Key study: Subjective social status and stress in teenagers (Rahal et al. 2019)

Travis Dixon Health Psychology, Key Studies, Studies and Theories Leave a Comment

Social status is an important predictor of numerous mental and physical health problems. Generally speaking, the lower your social status, the more at risk you are for developing health problems, like chronic stress and heart disease. While socioeconomic status has been extensively researched, more modern studies are focusing on subjective social status. This is particularly relevant for understanding stress in teenagers. …

Key Study: Stress beliefs and health problems (Fischer et al., 2016)

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The following information is adapted from our eBook: IB Health Psychology – A Revision Guide. Why do people develop physical health problems? One answer could be based on stress beliefs – if you think stress is bad you might be more likely to have health problems. This was one finding from the following study.  Stress is correlated with a number …

Key Study: Cognitive appraisals and the stress response (Lazarus, 1963)

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

The most influential cognitive explanation of stress is based on “cognitive appraisals” – how we assess the relevance and potential harm of a stressor. The following study is one of many that supports this explanation. Stress is a complex phenomenon that involves biological, psychological and environmental factors. Richard Lazarus was a pre-eminent psychologist in the field of stress research. Along …

Key Study: Social status and stress in Olive Baboons (Sapolsky, 1990)

Travis Dixon Health Psychology, Key Studies, Studies and Theories Leave a Comment

An interesting finding in the field of stress and health psychology is that people with higher social status are generally in better health: they have lower rates of heart disease, are less obese and live longer. Why? One reason could be because they are less stressed.  A lot of our knowledge about stress and health comes from animal studies, particularly those …

Key Study: Schema Theory & the Superwoman Self-schema

Travis Dixon Cognitive Psychology, Key Studies Leave a Comment

Schema theory is one of the most important theories in cognitive psychology, but it can also be one of the more difficult theories to understand. The best way, I’ve found, to understand schema theory is to look at as many real-life examples as possible. In this post, we’ll look at a fascinating example – the AfricanAmerican Superwoman self-schema. A schema …

Power Distance and Plane Crashes: The Gladwell Hypothesis

Travis Dixon Key Studies, Social and Cultural Psychology 3 Comments

I recently read Malcolm Gladwell’s excellent book “Outliers.” In this book, Gladwell gives an interesting psychological explanation for why some countries have higher rates of plane crashes than others. The “Gladwell Hypothesis,” as it has come to be known, suggests that plane crashes can be explained by looking at cultural values. In particular, the cultural dimension of “power distance.” Power …

Key Study: Gandhi and the Anchoring Effect
Strack & Mussweiler, 1997

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

Are we always in control of our thoughts, or can they be influenced by invisible forces? The art of persuasion and subtle manipulation is a fascinating field of study in psychology. In this post, we’ll look at how people can manipulate our cognitive biases to influence our decision-making. One of the more interesting cognitive biases  is the “anchoring effect.”  The anchoring …

Key Study: The Marshmallow Test Across Cultures: German vs. Cameroon Kids (Lamm et al. 2018)
An example of how enculturation can influence behaviour.

Travis Dixon Developmental Psychology, Key Studies, Social and Cultural Psychology Leave a Comment

“The Marshmallow Test” was designed by Stanford Psychologist Walter Mischel in the 1960s. It’s a test of a kid’s ability to delay gratification – to wait for something they really want. The ability to delay gratification has been correlated with a number of successful outcomes, including doing better at school, getting higher SATs and being less likely to end up …

Key Study: “The Sweaty T-shirt Study” (Wedekind et al. 1995)

Travis Dixon Biological Psychology, Human Relationships, Key Studies 16 Comments

Updated June, 2020 Can we smell someone’s genes? Not their trousers, but their genetics. The Swiss Biological Researcher Claus Wedekind and his colleagues conducted a famous study to see if our preference for smells is linked with our genetics. In other words, they wanted to see if we prefer the smell of someone who has genes that would be a …

Key Study: Childhood stress and its effects on serotonin (an animal experiment), (Gardner et al. 2009)

Travis Dixon Biological Psychology, IB Psychology HL Extensions, Key Studies Leave a Comment

This animal experiment by Gardner et al. (2009) could explain links between stress early in life when we’re kids and our behaviour as adults. The use of rats in this study allows the researchers to manipulate and measure IVs and DVs in ways that would be impossible in human subjects. The study provides possible explanations for why early life stress …