Do you ever wonder why people do the things they do? What is your opinion on the free will versus determinism debate? Should violent criminals have their prison sentences reduced because they have been found to have genes that are associated with aggression? Think of all the wondrous acts of humanity, both good and evil, are they simply the result of biochemical reactions that occur in the brain? Are humans something more than their individual set of genes? Is there some part of the human mind that we can call a ‘soul’? If these questions hold an interest for you then you will enjoy A level psychology.
This is an extremely challenging subject that has its roots in both philosophy and science. It therefore combines scientific method and both inductive and deductive thought. You will have excellent teachers who will guide you through the different approaches that psychologists can take in order to better understand human behaviour. In AS you will gain an understanding of the behavioural, bio/medical and psychodynamic approaches to both ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ behaviour. The topics studied are varied and include how infant attachments can resonate through the whole of your life, as well the psychological definitions of stress and how to manage it. During the AS year we have a trip into London to hear from eminent psychologists and chief examiners.
At A2 we build upon the understanding you have developed to carry out a more in depth study of a variety of topics including psychological disorders and relationships. The ability to carry out small scale psychological research into an area of personal interest is also required. Therefore if you find people fascinating and want to take up the interesting and challenging contradiction that is humankind, psychology is the subject for you.
“Psychology” comes from two words psyche and logos. The word psyche is from the Greek and means “breath of life,” or the mind. The word logos means study, so Psychology was originally defined as the study of the mind.
Since Psychology is a new course in the Sixth Form you will clearly have no previous experience in school. We would expect you to achieve at least Grade B in both Science and English at GCSE. It will help however, if you: