IB PSYCH EE – LITERATURE BASED In Psychology, the extended essay is literature based. This means that you read scientific journals and books that deal with the topic that you are investigating.
IB PSYCH EE – EXPECTATIONS Based on your reading you must formulate a focused research question and find appropriate material to answer it. The EE should be in the form of an argument for its conclusion. An extended essay in psychology cannot be an experiment, and you are not supposed to carry out any interviews to collect data.
*IMPORTANT NOTICE It is recommended that you do not attempt to do your EE in Psychology unless you are studying this subject as part of the IB programme.
TIPS To be successful it is really important to keep your research question well focused. Too broad: Does stress relate to illness? Focused: To what extent is stress involved in coronary heart disease? Too broad: What determines whether flashbulb memories of an event will form? Focused: What is the current evidence about the role of social sharing of memories in the formation and maintenance of flashbulb memories?
Examples of topics and essay questions: Sports psychology: To what extent does a coach play a role in a team’s motivation? Developmental: To what extent are attachment patterns culturally determined? Abnormal: Why are more women than men diagnosed with depression? Relationships: Is there a biological basis for homosexuality? Cognition: To what extent can a child’s testimony be seen as credible and reliable within an eyewitness situation?
PLANNING The sample questions above are to help you identify an area of interest. You do not need to use the same question, you can write your own. It is important that you take time to discuss the question with one of the psychology teachers and your supervisor. The Scientific American Mind is also an excellent resource for investigating areas of research and finding key journal articles. http://www.scientificamerican.com/
IT CAN BE FUN! You learn about a new topic and become an expert on it Once you start writing – the process feels less intimidating! It is about doing something you think is interesting! You will be working many hours on it! Many enjoy it! You will find that 40 hours fly by! Sometimes you may feel you could use some more time! Choose material that is actually available. Do some good early research to ensure there is material out there! You are not reinventing the wheel!
MORE TOPICS – PSYCH AND EDUCATION Psychology and Education Montessori schools: based on a humanistic approach to education are they also in line with cognitive theory? An investigation into whether there is a critical period for language acquisition The effect of music on the human brain To what extent do parents’ discipline style influence the temperament of the children? How far is intelligence determined by heredity or how far is it malleable? What is the relationship between precocious talent and adult achievement? ( e.g. in Music) Do children who have attended some form of pre-schooling when under the age of 5 yrs have an educational advantage when they start school? To what extent does violence in the televised media have the potential to increase the level of aggression within children? A cross-cultural comparison ( e.g. China/UK ) of the effects of schooling on motivation to learn and educational achievement Should boys and girls be educated differently? An evaluation of “smart drugs” in improving school performance
MORE TOPICS – PSYCH AND HUMAN RELATIONS Is there a biological basis for homosexuality? To what extent is the Stanford Prison Study an adequate explanation of what happened in the Holocaust? To what extent does psychology provide valid explanations for altruistic behaviour? Resiliency in response to traumatic events – why makes some people more resilient than others? To what extent can the “contact hypothesis” be used to decrease prejudice between groups? How far can the committing of war atrocities be explained by Milgram’s obedience account?
MORE TOPICS – PSYCH AND HEALTH Health Psychology Is addictive behaviour more inherited or is it more influenced by environment and their treatments? How can society address the problem of teenage obesity? The effect of diet on children’s performance in an educational setting How do Psychological factors affect a person’s immune system? Is hypnosis an effective treatment for pain relief? What are the effects of the disruption of the circadian cycle by jetlag and how can the effects be avoided? Are married couples happier than singles? What do we know about the relationship between stress and physiological illness and can we use that knowledge to cope with stress? An investigation into the extent to which adolescent binge drinking is a product of socialization.
MORE TOPICS – PSYCH AND ABNORMAL DEVELOPMENT To what extent is depression the result of one’s environment? To what extent are the media to blame for eating disorders? To what extent is Schizophrenia no longer a viable Psychological construct? To what extent are the causes of anorexia the result of cultural factors? What effect do autistic siblings have on their non-autistic siblings Is it possible to determine what causes autism? A comparison of the effectiveness of individualized counseling and family counseling n the treatment of anorexia Are children raised by single parents more likely to become depressed than others? An evaluation of SSRIs in the treatment of depression Should “shyness” be treated?
MORE TOPICS – PSYCH AND SPORTS What levels of psychological arousal are most effective for players in team sports? What methods are available to avoid choking in competitive sport? Why exercise hurts: an exploration of the processes and functions of fatigue and pain How effective can exercise be in combating clinical depression? How does participation in team sports influence the development of social skills in 12-16 year old school students? To what extent does personality affect an elite sportsman’s performance? Does being a perfectionist have a detrimental effect on sporting performance? Aggression in sports: A discussion of the psychological explanations of aggression in female amateur roller derby players and the extent to which this aggression affects the player’s everyday life The relationship between team cohesion and performance in basketball To what extent does a coach play a role in a team’s motivation? How to decrease the problem of football hooliganism
MORE TOPICS – PSYCH AND CRIMINOLOGY Is profiling an accurate method to deter terrorism? To what extent is violent crime in men the result of a biological predisposition? To what extent can a child’s testimony be seen as credible and reliable within an eyewitness situation? Can empathy be taught? : an evaluation of the ‘Restorative Justice’ initiative in the UK How far can psychological theories and research be applied to help juries make fair decisions?
OTHER TOPICS NOT COVERED What is the best way to be happy at work? Is happiness compatible with productivity? Is there any evidence that companies which treat their workers well are more commercially successful? What are the psychological consequences of current increases in job-insecurity and unemployment arising from the ‘credit-crunch’ ? Are there any common characteristics of ‘good leaders’ or do leaders need to exercise different personal qualities or styles of behaviour in different spheres? ( e.g. factory manager, vs army commander )