus in memory.  Background Info “Localization of function in the brain” means that different parts of the brain have different functions. Researchers have discovered this from over 100 …

Computer games and the brain: A summary with two key studies

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In this post we look at the positive effects of playing computer games by looking at how it might affect the brain, both in young and old people. We know from many MRI studies that our brain changes as a result of experience – this is called neuroplasticity. Therefore, it’s not unrealistic to think that hours spent playing video games …

Key Study: Animal research on neuroplasticity (Rosenzweig and Bennett, 1961)

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Background Info For a long time it was widely believed that our brain’s growth happened at a fixed rate. Many people thought that by the time we were about 4 – 6 years old, our brains had stopped developing and we were either going to be smart, dumb or average and that this wouldn’t change in our lives. However, research …

Socio-cultural Etiology of PTSD: Socioeconomic status

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When you are writing an essay on etiologies, keep it simple to begin with. Find one basic etiology (brain abnormalities, appraisals or socioeconomic status) and explain how and why that’s linked with PTSD. Use simple studies to begin with, and then later in your essay explore the interactions of bio, cog and socio-cultural influences. Etiology – Socioeconomic status A common finding …

Key Study: Buss’ cross-cultural study on mate preference (1989)

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Background Information There are numerous factors that influence our mate selection. You may already be familiar with some of these factors from previous studies, such as MHC genes, facial characteristics, proximity and familiarity, among others. Some of these factors operate on an unconscious level, that is to say, we are not aware that they are influencing our decisions. For instance, …

Genetic similarities – twin and kinship studies on antisocial behaviour and aggression

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Clarifications to the new IB Psychology guide (first exams May 2019) has said that students might be asked specifically about twin and/or kinship studies to discuss “genetic similarities.” This blog post can be used as supplementary information if required. How and why twin studies are used in psychology Twin studies gather groups of monozygotic (MZ – identical) and dizygotic (DZ – …