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

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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 …

Key Study: Evolution of Gender Differences in Sexual Behaviour (Clark and Hatfield, 1989)

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If a man sleeps with lots of women he’s a “stud” but if a woman does it she’s a “slut.” By why does this societal double-standard exist and are men really more promiscuous than women? Clark and Hatfield’s classic study might be able to give us some answers to these questions. Background Information The perception exists in society that men …

Key Study: Leading questions and the misinformation effect – ” the car crash study” (Loftus and Palmer, 1974)

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 Memory is a reconstructive process, which means memories are actively and consciously rebuilt when we are trying to remember certain things. Elizabeth Loftus, her colleagues and others studying this cognitive phenomenon have shown that during the reconstruction phase our memories can be distorted if we are given false information about the event – this is called the misinformation effect. Background Information …

Key Studies: “Weapon focus” and its effects on eye-witness memories (Loftus, 1987)

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From decades of research we know that memory is not a passive cognitive process, but it is an active reconstructive one. As Elizabeth Loftus says, memory is not like a tape recorder that records things accurately and plays it back for us, but it’s more like a wikipedia page that anyone can go in and change. Loftus should know as …

Key Study: The Minnesota Twin Study of Twins Reared Apart

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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 …

Key Study: London Taxi Drivers vs. Bus Drivers (Maguire, 2006)

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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: Clinical bias and the effects of labelling on diagnosis (Temerlin, 1968)

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Clinical bias can affect the validity and reliability of diagnosis and one thing that can cause clinical bias is when a patient is labelled with having a particular disorder. Labelling theory usually refers to how a label can affect the individual being labelled, but it is also used to explain how others can treat someone based on their label. Effects …

Key Study: HM’s case study (Milner and Scoville, 1957)

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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

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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 …

The negative effects of digital technology on cognition #2 (with key studies): TV, attention and working memory

tdixon Cognitive Psychology, IB Psychology HL Extensions, Key Studies 5 Comments

Technology’s Negative Effects on Memory Numerous studies have investigated the effects of watching television on working memory and executive functions because kids in developed countries tend to watch a lot of television. Watching TV for long periods of time might be harmful for cognition because it doesn’t require us to use our working memory, unlike other activities like reading, doing …