IB Psychology

Themantic Education's resources for the new syllabus, by Travis Dixon.

Biological Approach

(licensed from big stock)

Please be patient as it’ll take us some time to build our complete bank of resources to support the themantic approach to teaching and learning IB Psychology, but we’ll chip away at it. We’ll focus on developing free resources for the new topics, such as pheromones.

The Brain and Behaviour

Localization of Brain Function (Read more…)

The ventromedial prefrontal cortex and decision making (Coming soon…)


An introduction (Read more…)
Serotonin and Aggression (Read more…)

More coming soon…

Hormones and Behaviour

Genetics and Behaviour

Higher Level Extension

Find out about what types of exam questions will be asked in the biological approach (read more).

Down here you can find old resources for the existing course. Learning Outcomes (Link)

The link above will provide you will the full learning outcomes (i.e. exam questions). 

You can see a range of links below that will provide the information necessary to meet the learning outcomes (and therefore be able to write excellent exam responses).

As you can see, the same studies can be used multiple times for different outcomes (and this is just in one level of analysis – they can be used in other units as well), which is why the linear approach to teaching the course has its limitations. (Read more about the thematic approach here)

Introduction to Biology and Behaviour (Link)

Physiology and Behaviour

Neurotransmission (SLTs)

  • Introduction (Link)
    • The Process of Neurotransmission (link)
    • Neurotransmission and Behaviour (link)
      • Serotonin and Aggression (Link)
        • Key Study: Serotonin and Aggression (Link)
          • Full Study – Serotonin and Aggression (Link)
    • Serotonin and Bulimia Nervosa
    • Dopamine and Motivation (Link)
      • Key Studies: Fisher et al: Dopamine, Motivation and Romantic Love (Link)
    • Acetylcholine and Memory
      • Key Study: (The much debated) Martinez and Kesner (Link)
      • Noradrenaline and PTSD Symptoms
    • Mirror Neurons

Localization of Function (SLTs)

  • Introduction (Link)
  • Localization and Memory
    • Key Study: Brenda Milner’s Case study of Henry Molaison (HM) (Link 1)(Link 2)
    • Key Study: Maguire’s comparison of London Bus and Taxi Drivers (Link)
  • Localization and Criminal Behaviour
    • The Criminal Brain (Link)
      • Key Study: Raine et al : Brain Function of Murderers (Link)
      • Key Study: Graftman et al: Brain Damage and Violence (Link)

Hormones (SLTs)

  • Introduction (Link)
    • Testosterone and Aggression
      • Key Study:
    • Melatonin and Seasonal Affective Disorder (Link)
      • Key Study: Avery et al Light Treatment for SAD Patients (Link)
    • Sex Hormones (Testosterone and Estrogen) (Link)
      • Key Study: Sex hormones and attraction (Link)
    • Oxytocin and Bonding (Link)
    • Cortisol and Memory (Link)
      • Key Study: Cortisol’s Influence on Memory Recall (Link)

Environment on Physiology (SLTs)

  • Introduction (Link)
  • Environment and Brain Development (Link)
    • Enriched and Deprived Environments
      • Key Study: Rosenzweig and Bennett
      • Key Study: Perry et al
    • Experience and our Brain Development
      • Key Study: Maguire
      • Key Study: Graftman et al

Cognition and Physiology (SLTs)

  • Introduction (Link)
    • Key Study: HM’s Case Study – memory and the hippocampus
    • Key Study: Maguire  (comparison of London bus and taxi driver’s brains)
      • Key Study: Davidson (the brains of Buddhist monks)

Brain Imaging (SLTs)

  • Introduction (Link)
    • MRI (Link)
      • Key Study: Maguire – comparison of bus and taxi drivers
      • Key Study: Grafton et al – Vietnam war veteran brain injury and aggression
    • fMRI (Link)
      • Key Study: Passamonti et al – serotonin, the amygdala and aggression
    • PET
      • Key Study: Raine et al

Genetics and Behaviour

Evolutionary Explanation (SLTs)

  • Introduction
    • Evolutionary explanation of attraction (Link)
    • Evolutionary explanation of love
    • Evolutionary explanation of violence

Genetic Inheritance (SLTs)

  • Introduction (Link)
    • Criminal Behaviour
    • Attraction
    • Disorders
    • Sexuality

Ethical Considerations in Genetics Research (SLTs)

  • Introduction
    • Ethics in Criminal Behaviour Research
    • Ethics in Attraction Research

General Learning Outcomes for the BLA

Principles (SLTs)

  • Introduction
    • Animal studies
    • Physiology (Link)
    • Genetics

Principles and Research (SLTs)

  • Introduction
    • Animal Studies (Link)
    • Physiology
    • Genetics

Research Methods (SLTs)

  • Introduction (Link)
    • Natural Experiments
      • Key Study: Maguire
      • Key Study: Raine et al
      • Key Study: Perry et al
    • Laboratory (True) Experiments
      • Key Study: Rosenzweig and Bennett
    • Case Studies (Link)
      • Key Study: Milner’s study on HM

Ethical Considerations (SLTs)

  • Introduction
    • Technology and the right to withdraw
      • Key Study: Maguire
    • Ethical implications of knowledge
      • Key Study: Raine et al;
      • Key Study: Passaminto et al;
    • Ethical considerations in animal studies
      • Key Study:

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