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 …

Posts You May Have Missed…

Travis Dixon Biological Psychology Leave a Comment

We’ve been doing some upgrading to our blog. In this time, you may not have been getting the email alerts of new posts. Here they are just in case. Synaptic Pruning and Neural Networks Synaptic pruning (aka neural pruning) helps the formation of neural networks. In this post we’ll look to understand the terms “synaptic pruning” and “neural networks.” We’ll …

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 …

Synaptic Pruning and Neural Networks

Travis Dixon Biological Psychology Leave a Comment

Synaptic pruning (aka neural pruning)¹ helps the formation of neural networks. In this post we’ll look to understand the terms “synaptic pruning” and “neural networks.” We’ll also look at how synaptic pruning can help the formation of neural networks.  What is a “neural network?” A “neural network” is a series of connected neurons. Information travels along these networks that enable …

Exam Answer: Localization Short Answer Response
An example SAR following a simple 7-step format

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

Recently I wrote a post about how to write better short answer responses (SARs) in 7 simple steps for IB Psych’ Paper 1 and this video explains the same. But the only reason I am able to explain these frameworks with confidence is because I’ve written 100s of examples. Here’s one I’ll share with you. The example SAR below is …

Exam Question Bank: Paper 1: Biological Approach

Travis Dixon Biological Psychology, Revision and Exam Preparation 8 Comments

Paper One has two sections – A and B. In Section A you have three compulsory short answer questions, one from each approach (biological, cognitive and sociocultural). In Section B, you have three exam questions, also one from each approach and you answer only one. This means you should prep all core approach topics for SAQs and you can choose one …

Exam Question Bank: HL Extension Bio – Animal Studies

Travis Dixon Biological Psychology, IB Psychology HL Extensions, Revision and Exam Preparation 5 Comments

One, two or all three essay questions in Paper 1, Section B will be based on the extension topics. Biological Approach: Animal Research Remember that the extension questions are created by combining the HL extension topics with the three topics in each of the approaches.  Biological extension topics: “The role of animal research in understanding human behaviour” The value of …

Key Study: Childhood stress and its effects on serotonin (an animal experiment), (Gardner et al. 2009)

Travis Dixon Biological Psychology, IB Psychology HL Extensions, Key Studies Leave a Comment

This animal experiment by Gardner et al. (2009) could explain links between stress early in life when we’re kids and our behaviour as adults. The use of rats in this study allows the researchers to manipulate and measure IVs and DVs in ways that would be impossible in human subjects. The study provides possible explanations for why early life stress …