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Describe and critically discuss two key theories of addiction (e.g Physical Dependence, Positive-Incentive & Incentive-Sensitisation)

Biopsychology – Masters Level 7

This test paper consists of six questions of which you must answer two. Each question should be 1500 words +/- 10%. Ensure that you reference your work appropriately. You must use (APA) American Psychological Association 7th in your referencing.

Question 1: Describe and critically discuss two key theories of addiction (e.g Physical Dependence, Positive-Incentive & Incentive-Sensitisation) (1500 words) a minimum of 30 references.

Question 2: Do psychotherapies work at the brain level? Critically assess some of the evidence from studies investigating the effects of psychotherapy in the brain (1500 words) a minimum of 30 references.

What is expected in these essays:

This is level 7 work, therefore you must present strong analytical arguments, drawing conclusions, contextualising, describing key terms, critical questioning, main line of reasoning and the importance and relevance of information/data.

You should include the key theories described in your lectures and in the course material, and you should also supplement this with additional readings and literature. You should ensure your answers include some discussion and critical evaluation. You are welcome to add subtitles to your answers if you feel it would be beneficial.

Essay questions are used to test higher cognitive skills such as critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis. Please bear in mind that a certain amount of work is required to prepare the answers for your chosen questions – you cannot provide a satisfactory answer just by bluffing

Can you please use subtitles for each section.

What is addiction:

‘A chronic, relapsing condition/disorder characterized by drug seeking and repetitive use; this occurs despite harmful consequences, and is associated with long-lasting changes in the brain.’

Information and References to include for Question 2 (please include additional references):

  • The Nucleus Accumbens
  • The Role of Dopamine - Midbrain dopamine neurons have been proposed to signal the reward prediction errors (Schultz et al., 1997, Sutton, 1988). – Neurons fired more strongly to unpredicted than to predicted reward.
  • Incentive Sensitisation - Berridge, Robinson and Aldridge (2009) have suggested that the PI value of addictive drugs increases with drug use.
  • People with an addiction often report a mismatch between PI and HV
  • Operant Conditioning and Classical Conditioning
  • The ‘Incentive salience’ of Pavlovian cues puts people at risk of addiction (Saunders & Robinson, 2013).
  • MacNicol, B. (2017). The biology of addiction. Can J Anesth/J Can Anesth (2017) 64:141–148
  • Pinel & Barnes (2018). Biopsychology, Ch. 15.
  • Theory of Addiction, 2nd Edition, Robert West & Jamie Brown. Describe and critically discuss two key theories of addiction (e.g Physical Dependence, Positive-Incentive & Incentive-Sensitisation)

Information and References to use for Question 5 (please include additional references):


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