Psychology

At A-Level, psychology investigates why we behave in the manner we do, helping us understand the human psyche.

Sixth Form Psychology

Psychology is the science of the human brain and behaviour. It is the study of the mind and soul. At A-Level, psychology investigates why we behave in the manner we do, helping us understand the human psyche. It also gives us insight into the motivations behind our actions. A-level psychology provides a comprehensive understanding of fundamental psychological principles related to cognitive processes, concerning crucial aspects of human behaviour. Through the examination of psychological theories and research, you can acquire profound insights into diverse dimensions of human thought and behaviour.

The A Level Psychology course is made up of the AS course in Year 12 and the A2 component in Year 13.

 Year 12: AS Psychology course: The AS Level qualification are external examinations completed at the end of Year 12. The examinations are comprised of two papers: ·

Paper One: Research Methods

Paper Two: Approaches, Issues and Debates

There are 12 core studies which are underpinned by four approaches.

Biological approach:

Behaviour, cognitions and emotions can be explained in terms of the working of the brain and the effect of hormones, genetics and evolution. • Similarities and differences between people can be understood in terms of biological factors and their interaction with other factors.

  • Dement and Kleitman (sleep and dreams)
  • Hassett et al. (monkey toy preferences)
  • Hölzel et al. (mindfulness and brain scans)


Cognitive approach:

Information is processed through the same route in all humans: input – process – output, in a similar way to how information is processed by a computer. • People have individual differences in their cognitive processing such as with attention, language, thinking and memory. These processes can also help to explain behaviour and emotion.

  • Andrade (doodling)
  • Baron-Cohen et al. (eyes test)
  • Pozzulo et al. (line-ups)


Learning approach:

We all begin life as a blank slate. Experiences and interactions with the environment shape our behaviour and these changes are directly observable. • We learn through the processes of operant conditioning, classical conditioning and social learning. This can be understood using the stimulus-response model.

  • Bandura et al. (aggression)
  • Fagen et al. (elephant learning)
  • Saavedra and Silverman (button phobia)

Social approach:

Behaviour, cognitions and emotions are influenced by social contexts, social environments and groups.

  • Behaviour, cognitions and emotions are influenced by the actual, implied or imagined presence of others.
  • Milgram (obedience)
  • Perry et al. (personal space)
  • Piliavin et al. (subway Samaritans)


Year 13: A2 Cambridge Psychology
: The A2 Level qualification are external examinations completed at the end of Year 13. The examinations are comprised of two papers: ·

Paper Three: Specialist Options: Approaches, Issues and Debates

Paper Four: Specialist Options: Application and Research Methods

Specialist Option 1: Clinical Psychology

Schizophrenia/ Mood (affective) disorders: depressive disorder (unipolar) and bipolar disorder/ Impulse control disorders/ anxiety disorders and fear-related disorders/ Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

Specialist Option 2: Consumer Psychology

The physical and psychological environment/ Consumer decision-making/ The product/ Advertising

Specialist Option 3: Health Psychology

The patient–practitioner relationship/Adherence to medical advice/Pain/Stress/Health promotion

Specialist Option 4: Organisational Psychology

Motivation to work/Leadership and management/ Group behaviour in organisations/ Organisational work conditions/ Satisfaction at work