TOK Tuesdays

Autism and Scientific Beliefs

In what ways does the media we consume influence our scientific beliefs?

In the Ideas Roadshow TOK Clip called Autism and Vaccines, UCL developmental psychologist Uta Frith describes how the hypothesis that childhood vaccines are linked to autism, while initially plausible, was subjected to rigorous scientific testing and found to be false.

We’ve developed seven Knowledge Questions directly related to this clip, below are three of those:

  1. How do emotions influence our belief in the validity of scientific explanations?
  2. Under what circumstances can we distinguish between environmental or genetic causes of a particular phenomenon?
  3. At what point can we justifiably conclude that a hypothesis accounting for the development of a specific psychological condition is invalid?

Below is a screen shot of what the resource page for this TOK clip looks like on Ideas Roadshow’s IBDP Portal. The new PDF that comes with this clip highlights how this resource has been updated to be fully aligned with the new TOK curriculum: the related AOKs, how it directly connects to the new Knowledge Framework – Scope, Perspectives, Methods and Tools and Ethics – in the form of a Knowledge Question, three additional sample Knowledge Questions, related IA prompts for the TOK exhibition and citing suggestions for the TOK exhibition and essay.

If your school does not have an institutional subscription to Ideas Roadshow’s IBDP Portal you can now sign up for an individual teacher or student subscription. Annual individual subscriptions cost only $99 and provide unlimited access to all resources that are part Ideas Roadshow’s IBDP Portal.

All Ideas Roadshow’s TOK resources are digital – they can be seamlessly used for online or in-class teaching without the need to change your lesson plans! 

Extending Wednesdays

ADHD medication on non-ADHD subjects

In today’s Extending Wednesday clip, UC Berkeley clinical psychologist Stephen Hinshaw discusses the psychological research on studies of the effects of ADHD medication on non-ADHD students, relating how, while the level of confidence of the students participating in the study typically drastically increased, their actual results told a rather different story. 

(Excerpt from Extending Ideas In Psychology)

This clip is an excerpt from Ideas Roadshow’s Extending Ideas Video in Psychology.  There are 7 different Extending Ideas Videos that are part of the extensive collection of authoritative expert resources for the extended essay that are part of Ideas Roadshow’s IBDP Portal. Each video features five specific topics highlighted by Ideas Roadshow’s IBDP resources for a possible extended essay or internal assessment in that subject area.  Meanwhile, the comprehensive Ideas Roadshow Extended Essay Guide for Students highlights an additional 5 possible extended essay ideas for each of the 21 different DP subjects we cover.

Our IB-specific digital resource platform offers reliable expert resources in different formats – clips, compilation videos highlighting ideas from different perspectives, long-format videos plus accompanying, enhanced eBooks with lots of additional academic resources and more to construct an excellent essay from start to finish!

TOK Tuesdays

Knowledge and Indigenous Societies

Under what circumstances can we be certain that a community shares our value system?

Today’s TOK Tuesday topic comes from Ideas Roadshow’s new TOK Sampler called Knowledge & Indigenous Societies to give teachers a tangible sense of how the TOK resources that are part of Ideas Roadshow’s IBDP Portal can directly assist with the new optional themes starting this fall, while providing stimulating classroom material that they can use straight away while transitioning to the new course.  All references to WOKs and non-streamlined AOKs will be dropped as of this spring. 

In one of the clips that is part of the Knowledge & Indigenous Societies TOK Sampler, social psychologist Carol Dweck describes how the degree of applicability of her groundbreaking mindset work was strongly influenced by the prevailing community values, describing how the story had to change significantly to be accepted by an American Aboriginal community to explicitly highlight a resonance with their cultural values. 

Extending Wednesdays

Mindsets and Cultural Factors

In today’s clip, Stanford University social psychologist Carol Dweck describes how our appreciation of the key distinction between a growth and fixed mindset, despite its universal relevance to a wide variety of different human societies, invariably needs to be presented in a way that specifically resonates with particular cultural values in order to be accepted and properly understood. 

This clip is an excerpt from Ideas Roadshow’s Extending Ideas in Psychology video.  There are 7 different Extending Ideas videos that are part of the extensive collection of authoritative expert resources for the extended essay on Ideas Roadshow’s IBDP Portal. Each of those videos features five specific topics highlighted by Ideas Roadshow’s IBDP resources for a possible extended essay or internal assessment in that subject area.  Meanwhile, the comprehensive Ideas Roadshow Extended Essay Guide for Students highlights an additional 5 possible extended essay ideas for each of the 21 different DP subjects we cover.

Connecting Thursdays

Undue Influence

Under what circumstances do authority figures inhibit the development of knowledge?

Most researchers like to proudly evoke the titans of their field. Biologists are quick to mention Darwin, mathematicians Gauss and historians Thucydides.  And even when limitations to their work are contemplated it’s done gently, with the utmost respect. You might think that The Republic’s view of the ideal society leans dangerously towards the totalitarian, or be hard at work on “extensions” to general theory of relativity, but the thought that Plato or Einstein had anything even remotely resembling a negative influence on philosophy or physics would never enter your head.  

But what about psychology? In particular, what about the figure of Sigmund Freud, doubtless the most famous psychologist the world has known and clearly one of the founding fathers of the entire discipline.    

In this clip, UC Berkeley sleep scientist Prof. Matthew Walker ruminates on how the enormous influence of Freud had a decidedly negative impact on the science of sleep and dreams – an influence that, he claims, we’re still living with.

Prof. Walker’s arguments are, it should be stressed, decidedly TOK-related. His concern doesn’t just focus on Freud as an authority figure and our unwillingness to question established opinion, it’s strongly related to his belief in the nature of appropriate evidence for a scientific theory – more specifically on how the inherently unverifiable nature of Freudian thinking is antithetical to our modern scientific principles. 

Related Ideas Roadshow’s IBDP resources and supporting materials:  TOK Connections Guide for Psychology, In Freud’s Shadow (TOK), Evolutionary Evidence (TOK), Sleep Attitudes (TOK), Sleep and Memory (TOK).

Connecting Thursdays

The Lower Ground

How do we know when common societal stereotypes are false?

Quick, what comes to mind when you hear the word “schizophrenic”?  If you’re like most people, you’ll probably conjure up shadowy visions of multiple personalities or violent criminals. You certainly wouldn’t think of an award-winning law professor with an endowed chair and her own institute (“Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy, and Ethics”).

But you’d be wrong on both counts.  

Before she published her bestselling memoir, The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness, USC law professor Elyn Saks was recommended by one of her friends to publish it under a pseudonym.  “Do you want to become forever known as ‘the schizophrenic with a job‘?”, her friend probed her.   

Elyn did, eventually, reject the advice, opting to publish the book under her real name.  Her reasoning, she told me, was simply, “I could never write anything that could possibly be more helpful to other people than telling my story, and it was worth the risk.”

When all was said and done, her decision was clearly the right one.  But it’s important to remember that the risk was real.  

And it shouldn’t have been. 

Related Ideas Roadshow IBDP resources include Ideas Roadshow’s TOK Connections Guide for Geography, TOK Connections Guide for SCA, TOK Connections Guide for Psychology, the video clips Stereotypes of Mental Illness (TOK) and Mental Illness and Autonomy (TOK). 

Your school has not subscribed yet? Visit our website – HERE – to learn more about Ideas Roadshow’s IBDP Portal which offers an extensive database of authoritative video and print resources explicitly created to meet the needs of both teachers and students throughout the Diploma Programme.