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

Travis Dixon 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. …

Working Memory Games

Travis Dixon Cognitive Psychology, Teaching Ideas 2 Comments

Before diving in to the study of Baddeley and Hitch’s working memory model, it’s important that you first comprehend what “working memory” is. I’ve found that playing some of these games is a fun way to comprehend the concept of working memory and it will make your it easier to understand your teacher’s explanations of things like the central executive, …

If you’re interested: Clive Wearing

Travis Dixon Cognitive Psychology Leave a Comment

There’s never enough time to cover everything in our IB Psychology course, so here are a few resources that might not fit in normal classes, but you might find interesting nonetheless. Clive Wearing is very similar to the famous case of HM (Henry Molaison). However, whereas HM’s hippocampus was damaged due to surgery, Wearing’s was damaged due to an illness. …

Key Study: Decision Making, Iowa Gambling and the vmPFC (Bechara et al., 2000).

Travis Dixon Biological Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Criminology 6 Comments

Context Before reading about this study it’s important to recap the dual processing model of judgement and decision making. According to Kahneman (and others) we have two systems of processing information. System one is fast and unconscious, while system two is slower and considers more factors. The system of processing we use will affect our judgement, which in turn will …

Sample SAQs: Memory Reliability

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

Here are two versions of the same sample answer from this year’s (May, 2017) IB Psychology exam. The question was: Describe one study investigating memory reliability. The annotated short answer response (SAQ) shows you the answer, plus my comments as to why I think this is a mediocre response. Then we have this second excellent annotated example SAQ, which does a better …

Key Study: Moral Dilemmas – The Trolley and the Footbridge

Travis Dixon Biological Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Criminology Leave a Comment

Note: This was in a first draft of our textbook IB Psychology: A Student’s Guide but was later removed because of it’s complexity in nature, and the fact that it doesn’t thread as well as other studies on system one and two decision making. Morality and Decision Making The prefrontal cortex plays a crucial role in executive functions, also known as …

Key Study: Moral judgement and the prefrontal cortex (Ciaramelli, et al)

Travis Dixon Biological Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Criminology Leave a Comment

This study helps to explain how dysfunction in the prefrontal cortex might make people more susceptible to violent and/or impulsive behaviours. Similar to the VHIS, Ciaramelli et al investigated the differences between moral judgements in people with damage to their prefrontal cortex and healthy controls. Their study cites existing research that suggests people with damage to their PFC have “high levels of …

An Introduction to Brain Imaging

Travis Dixon Biological Psychology, Cognitive Psychology Leave a Comment

Discuss the use of brain imaging technologies in investigating the relationship between biological factors and behaviour. Three of the important brain imaging technologies you should know about are: MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) fMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) PET (Positron Emission Tomography) Discuss the use of, means you can write about a range of issues relating to the use of technology. For example …