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Curriculum Leader:

Mrs G Rai

Department Introduction:

Psychology is about people; it is the scientific study of mind and behaviour. It is fascinating to discover explanations for the way that we behave. It is a science and therefore well designed research studies are important to support the theories that psychologists put forward. The specification has been designed to provide a broad introduction to the scope and nature of psychology as a science.


Psychology will be a new subject to most students. The department aims to gradually introduce the skills required for understanding and success. Students develop a number of transferable skills such as critical analysis and evaluation. A variety of teaching and learning techniques are employed to maximise the potential of each student.


The examination board is AQA. Visit the website at for further information and past papers.

The aim of the department is to support each student to achieve to their full potential and to enjoy studying a subject that is new and relevant to everyday life.


Course Overview: A Level Psychology


A level Psychology is assessed by three, two hour examinations at the end of year 13. These are equally weighted:


Paper 1


Social Influence: In this unit we look at how the social context can change a person’s behaviour. Specifically we look at why people conform (follow the crowd), why people blindly obey authority before finally looking at those people who stand out from the crowd and sometimes cause social change (e.g. the suffragettes).


Memory: In this unit we look at how memory works, what makes us forget and we link this theory to the real world by considering whether eyewitness testimony should be trusted by the courts.


Attachment: In this unit we look at the importance of the attachment bond between an infant and their caregiver. We look at real life examples of when this bond hasn’t formed and consider whether it is possible for children to recover from this.


Psychopathology: Psychopathology is another term for ‘mental illness’. We look at how we define mental illness before looking at three specific mental illnesses (OCD, depression, phobias) including their symptoms, their causes and their treatment.


Paper 2

This unit looks at the history of Psychology and the main schools of thought in Psychology.

Biopsychology: In this unit we look at how biological factors shape our behaviour. Specifically we study the nervous system and neurons. We then look at the brain including its anatomy and how it can be studied. Finally, we look at biological rhythms.


Research Methods: This is a double unit looking at the different research methods psychologists have available to them, how research is planned and undertaken, and how data is analysed in order to determine whether a hypothesis can be supported.


Paper 3

In this unit we consider what causes aggressive behaviour before looking specifically at aggression in prisons and whether the media can cause aggressive behaviour.

Cognition and Development: This unit looks at the development of cognition (thought), possible causes of autism, whether empathy has a biological cause and how children learn to take the perspective of others.


Stress: In this unit we look at how stress can lead to illness, causes of stress and ways of managing stress.

Issues and Debates: In this synoptic unit we look at some of the key debates in Psychology such as the ‘nature-nurture’ debate, the question of whether we have free will, and whether we should take a reductionist approach in Psychology. Some of the issues we look at are gender and cultural bias in research.

Department Aims:

Key Stage 3:

Key Stage 4:

Key Stage 5:


Extra-Curricular Activities:

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