In psychology, the central question is whether or not the cause of certain behaviors and traits is attributable to NATURE or NURTURE? Biological or Environmental factors? 

Discussion of this question will be central over the next 2 years, however before we even begin, you as the learner must understand why it even matters!!!

So.  Why does it matter? Get with a partner and discuss this!!!!!

{we’ll watch comedian Louis C.K. hilariously point out the massive power of environmental influences}

You just watched Louis C.K. point out the role of environmental influences and we just concluded discussing the way cognitive, biological and social factors combine to create the phenomena of Road Rage. 

Now, read this incredible piece by Dr. David Eagleman of Baylor University on the power of biological factors (or watch his RSA speech on youtube):

Alternatively, read this abridged version that Mr. Kuykendall made for you HERE 

This piece should cause you to ask many questions, but one is likely, “Do I have free will?”  

This, along with the more broad “nature vs. nurture” discussion will be our central question for the year. 

We will utilize the Question Formulation Technique (QFT) in regard to the concept of “Free Will” to pique our interest and focus our inquiry!

Period 3 Padlet Link          Period 6 Padlet Link        Period 8 Padlet Link

This link has all of the learning outcomes for the BLOA; though PREDICTED exam questions will be written below:

Physiology and Behavior:

  1. The Brain and Behaviour
    1. Techniques used to study the brain in relation to behaviour
    2. Localization of function
    3. Neuroplasticity
    4. Neurotransmitters and their effect on behaviour
  2. Hormones and Pheromones and Behaviour
    1. Hormones and their effect on behaviour
    2. Pheromones and their effect on behaviour
  3. Genetics and Behaviour
    1. Genes and Behaviour
    2. Genetic Similarity
    3. Evolutionary Explanations for behaviour
    4. Twin and Kinship research 

HL Extension: The role of animal research in examining human behaviour

  • For all three topics in the biological approach, and with reference to research studies, HL students should study the following:
    • The value of animal models in psychology research.
    • Whether animal research can provide insight into human behaviour.
    • Ethical considerations in animal research.

We’ll address all the above learning outcomes as we progress throughout the year and record our “responses” to the outcomes on the google doc linked here: BIO STUDY GUIDE TO STUDIES (make a copy!)

Read the articles below on two awesome studies pertaining to the effect of neurotransmission on behavior!! 

Helen Fisher’s Studies on Oxytocin and it’s release during touch and sexual intercourse as a facilitator of psychological and emotional connection: 

Study Abstract:

In Laymen’s Terms:


Link here to Bouchard et al.’ s “minnesota twin study”

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