Good holiday reads

The holidays will soon be coming up, and the last thing you want to do is read your textbooks, but neither do you want to get completely out of the Psychology 'loop'. The solution - holiday reading and film-watching that will keep your interest in Psychology going, and be fun at the same time. All of the books and films recommended can be downloaded for easy entertainment. Lisa Genova is a Harvard-trained neurologist and the author of three fiction works that ...

Engaging with the exams

  It's no use. You can't ignore them, because they are happening next week!  It is time for last minute revision, and it is also time to plan your exam technique.  First - know the dates: your IB Diploma Psychology exams are on Wednesday May 7th (pm) for Paper 1 (HL & SL), and Thursday May 8th (am) for Paper 2 (HL & SL) and Paper 3 (HL only). Secondly, be prepared with several pens (black or blue ink only), a highlighter ...

What’s normal?

One of the key ideas of the Abnormal Psychology option is that normality and abnormality are not inherent qualities of a particular action, but rely heavily on context and the interpretation placed on them. This presents problems for diagnosis and treatment of psychological disorders, and underpins questions in the exam, such as "Discuss the validity and reliability of diagnosis".  The fact is that what is considered psychologically normal depends on the society and culture in which a person lives. There ...

Sociocultural level of analysis – why do people do what they do?

Have you ever stood waiting for a friend who is late, and wondered where they have got to?  “Maybe they are stuck in traffic?” “Maybe they forgot?” “Ah, not again, they are always late – hopeless!” If you have engaged in this thought process, and of course all of us have, then you are attributing a cause to an event: traffic jam, forgetfulness of your friend, or your friend’s disposition – s/he is always late. This is the basis for the ...

Cognition and Emotion – how are they related?

By Saturday, February 1, 2014 , , 0

The famous brain researcher Antonio Damasio explained that emotions are purely physical signals of the body which react to external stimuli. Feelings arise when the brain interprets these as "emotions". Emotions consist of three components: ● physiological changes, such as arousal of the autonomic nervous system and the endocrine system. (The person is usually unconscious of this at first). ● the person’s own subjective feeling of an emotion (e.g. happiness) ● associated behaviour, such as smiling or running away. One of the cognitive factors in ...

Cognition – is it all in the mind?

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year (if indeed it is New Year in your part of the world)! Have you made any resolutions, and if so, will you remember them in a week or two? Yes, we are looking at memory in this blog. Last term, the Psychology blogs focused on the brain and procrastination and the brain and behaviour, and gave some tips from examiners on how to succeed in exams and with your internally-assessed experiment.  Now we ...

Internally-assessed simple experiment

In IB Diploma Psychology jargon this is the "IA" and the report of this experiment is worth 25% of your grade if you are an SL student and 20% if you are studying Psychology at HL. So it is worth doing well!   The main rule, whether you are conducting your IA at the SL or HL, is Keep It Simple.  Here is feedback from the May 2013 exam report regarding the IA. FEEDBACK FROM EXAMINERS HL - Favourite experiments were, as usual, levels ...

Exam recommendations for students

The November IB Diploma Psychology exams are just around the corner (Nov 6th and 7th), and the May exams are also not so very far away. Feedback for students from the May 2013 session examiners can help you to succeed. Examiners’ recommendations to students (from May 2013 papers, for both timezones) Paper 1 Practice time management. Many candidates wrote far too much for the questions in section A, which limited their time for section B. Read the questions carefully and give answers on the question ...

Brains on trial – is our biology responsible for our behaviour?

This month we are taking a look at the theory behind the biological level of analysis, that there is a strong correlation, and in some cases a cause-and effect relationship, between our brain structure and activity and our behaviour.  The title of my blog post comes from an exciting site called "Brains on Trial" that it is definitely worth visiting, if only for the cool videos it contains. The title of the site refers to the theories that it is ...

The psychology of procrastination

By Sunday, September 1, 2013 , , , , 0

The semester/term starts soon, or has already started for those of you in the Northern hemisphere with IB exams in May. (I know that those students taking the IB Diploma exams in November have been in school a very long time, but this applies equally to you). Very soon the work will be coming in, but “Hey! Never do today what you can put off till tomorrow.” This is procrastination, and it is all about decisions – the argument in ...