Borderline disorder

This week we spent working on our internal assessment.  Next week, HL will continue looking at the issue of diagnosis in psychology. The following week we have a stretch day where we will be doing a diagnosis activity.  On that day, we will be talking about borderline personality disorder.  It would be helpful if you watched this video before class. It will give you some background that will help you with our in-class activity.

Notice that one of the patients is an international school student.

Culture bound syndromes: Hikikomori

For those of you who would like to know more about Hikikomori, here is a good video.  This is the Dutch language video (with subtitles). Below find the links for parts II & III.


Part II

Part III

And speaking about culture and abnormality – and how social norms define what is abnormal, take a look at this article from BBC this week about women in Ghana.


Weekly summary: August 25 – 29

This week we began our study of abnormal psychology.  At the end of this week you should be able to:

  • Discuss both conceptual and practical definitions of abnormality.
  • Explain the problems with using a statistical or social deviation approach to defining normalcy.
  • Explain why symptoms are problematic in determining whether a behaviour is normal.
  • Explain the limitations of Jahoda’s Optimal Health Model.

The following video is a good summary of what we did this week.

Enjoy your Week without Walls.  When we get back, we will be discussing diagnosis….

Weekly summary: May 12 – 16

Robert Sapolsky

This week we watched the film “Stress: Portrait of a Killer.”  Based on our notes, our reading and the video, you should be able to answer the following questions:

  • What are the physiological responses to stress? (In other words, what does our body due to respond to a stressor?)
  • According to Selye, what is the result of chronic stress?
  • According to Brady et al, what role does our sense of control have on our health?
  • Why did Sapolsky choose baboons as his sample to study the effects of stress?
  • What were Sapolsky’s findings with regard to the role of social ranking on health in baboon troops?
  • The Whitehall study found similar results.  Why was the Whitehall study a “model study?”
  • What role does stress play on cardiovascular health?
  • What role does stress play on emotional health?
  • According to the Dutch Hunger Study, what role did stress play on the health of the offspring of women who had survived the famine?
  • What effect does stress have on telomeres?  Why should this matter to us?

In case you missed the video – or in case you loved it so much that you want to watch it again! – the link is below.

Weekly summary: April 22 – May 2


Two very short weeks – and next week another one.  Oj.

Our topic these past two weeks has been the role of genetics on behaviour.  At the end of this set of lessons, you should be able to discuss the following:

  •  Why do psychologists use twin studies?
  • What is meant by the concordance rate?
  • One of the problems of studying the genetic basis of intelligence is construct validity.  What does that mean?
  • What is the advantage of using a prospective study?  What is the disadvantage?
  • What is one limitation of adoption studies?
  • What is a pedigree study?
  • What are two ethical considerations when carrying out genetic studies in psychology?

If you can answer all of those questions, you are doing well.  Below is a short interview which looks at the life of Henrietta Lacks, whom we discussed in class.  Enjoy your weekend.

Weekly summary: April 7 – 11

This week we looked the origins of emotion. At the end of this week you should be able to talk about the following concepts:

  • Emotions may have an evolutionary advantage for humans.
  • Ekman argues that facial expressions may be universal, showing us that there are biological roots for basic emotions.
  • LeDoux argues that emotional responses are the result of two paths to the brain. Be able to explain his model as well as how Fiske has applied the model in her research on racism and prejudice.
  • Cognitive labeling is one of the key theories of emotions. The study by Speismann is a good example of this.
  • You should also be able to describe Schachter & Singer’s study – and also be able to discuss its ethical and procedural issues.

Looking forward to moving on to our last topic of the year – the Biological Level of Analysis and the role of stress in our lives….