Psychology

Head of Department

Mrs M Dodd
Miss C Judd

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Psychology

Psychology is the scientific study of the human mind; hence we aim to give students an insight into some of the causes and explanations of a diverse range of human behaviours and thinking processes.

Psychology is offered at A level and the entry requirement is at least 6 GCSEs at grade B or above (including maths and biology).

Summary of Subject Content

Psychology A level 7182
The A level examination consists of three terminal papers, all taken in June of the final year of the course. Additional revision sessions are available if required.

Paper 1: Introductory Topics in Psychology

Memory – this aspect of the course explores the main models of memory organisation, asking, for example, why it is that eyewitnesses to events are often misled when asked to recount what they have seen.

Attachment – focuses on the lasting impact of childhood experiences and the role day care has to play in a person’s emotional and social development.

Psychopathology – explores the nature of mental illness in society. We examine various psychological approaches which all seek to explain the origins of mental illness, and finally we consider a range of different therapeutic interventions which attempt improve mental health

Social Influence – investigates the explanations for conformity and obedience in society and examines the various social factors underlying societal change.

Assessment: A 2 hour written exam contributing to 1/3 of the A level qualification.

Paper 2: Psychology in Context

Approaches in psychology – the origins of psychology and its development as a science. We examine the basic assumptions of the five main approaches, all of which attempt to explain human behaviour from radically different standpoints. These approaches are the learning theory, cognitive, psychodynamic, the biological approach and humanistic psychology.

Biopsychology – the detailed physiological processes of brain and the nervous system, the structure and function of sensory, relay and motor neurons, processes of synaptic transmission, including the role of neurotransmitters. We also explore ways of studying the brain: scanning techniques, including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI); electroencephalogram (EEGs) and event-related potentials (ERPs).

Research methods – this topic assesses the strengths and limitations of a range of different types of research methods ranging from carefully controlled laboratory experiments to free-running natural observations. Students learn how to effectively describe data using a range of graphical techniques, and how to interpret and analyse statistical findings.

Assessment: A 2 hour written exam contributing to 1/3 of the A level qualification.

Paper 3: Issues and Options in Psychology

Students will develop knowledge, understanding and skills of analysis and understanding in relation to three topics from a range of options including relationships, gender, schizophrenia, stress, aggression, cognition and addiction.

Issues and debates in psychology – we examine the impact of environment and biology, and culture and gender in determining behaviour.

Assessment: A 2 hour written exam contributing to 1/3 of the A level qualification.

Exam board: AQA specification A

For more information, please visit www.aqa.org.uk

Trips, Special Projects, Extra-curricular Clubs/Activities

We work with the careers department to invite guest speakers in to share their workplace experiences with students, for example, LEA educational psychologists. Attendance at psychology taster workshops offered by various universities is frequently promoted to all students who are considering psychology as a degree subject. Students are also offered the opportunity to attend annual youth conferences focusing on the role of forensic psychologists.

Career Opportunities

A psychology qualification can support further study and a range of career options including clinical psychology, forensic psychology, educational psychology, health psychology, sports psychology, counselling, occupational psychology research, neuropsychology, teaching and training. Knowledge of psychology is useful in myriad other career paths, such as advertising, media and criminology, for which a higher degree is not a pre-requisite.

Links

www.bps.org.uk