Key Study: The Minnesota Twin Study of Twins Reared Apart

Travis Dixon Biological Psychology, Key Studies, Studies and Theories 6 Comments

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

Travis Dixon Biological Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Research Methodology 1 Comment

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)

Travis Dixon Biological Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Key Studies Leave a Comment

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)

Travis Dixon Biological Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Key Studies 2 Comments

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

Travis Dixon Biological Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Key Studies, Studies and Theories 1 Comment

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)

Travis Dixon Biological Psychology, IB Psychology HL Extensions 5 Comments

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

Travis Dixon 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 …

Biological Etiology of PTSD: Abnormalities in the brain

Travis Dixon Abnormal Psychology, Biological Psychology 4 Comments

Updated, July 2020 After teaching my unit on PTSD (Chapter 4), I found that my students developed a really good understanding of how PTSD is not explainable by a single etiology, but rather it is the product of multiple-interacting factors. While this is great, it does mean that when the question asks about “one” specific etiology, they found it difficult …

Key Study: Mate preference across cultures (Buss, 1989)
A cross-cultural study on attraction and mate preference

Travis Dixon Biological Psychology, Human Relationships, Love and Marriage 1 Comment

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” This classic saying means that we all have a different opinion about what is beautiful. When it comes to romantic relationships, is this really the case? A common field of study for psychologists is attraction and mate preference: what do people look for in a husband, wife, or lover? Buss’s classic study shows …

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

Travis Dixon Biological Psychology, Research Methodology 5 Comments

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 – …