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

tdixon Abnormal Psychology, Biological Psychology, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Social and Cultural Psychology Leave a Comment

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 – …

Lesson Idea – Understanding Etiologies With a Case Study

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This lesson is designed to help students understand how reduced function in the vmPFC might be connected with symptoms of PTSD. As with other similar lesson ideas, it tries to make the abstract more concrete by giving real-life examples.  The Activity Students are to read the following summary of Due, a fictionary Vietnamese War vetern. After reading the summary, they …

How to explain the use of a research method

tdixon Biological Psychology, Revision and Exam Preparation, Teaching Ideas 5 Comments

In both the “old” and “new” IB Psychology syllabi, students have to be able to discuss the use of research methods (and brain imaging techniques). Before we see how to do this, it’s important to make one clarification first: the IB considers the following to be research methods: Experiments (including true, natural, quasi and field experiments) Case studies Correlational studies Interviews …

The MAOA (“Warrior”) Gene and Violence

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In IB Psychology you need to be able to explain at least one example of how behaviour could be influenced by genetic factors. In this post, we’ll look at why a variation of the MAOA gene (a.k.a the “warrior gene”) could be linked with antisocial behaviours like aggression. There are two explanations: a simple one and a complex one. We’ll …

When drug trials go wrong…

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When testing a new drug there always has to be volunteers for the first human participants to take the drug. But what happens if the trial fails. Like, fails really badly? This is what happened in 2006 when eight male volunteers signed up to be participants in a “first in humans” study. The treatment was a proposed cancer treatment, but …

Clinical Drug Trials, PTSD and SSRIs

tdixon Abnormal Psychology, Biological Psychology, Research Methodology 1 Comment

This post is designed to be used in lesson 4.6 in the PTSD unit plan. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of drug therapy using selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to treat PTSD, we need to consult the research. The most common way the effectiveness of drugs are tested is through a carefully controlled experiments. These experiments are also known …

Key Studies: Dopamine and Love (Fisher, 2005)

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The human brain has been evolving over millions of years. Throughout that evolutionary process, the brain has adapted to act and react in a way that will improve the chances of its owner’s survival, as well as its owner’s ability to procreate. One important neurotransmitter involved in both of these pastimes (i.e. survival and procreation) is dopamine. Dopamine is a …