What the Subject is About:
An academic and applied science involving the systematic study of human and animal mental functions and behaviour. Psychologists are interested in how people act, react and interact as individuals and in groups.
What do students learn about?
PAPER 1 – INTRODUCTORY TOPICS IN PSYCHOLOGY
- Social Influence: types of conformity; Zimbardo and social roles; explanations of obedience and resistance; minority influence and social change
- Memory: memory models; types of long-term memory; forgetting, eyewitness testimony and improving it
- Attachment: caregiver-infant interactions; animal studies of attachment; explanations; Ainsworth’s ‘strange situation’; Bowlby’s theory of maternal deprivation; the influence of early attachment on adult relationships
- Psychopathology: defining abnormality; approaches/characteristics of mental illness
PAPER 2 – PSYCHOLOGY IN CONTEXT
- Approaches: learning; cognitive; biological; psychodynamic; humanistic; comparison of approaches
- Biopsychology: divisions of nervous; structure and function of neurons/endocrine system, fight/flight, localisation of brain function; ways of studying the brain; bio-rhythms
- Research methods: experimental method; observational and self-report techniques; correlations; content analysis; case studies; scientific processes; data handling and analysis; inferential testing
PAPER 3 – ISSUES AND OPTIONS IN PSYCHOLOGY
- Issues and debates: gender, culture, freewill v determinism, nature-nurture, holism/reductionism, approaches (ideographic and nomothetic), ethical implications of research studies and theories
- Relationships: theories and factors affecting attraction in romantic relationships; evolutionary explanation; virtual relationships on social media; para-social relationships
- Stress: physiology; illness; sources; measuring; individual differences; managing and coping with stress
Forensic Psychology: problems in defining crime; offender profiling; explanations (biological/psychological); dealing with offending behaviour (custodial sentencing; recidivism; behaviour modification; anger management; restorative justice)
How is the subject taught?
A variety of teaching and learning activities are used: class discussion, group work, guided research (texts/internet), note taking, DVDs, replication of key studies in psychology, workshops for basic statistics.
How is the subject assessed?
A-level Psychology is completed over two years and comprises THREE x 2 hour exams (96 marks each) which are taken in May/June of the final year. Students will sit an internally assessed ‘mock’ year 1 exam in May/June of year 12 (Paper 1 and Paper 2) and will need to achieve at least a grade D in this to be eligible to continue in the subject into year 13.
What further opportunities are there after taking “Psychology”?
Psychology can lead to a range of Higher Education degrees including: psychology, health, social science subjects and many others that require academic, science A-levels for entry. Psychology is useful for many careers such as professional psychologist, business management, teaching, and health and social care careers e.g. midwifery.
What one of students thought…. ‘Psychology is really interesting; I particularly enjoyed the social influence topic in year 12’. Lauren plans to study marketing at University.
Who are we?
Mrs J Larkin