Writing samples:Biological

The following section includes annotated samples of responses to exam questions - as well as strategies for answering questions based on the command terms. The responses are not from the IB.  They are based on work done in-class by students, or they are created specifically for the site. Often the sample is designed to provide examples of common mistakes or in order to show something that should be done for higher marks. 

There is no definitive list of questions for this curriculum - so the list of potential questions below is not exhaustive.  However, I do believe that most of the questions will fall within the list that has been provided below. The questions are grouped by topic and include both SAQ and ERQ (essay) questions.

For the ERQ responses, students will need to include two or more pieces of research. In most cases, a single example will be asked for the SAQ questions.

Potential exam questions: Generic

SAQs

  1. Explain the use of one research method in one study using the biological approach to understanding human behaviour. 
  2. Explain one ethical consideration relevant to one study using a biological approach to understanding human behaviour.

ERQs

Each of the questions above may be asked as an ERQ by removing "one study" and replacing the command term as follows:

  • Discuss the use of one or more research methods.....
  • Evaluate the use of one or more research methods....
  • Discuss ethical considerations .....

Potential exam questions: brain and behaviour

SAQs

Each of the following questions may be asked either as an outline, describe or explain question.  To keep things simple, each question is asked as an "explain" question here.

  1. Explain one technique used to study the brain in relation to behaviour.
  2. Explain one study of localization of function.
  3. Explain one study of neuroplasticity.
  4. Explain neuroplasticity, making use of one study.
  5. Explain the role of one neurotransmitter in human behaviour, making use of one study.

ERQs

Each of the questions above may be asked using the command terms discuss, evaluate, contrast or "to what extent" as appropriate.

  1. Evaluate at least one technique used to study the brain in relation to behaviour.
  2. Evaluate research on localization of function.
  3. Evaluate research on neuroplasticity.
  4. Evaluate research on the role of neurotransmission on behaviour.

Potential exam questions: hormones and behaviour

SAQs

  1. Explain the role of one hormone in human behaviour, making use of one study.
  2. Explain one study of the role of pheromones in human behaviour.

ERQs

Each of the questions above may be asked using the command terms discuss, evaluate, contrast or "to what extent" as appropriate.

  1. Discuss the role of hormones on behaviour, using one or more examples.
  2. Discuss the role of pheromones in human behaviour.

Potential exam questions: genetics and behaviour

SAQs

  1. Explain one study of the role of genes in human behaviour.
  2. Explain one evolutionary explanation of one behaviour.

ERQs

Each of the questions above may be asked using the command terms discuss, evaluate, contrast or "to what extent" as appropriate.

  1. To what extent does genetic inheritance play a role in one behaviour?
  2. Evaluate research on the role of genes on behaviour.
  3. Discuss/Evaluate one evolutionary explanation of behaviour.

Potential exam questions: animal research (HL only)

ERQs

  1. Discuss the value of animal models in psychology research.
  2. Discuss the value of animal models in the study of the brain and behaviour.
  3. Discuss the value of animal models in the study of hormones and behaviour
  4. Discuss the value of animal models in the study of the role of genes on behaviour.
  5. To what extent can animal research provide insight into human behaviour?
  6. To what extent can animal research provide insight into the role of the brain in human behaviour?
  7. To what extent can animal research provide insight into the role of genes on human behaviour?
  8. To what extent can animal research provide insight into the role of hormones on human behaviour?
  9. Discuss ethical considerations in animal research.
  10. Discuss ethical considerations in animal research on the brain and behaviour.
  11. Discuss ethical considerations in animal research on hormones and behaviour.
  12. Discuss ethical considerations in animal research on the role of genes on behaviour.
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Comments 14

RWA Psychology1 18 April 2018 - 15:13

Dear John, if an ERQ comes up about genetic inheritance on behavior, will it only come in a form of examining one behavior or could it also ask to examine two different behaviors, for instance Caspi on Depression and Bouchard on intelligence.

John Crane 19 April 2018 - 07:42

It may specify one behaviour or it will be general, allowing students to use one ir more behaviours

Bridget Dempsey 3 May 2018 - 15:08

Hello,
What would be some good studies to help respond to "Explain the use of one research method in one study of the brain and behaviour."

Thanks.

John Crane 3 May 2018 - 20:50

Dear Bridget

Please see the textbook section on the brain and behaviour. There are several studies in that section - as well as in the lesson plans. Any study may be used for this question.

Tripti Rathore 9 May 2018 - 08:16

Dear John,
Would you be uploading sample answers on animal research (HL extension)

Tripti Rathore 9 May 2018 - 08:17

I mean sample responses

John Crane 9 May 2018 - 11:53

Eventually. My priority is lesson plans at this point. When I finish that, i will be uploading samples.

RWA Psychology1 20 May 2018 - 06:52

Dear John,
My students have learnt 2 studies for the effects of genes on two different human behaviours, major depression and intelligence
So, this ERQ.To what extent does genetic inheritance play a role in one behaviour? worries me because it would mean that they need to learn at least 2 research studies for each human behaviour.

Please clarify. Thanks as always, for being there for us!

John Crane 21 May 2018 - 05:23

Dear Raffles

Yes, they should be able to write an essay that shows understanding of genetics of one behaviour. This would mean 2 or more studies on that one behaviour. They would never be asked to discuss genetics of two behaviours, so the preparation for one behaviour in depth is the way to go.

RWA Psychology1 21 May 2018 - 06:32

Thanks John.
Kind regards,
Renu

Kimberly Clever 18 August 2018 - 22:17

Hi John
Content from column 2, can either be SAQ or ERQ. But, column 1(topics) is just ERQ and will also include research methods and ethics. Is this correct?

John Crane 19 August 2018 - 05:36

Dear Kimberly, no. Everything can be asked either as an SAQ or an ERQ.

Lakshmi Priya Vivek 3 September 2018 - 11:38

Hi John
If the question (ERQ) is - Discuss the role of hormone on human behavior. (Hormone - Singular)
Do we explain: one hormonal activity with two supporting studies OR
Is it accepted if we explain two different hormones with two corresponding studies

John Crane 4 September 2018 - 05:50

Dear Lakshmi

That is a good question. Questions are usually asked as "one or more". The guide says that students may "one or more examples." So, either approach is fine.