A subject that tries to probe the human psyche, mental processes and the mind through scientific investigations and the application of psychological knowledge to help individuals and society. Suited for those who care about, and try to understand human and animal behaviour.
Psychology can be defined as the science that investigates mental processes and human behaviour and tries to understand the human mind.
In A-level Psychology, students are expected to understand and evaluate and apply how different research methods are used to generate psychological knowledge. Students will come into contact with psychological theories that are used to explain human behaviour.
Additionally, students will learn about the applications of psychology and how it contributes to the wellbeing of individuals and society, via treatment of abnormality (schizophrenia/ eating disorders/ phobias) as well as the application of theory for the prevention of such behaviours as antisocial acts/ addictions etc.
WHAT WILL YOU STUDY?
In Year 6 you will study: Students will cover 2 units, which make up the AS and contribute towards the AL. Unit 1 will cover Social and Cognitive psychology while Unit 2 will cover Biological psychology, Learning theories and theories of human development. During the instruction of Unit 1, students will gain an understanding about what social psychology is about, aspects of human behaviour that involve the individual’s relationship to other persons, groups and society, including cultural influences on behaviour. While covering cognitive psychology students will develop an understanding of the role of cognition/cognitive processes in human behaviour. Processes to be understood include perception, memory, selective attention, language and problem solving. The cognitive topic area draws on how information is processed in the brain.
For unit 2 students will learn more about biological psychology and biological mechanisms within our body and how they affect our behaviour, with a focus on aggression and body rhythms. During Unit 2, students will be exposed to varying learning theories: learning from the environment, the effects of conditioning, reinforcement, punishment, the role of reward and social learning contribute to individual behaviour. Students will be guided to develop an understanding of learning theories as theories of development and psychodynamic ideas and concepts as different explanations for development, as well as focusing on individual differences.
In Year 7 you will study: Students will continue their exploration of psychology by learning more about the application of psychology and its theories to explain human development, crime and improvement of health. In Unit 3 there are three applications, one compulsory (human development) and then a choice of one from criminological and health psychology. For developmental psychology, students will learn about the development of the individual from before birth to adolescence and beyond and that what we experience as children affects us including our later development. If criminological psychology is chosen as an option students will learn about the definition and causes of crime and anti-social behaviour, as well as issues around identification of offenders, and treatment of offenders. If health psychology is chosen students must show an understanding of health from a biological, cognitive and social basis, focusing on stress. Additionally, they will also learn that health psychology is about promoting good health.
Unit 4 consists of two topics: Clinical Psychology and Psychological skills. Student will learn that Clinical psychology is about mental health issues, including issues in diagnosing, features and symptoms of specific disorders, explanations of why disorders develop and treatments and therapies used by clinical psychologists to treat disorders. Psychological skills is a synoptic section in which students will be asked to draw on other areas of the qualification, from units 1, 2 , 3 and clinical psychology, in order to understand conceptual and methodological issues. Students will develop an understanding of how to use theories, methodology and evidence from many areas of psychology and apply them to issues and debates such as, whether psychology is a science or not, the issue of nature Vs nurture, ethnocentrism etc.
WHAT CAN PSYCHOLOGY A-LEVEL OFFER ME?
Psychology can be fascinating and intriguing. It is a subject area that encompasses philosophy, biology and the methodologies used in the physical sciences. Psychology is something that everybody uses on a daily basis, however scientific psychology is different from lay psychology in that it can be used to understand ourselves, our actions, emotions, feelings and behaviours. You will learn to stop and ask the critical questions of why, when, what.
Psychological knowledge is also applied to everyday life, from methods of teaching in academia, prevention of antisocial behaviour, parenting styles, explaining mating choices, manipulation of people via advertising etc. So, where will psychology benefit you? It will help you reduce your stress levels, understand yourself, understand others and start thinking critically about people’s behaviour.It will be a good foundation if you want to study psychology or any other related field.
Assessment provides students with an opportunity to test their understanding and critical thinking and consists of:
- Maximum 2 tests per semester (70%)
- Essay questions, both short and long for homework and designing and implementing short research projects (30%)
The main skills gained by taking psychology are:
- Analytical thinking
- Alternative thinking
- Improved emotional intelligence
- Critical thinking
- Planning and implementing research projects
- Empathy with, and acceptance of, other people
- Working in groups
This qualification provides a useful educational function for students not intending to study psychology at a higher level, but who seek direct entry into employment, especially into the caring, sports management, occupational and media sectors. At the same time they are a suitable preparation for higher education courses in Psychology, Social Work, Psychotherapy, Education, Personnel Management, Nursing etc. Psychology complements the study of Biology, PE, Media, English and Law.