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: Gandhi and the Anchoring Effect
Strack & Mussweiler, 1997

Travis Dixon Cognitive Psychology, Key Studies, Studies and Theories 4 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: Conformity Across Cultures (Berry, 1967)

Travis Dixon Social and Cultural Psychology, Studies and Theories 4 Comments

Conformity is one of the most popular topics in psychology. Not surprisingly, it’s also one of the most studied. The origins of conformity studies go back to Solomon Asch’s famous “line length” experiments. Almost as old is Berry’s now classic study that asked the question: why do different cultures have different rates of conformity?  Conformity is the act of behaving …

How to evaluate any study in 3 simple steps

Travis Dixon Research Methodology, Revision and Exam Preparation, Studies and Theories Leave a Comment

Being able to critically evaluate a study is a key skill for any budding psychologist. However, like anything, when you’re first learning how to do this it can be very difficult. In this post, we look at 3 simple steps you can take to evaluate any study. Read More 7 exam tips for evaluating studies So you want to assess …

Cell phones at the dinner table – a qualitative observation (Radesky et al.)

Travis Dixon Qualitative Research Methods, Revision and Exam Preparation, Social and Cultural Psychology, Studies and Theories 2 Comments

Mobile phones are everywhere and they are consuming more and more of our time. Could this be having an effect on family life? The researchers who conducted this study wanted to investigate how cell phones might influence the interactions of parents and children.  The researchers used a nonparticipant, covert observational method by watching a total of 55 caregivers eating with …

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

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

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)

Travis Dixon Cognitive Psychology, Internal Assessment (IB), Key Studies, Studies and Theories 2 Comments

 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)

Travis Dixon Cognitive Psychology, Criminology, Key Studies, Studies and Theories Leave a Comment

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

Travis Dixon Biological Psychology, Key Studies, Studies and Theories 4 Comments

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 …

Lesson Idea: Understanding generalizability and population validity

Travis Dixon Studies and Theories, Teaching Ideas Leave a Comment

If you want to write excellent evaluations of psychological studies then generalizability is a really important term to know. It’s also called external validity and it refers to the extent to which we could expect the same results in a different context (i.e. do the results apply beyond the study, external to the study?). In this post we’ll focus on population validity (read more …