Psychology

Psychology is the study of the mind and behaviour. It is a popular and useful subject because it has a big impact on all areas of life. It is particularly useful in relation to education, health, the economy, industry and crime. If you are interested in finding out why people behave the way they do or how the brain works then psychology could be for you.

Taking a GCSE or A Level in Psychology will give you a good grounding in the subject and provide an insight into what it might be like to be a professional psychologist. Psychology is also useful in many other careers because it develops a number of transferable skills which are useful in many jobs and professions.

Unlike most subjects, you do not need to have studied GCSE Psychology to be able to study it at A Level. GCSE will give you an understanding of the basic principles but A Level covers a different range of topics.

  • GCSE Psychology

    GCSE Psychology covers a large range of topics relating to social, developmental, biological and cognitive psychology. In the first year of the course we cover topics including:

    Sex & Gender – What is it that makes you male or female? Is nature more or less important than nurture? We answer these questions and look at how research as affected equal opportunities.

    Memory – How does our memory work? What is the difference between short term memory and long term memory? When you know the answers you can improve your own memory.

    Attachment – The types of attachments that you form with adults before you are two years old has a dramatic affect on how long your adult relationships will last! We look at why this is.

    Obedience – Would you pick up a piece of someone else’s litter from the ground if a stranger asked you to? It depends on how he is dressed. We look at many things that affect whether you do what you are told or whether you defy orders. What can you do to increase people's obedience? How is this knowledge useful in prisons?

    Phobias – Why are some people afraid of snakes when they have never seen one? Why are some people afraid of buttons? Can you teach someone to be afraid of something? We look at what causes people to be scared of things that cannot harm them and then at how psychologists can cure people of their phobias.

     

  • A Level Psychology

    We run AQA Psychology at Hampton College, it is a fascinating and challenging course.

    The topics we cover for AS (Year 12) are below:-

    • Social influence
    • Attachment
    • Memory
    • Research Methods
    • Psychopathology
    • Approaches

    At A2 (Year 13) we cover:-

    • Relationships
    • Schizophrenia
    • Eating Behaviour
    • Addictive Behaviour
    • Aggression
    • Forensic Psychology

    Work is assessed as AS in short structured questions, multiple choice questions and short essays.  At A2 short structured questions remain plus longer extended essays.

    Here are some examples of the types of behaviours we look at in Psychology:

    Applying memory research: Eyewitness Testimony

    Eyewitness testimony is a term derived from law, which simply is 'an account of an incident'  accident or crime that a person may have witnessed.  Their testimony of what happens can quite clearly have a massive effect on court cases and in turn, people's freedom or future.   Rattner (1988) reviewed 25 cases of wrongful conviction, 52% down to inaccurate eye witness testimony.

    Memory - Key Questions

    • Where is information held?
    • What form is it held in?
    • How is it encoded (stored)?
    • How is it forgotten
    • How have psychologists understood memory, and what are the strengths and limitations of their models?
    • What factors affect our memories?
    • How can we improve our memory?

    Zimbardo's Prison Simulation Study

    What can we conclude from behaviour from a fake prison?  One prisoner was released on the first day because he showed symptoms of psychological disturbance.  Two more prisoners were released on the fourth day.  One prisoner went on a hunger strike.  The guards attempted to force-feed him and then punished him by putting him in 'the hole' a makeshift solitary confinement area, very dark small cupboard.  The prisoners did not see the hunger strike prisoner as a hero instead they shunned him.   The guards became more and more aggressive.

     

    Examples of exam questions

    1.      Explain how social influence leads to social change with reference to attitudes towards homosexuality. (6 marks)
    2.      Describe and evaluate research into minority influence (12 marks).