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Psychology

Why Psychology?

Ever wondered why society has developed taboos? What are the recognised ways to best support psychological illness? If these are questions that you want to find answers to then this course could be ideal for you.

Summary of content

This specification is intended to ensure that learners gain a comprehensive appreciation of the nature of psychology and psychological enquiry. Through this course learners will be introduced to historical and current psychological approaches and classic and contemporary research. In addition there are opportunities to explore psychological controversies and debates. Learners will also study a variety of methods used by psychologists and will be given opportunities to carry out their own investigations. Consideration of the ethical issues and implications of psychological endeavours will be emphasised in all aspects of the specification.

The content is stimulating, relevant and accessible to a wide range of learners, ensuring both breadth and depth to the study of psychology.

Units

AS - Unit 1 - Psychology: Past to Present

Written examination: 1 hour 30 minutes

20% of A Level qualification (50% of AS qualification)

The purpose of this unit is to give a solid grounding in some of the basic core elements of psychology.  This will include consideration of each of the five psychological approaches: biological, psychodynamic, behaviourist, cognitive and positive

AS - Unit 2 - Psychology: Using Psychological Concepts

Written examination: 1 hour 30 minutes

20% of A Level qualification (50% of AS qualification)

Section A - Contemporary debate

The explorations of five contemporary debates provide an opportunity for independent research into areas that psychology has influenced.

Section B - Principles of research and application of research methods

Principles of research

The focus for this section is that of psychological research, from the initial planning stages through to the final stage of analysis and evaluation.

Application of research methods to a novel scenario

This section requires learners to apply their knowledge and understanding of research methods to a novel research scenario, making judgements on the details of psychological research.

Unit 2: Content to be taught

Section A: Contemporary debates

The debates

  • the ethics of neuroscience
  • the mother as primary care-giver of an infant
  • using conditioning techniques to control the behaviour of children
  • reliability of eye-witness testimony (including children)
  • relevance of positive psychology in today’s society

Section B: Principles of research and application of research methods

Learners will be expected to demonstrate knowledge, understanding and evaluation of:

  • Social Psychology: Milgram, S. (1963). Behavioral study of Obedience. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 67, 371-8
  • Developmental Psychology: Kohlberg, L. (1968). The child as a moral philosopher. Psychology    Today, 2, 25
  • Deciding on a research question
  • Methodologies
  • Location of research
  • Participants
  • Experimental design
  • Levels of measurement
  • Graphical representation
  • Descriptive statistics
  • Reliability

A2 - Unit 3 - Psychology: Implications in the Real World

Written examination: 2 hours 30 minutes

40% of A Level qualification

Having learnt about the various psychological approaches in Unit 1, learners are expected to apply this knowledge and understanding to human / animal behaviours.

Section A: The study of behaviours

Learners must choose to study three from six nominated behaviours: Addictive Behaviours, Autistic spectrum behaviours, Bullying behaviours, Criminal Behaviours, Schizophrenia, Stress

Section B: Controversies

Learners should explore five controversies that continue to pose challenges for psychology:

  • cultural bias
  • ethical costs of conducting research
  • non-human animals
  • scientific status
  • sexism

A2 - Unit 4 - Psychology: Applied Research Methods

Written examination: 1 hour 30 minutes

20% of A Level qualification

Section A: Personal investigations

It is necessary for learners to know and understand the methodologies used in psychology and be able to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of these. To ensure true appreciation of these methodologies the learners are expected to gain first-hand experience of two research methods.

Section B: Application of research methods to novel scenarios

The second aspect of this component is for learners to apply their knowledge and understanding of research methods to novel research scenarios, making judgements on the details of psychological research.

Content to be taught: methodologies, assessing reliability, assessing validity, graphical representation, inferential statistics.

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