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)

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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 …

Teaching Tip: How to cut content and increase understanding

tdixon Criminology, Curriculum, Themantics 2 Comments

When it’s time to teach the new course, if you’re a bit savvy in your curriculum design you can exploit overlaps, cut content, and best of all – enhance student understanding of psychology. How do we do all this? In this post I’ll walk you through some helpful hints and show you the value of constructing relationship chains. Keeping it Simple …

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

tdixon 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 …

Why teach themantically?

tdixon Assessment (IB), Criminology, Curriculum, General Interest, Themantics Leave a Comment

Why teach thematically? If you think about it, teaching by the core approaches (or levels of analysis) in a linear way IS a thematic approach – the themes are biology, cognition and socio-culture, and then the themes are abnormal psych, health, etc. These themes tie together topics so by the end of the unit students have a broad conceptual understanding. …

The Story of Phineas Gage

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Important Note: Phineas Gage is an interesting way to learn about the relationship between the frontal lobe and our behaviour. However, there are many other studies that we use in this course to demonstrate important concepts like localization of brain function. Therefore, Gage should not be used in exam answers. The story… Phineas Gage was a railroad worker who was …

Lesson one on how to “explain” a study…

tdixon Criminology 1 Comment

This post is written to accompany the lesson on Phineas Gage and the frontal lobe in “IB Psychology: A Student’s Guide.”  Unit: Criminology Topic 1: The Brain and Behaviour Lesson (a): “The Frontal Lobe The guiding question for this lesson is designed to give you some practice at explaining the results of a study. The question is: “How does Phineas Gage’s case suggest …

Key Study: Moral Dilemmas – The Trolley and the Footbridge

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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 …