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Psychology

Psychology allows students to gain an understanding of people and their motivation. Students engage with real-world issues, applying their psychological knowledge and skills to case studies and experiments.

Psychology is a science, meaning there is a focus on brain structures, neurochemicals and other psychological factors that impact an individual's behaviour. Students also carry out and analyse experiments, using a range of inferential statistics.

In Year 12, students study introductory topics in psychology including social influence, memory, attachment, psychopathology, biopsychology, approached and research methods. In Year 13 students study cognition and development, aggression, schizophrenia, issues and debates and further research methods. Student develop the ability to make links and comparisons between topics and research used between topics in order to evaluate them.

Students grow as independent thinkers and informed and ethically-minded citizens, who understand the role and importance of psychology as one of the key disciplines relevant to understanding how to cope with the fast-paced society we live in today.

Assessment of psychology takes the form of three exam papers taken in Year 13.

 

Year 12

 

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of psychological concepts, theories, research studies, research methods and ethical issues in relation to social influence, memory, attachment, psychopathology and biopsychology.
  • Apply psychological knowledge and understanding of the topics in a range of contexts.
  • Analyse, interpret and evaluate psychological concepts, theories, research studies and research methods in relation to the topics.
  • Evaluate therapies and treatments in terms of their appropriateness and effectiveness.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a range of psychological approaches and use these to explain, compare and evaluate the range of topics.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of research methods, scientific processes and techniques of data handling and analysis. Students will be familiar with their use and aware of their strengths and limitations. They will apply them to a range of contexts across all topic areas.

Topics taught

  • Social influence: conformity, obedience, resistance to social influence, minority influence and the role of social influence in social change.
  • Memory: types, multi-store model, working memory model, explanations for forgetting, factors influencing eye-witness testimony and how to improve the accuracy of it.
  • Attachment: care-giver interactions, animal studies, learning theory and monotropic theory explanations, Ainsworth’s strange situation, maternal deprivation theory, influence of early attachment on relationships.
  • Psychopathology: definitions of abnormality, characteristics of phobias, depression and OCD, behavioural approach to explaining and treating phobias, cognitive approach to explaining and treating depression and the biological approach to explaining and treating OCD.
  • Biopsychology: divisions of the nervous system, neurons, endocrine system, flight or fight response, localisation of brain function, scanning techniques and biological rhythms.
  • Approaches: learning, cognitive, biological, psychodynamic and humanistic.
  • Research Methods: methods of research, scientific processes, data handling and analysis, inferential testing.

 

Year 13

 

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of psychological concepts, theories, research studies, research methods and ethical issues in relation to cognition and development, schizophrenia and aggression.
  • Apply psychological knowledge and understanding of the topics in a range of contexts.
  • Analyse, interpret and evaluate psychological concepts, theories, research studies and research methods in relation to the topics.
  • Evaluate therapies and treatments in terms of their appropriateness and effectiveness.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a range of psychological issues and debates and use these to evaluate the range of topics.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of research methods, scientific processes and techniques of data handling and analysis. Students will be familiar with their use and aware of their strengths and limitations. They will apply them to a range of contexts across all topic areas.
  • Students will recap and revise all topic areas taught across Year 12 with a focus on students gaining a deeper understanding of the topics and becoming more familiar with the exam format.
  • Students will be prepared as to how to answer a range of question styles, with a key understanding of the exam command terms and how to structure a sixteen-mark answer.
  • A particular focus will be given to research methods and these will be integrated into all topics through revision.

Topics taught

  • Cognition and development: Piaget’s theory, Vygotsky’s theory, Baillargeon’s theory, the development of social cognition and mirror-neurons.
  • Schizophrenia: classification, biological and psychological explanations, drug therapy, cognitive therapy and an interactionist approach.
  • Aggression: neural and hormonal explanations, genetic factors, ethological explanations, evolutionary explanations, social psychological explanations, institutional aggression and media influences. 
  • Issues and debates: gender and culture, free will and determinism, nature and nurture, holism and reductionism, idiographic and nomothetic and ethical implications including social sensitivity.
  • Research Methods: methods of research, scientific processes, data handling and analysis, inferential testing.

 

Link to exam specification

 

 

https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/psychology/as-and-a-level/psychology-7181-7182

 

Year 13 student

Some topics are really eye-opening as you realise that not everyone in the world is bough up or cared for in the same way.