Lesson Idea – Understanding Etiologies With a Case Study

tdixon Abnormal Psychology, Biological Psychology, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Teaching Ideas Leave a Comment

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 4 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

tdixon Biological Psychology, Criminology Leave a Comment

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…

tdixon Abnormal Psychology, Biological Psychology, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Teaching Ideas Leave a Comment

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 Leave a 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 …

Key Study: Cortisol and Memory (Buchanan and Lovallo, 2001)

tdixon Biological Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder 1 Comment

This study can be found in Chapter 4 of the Student’s Guide. Background Studies conducted before this experiment in 2001 showed that cortisol can have a detrimental effect on memory. Animal studies, however, had shown the opposite: stress can improve memory.  This was the first study (at the time) that investigated the influence of cortisol on emotional memory in humans. …

Lesson Idea: Neuroplasticity

tdixon Biological Psychology, Criminology 1 Comment

This activity is designed to accompany the Criminology lesson 2.7b: Childhood and Brain Development. A good way to learn about neuroplasticity is to compare your performance on something you’re a master at, with something with which you’re a novice. Find someone in your class with whom you can share talents – they’ll try to teach you something you’ve never tried …

How does testosterone influence aggression?

tdixon Biological Psychology, Criminology, Revision and Exam Preparation Leave a Comment

Understanding how testosterone can influence aggression can be a little tricky, so this post is designed to provide extra help. This post is designed to support the materials in Topic 2.4 of our textbook, IB Psychology: A Student’s Guide. Common Errors Here is what an over-simplified (and incorrect) explanation for testosterone and aggression might look like: So in writing, this …

Exam Tips – Principles of BLOA

tdixon Biological Psychology, Revision and Exam Preparation 1 Comment

Note: This is for the “old” syllabus (Exams in May 2018, and Nov 2018) What do you need to know? Two “principles” of the biological level of analysis How these  can be demonstrated in studies (or theories) What are the principles? The two principles my class came up with this year were: Biological factors influence behaviour. Our behaviour can influence …