Lesson Idea – Understanding Etiologies With a Case Study

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This lesson is designed to help students understand how reduced function in the vmPFC might be connected with symptoms of PTSD. As with other similar lesson ideas, it tries to make the abstract more concrete by giving real-life examples.  The Activity Students are to read the following summary of Due, a fictionary Vietnamese War vetern. After reading the summary, they …

Lesson Idea: Kahn the Caveman

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This lesson comes from the PTSD unit/chapter and will help students understand an evolutionary explanation of the effects of stress (emotion) on memory. It also helps consolidate learning about fear conditioning, which is a key concept in the study of PTSD. Kahn the Caveman! Kahn is living 40,000 years ago. He’s part of a hunter-gatherer tribe living in Southern Europe. …

Exam Tip: How to explain prevalence of disorders

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If you’re studying Abnormal Psychology as one of your options in IB Psychology it’s important that you can explain differences in prevalence rates. In the old syllabus you have to: Discuss cultural and gender variations in the prevalence of (one or more) disorders. In the new syllabus it just states: Prevalence rates and disorders The key here is much like my …

When drug trials go wrong…

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When testing a new drug there always has to be volunteers for the first human participants to take the drug. But what happens if the trial fails. Like, fails really badly? This is what happened in 2006 when eight male volunteers signed up to be participants in a “first in humans” study. The treatment was a proposed cancer treatment, but …

Exam Tip: How to explain an etiology of a disorder…

tdixon Abnormal Psychology, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Revision and Exam Preparation, Teaching Ideas 3 Comments

Explaining an etiology of a disorder can be quite tricky for some students because they focus on the disorder in general. But in order to have a really effective explanation you’re better to focus on specific symptoms. A three step approach to explaining an etiology When learning an etiology or planning an exam answer, you can follow these three simple …

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

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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. …

Key Studies: The effects of mindfulness and meditation on the brain (Desbordes et al. 2012, and Lazar et al. 2005)

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These two studies can be used to discuss: The use of technological techniques Neuroplasticity Experimental methods (quasi and true experiments) to study: The brain cognitive processes Lazar et al. (2005)   There have been numerous studies that have compared the brains of Tibetan monks who have thousands of hours of practice in meditation with normal controls. These studies regularly show …

Mr. Dixon’s experiences with PTSD

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The purpose of this post is to make the symptoms and experiences of PTSD a little more real and concrete for students to understand. Often when we talk about symptoms of psychological disorders (e.g. PTSD) we have to be abstract because we’re covering such a wide range of traumas, experiences and symptoms. While I never had PTSD, I did experience …