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

tdixon Biological Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder 4 Comments

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 …

The Evolution of Attraction: Extra Resources

tdixon Biological Psychology, Teaching Ideas 1 Comment

The study of attraction is definitely one of my favourite topics. Because there’s so much interesting research in this field, I thought I’d create this post to “dump” some extra resources that you might find interesting. WARNING FOR STUDENTS: Many of the “studies” in the videos below have been replicated for the purposes of TV entertainment. They are to be used …

What is “an evolutionary explanation of behaviour?”

tdixon Biological Psychology Leave a Comment

Offering an evolutionary explanation of behaviour can be more difficult than it first appears, so I want to show two ways to do this. I don’t teach evolution and behaviour as an individual topic in my course, as there are multiple behaviours that are applicable including fear, aggression (both in Criminology), attraction (Love and Marriage) and fear conditioning (PTSD). This …

Key Studies: The effects of mindfulness and meditation on the brain (Desbordes et al. 2012, and Lazar et al. 2005)

tdixon Biological Psychology, Criminology, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Leave a Comment

These two studies can be used to discuss: The use of technological techniques Neuroplasticity Experimental methods (quasi and true experiments) to study: The brain cognitive processes Lazar et al. (2005)   There have been numerous studies that have compared the brains of Tibetan monks who have thousands of hours of practice in meditation with normal controls. These studies regularly show …

Key Study: Testosterone and aggression in rats (Albert et al. 1986)

tdixon Biological Psychology, Criminology 2 Comments

The material here was originally published in IB Psychology: A Student’s Guide. Males are more aggressive than females in almost every species. Why is this? One possible reason could be in the influence of the male sex hormone, testosterone. Testosterone is produced in the testes of males, which could be why males are more aggressive than females. While it is also …

Key Study: Serotonin, tryptophan and the brain (Passamonti et al., 2012)

tdixon Biological Psychology, Criminology Leave a Comment

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that has been correlated with numerous behaviours, including impulsive aggression, antisocial behaviour and violence. One reason for this correlation could be the effect that depleted serotonin levels could have on important parts of the brain when we perceive emotional stimuli. To test the effects of serotonin depletion on the brain, Passamonti et al. (2012) asked one …

What is a pheromone?

tdixon Biological Psychology, Love and Marriage Leave a Comment

A pheromone is a type of hormone that is passed from one individual to another which has an effect on the receiving individual. One technical definition offered for pheromones is that they are “…substances which are secreted to the outside by an individual and received by a second individual of the same species, in which they release a specific reaction, for example, …