Balcarras
School

Psychology

Psychology at Balcarras is a very popular subject at AS and A level. It is two subject specialists; Mrs Caroline Timpson (Head of Department) and Miss Roxanne Adams. Both are passionate about the subject and have a great deal of experience in teaching Psychology.

Welcome

Psychology is the study of mind and behaviour, both of humans and non-human animals. It is an evolving subject and there are many different approaches which might be taken when understanding and analysing behaviour. Latest psychological research is also making an impact on the various ways in which we interpret behaviour. This enables psychologists to consider strategies and other interventions which might help individuals and groups of people in everyday life. Ultimately, the aim of psychology is to make a positive difference to the lives of humans and non-human animals.

Psychology is a very exciting, continually developing subject which is taught in two purpose built  classrooms in the Pavilion. Facilities are excellent and students are supported through being taught study skills and examination techniques, in addition to course content.

Students who study psychology are motivated, enthusiastic and keen to learn. Our philosophy is that students should be excited about studying psychology; they are challenged, engaged and enjoy working both within and outside their structured lessons.

AS Level Psychology

The first year of the course is made up of two units:

Unit 1: Introducing topics in psychology

50% of AS
Externally assessed examination, 1 hour 30 minutes worth 72 marks
Candidates answer three compulsory sections

Unit 2: Psychology in context

50% of AS
Externally assessed examination, 1 hour 30 minutes worth 72 marks
Candidates answer three compulsory sections

Unit 1

  • Social influence: Conformity, obedience, resistance, minority influence & social change
  • Memory: Models of memory, explanations of forgetting & eyewitness testimony 
  • Attachment: role of the caregiver, development of attachments with reference to humans & animals, functions of attachments, types of attachments & the influence of childhood attachments on adult relationships.

Unit 2

  • Approaches & Biopsychology: Origins of psychology, biological, behaviourist, cognitive & social learning approaches. The nervous system, structure and function of neurons & synaptic transmission, the endocrine system, flight or fight response
  • Psychopathology: definitions, biological, cognitive & behaviourist explanations and treatments of phobias, OCD & depression
  • Research methods: Planning research, experimental and non-experimental methods, representing and describing data

A Level Psychology

To complete the full A level all first year content is required as well as an additional unit

Unit 1: Introducing topics in psychology

33.3% of A Level
Externally assessed examination, 2 hours, worth 96 marks
Candidates answer four compulsory sections

Unit 2: Psychology in context

33.3% of A Level
Externally assessed examination, 2 hours, worth 96 marks
Candidates answer three compulsory sections

Unit 3: Issues and options in psychology

33.3% of A Level
Externally assessed examination, 2 hours, worth 96 marks
Candidates answer four compulsory sections

Unit 1

  • Social influence: Conformity, obedience, resistance, minority influence & social change
  • Memory: Models of memory, explanations of forgetting & eyewitness testimony 
  • Attachment: role of the caregiver, development of attachments with reference to humans & animals, functions of attachments, types of attachments & the influence of childhood attachments on adult relationships.
  • Psychopathology: definitions, biological, cognitive & behaviourist explanations and treatments of phobias, OCD & depression

Unit 2

  • Approaches: Origins of psychology, biological, behaviourist, cognitive, humanistic, psychodynamic & social learning approaches
  • Biopsychology: The nervous system, structure and function of neurons & synaptic transmission, the endocrine system, flight or fight response, biological rhythms, localisation of the brain split brain research & methods of studying the brain
  • Research methods: Planning research, experimental and non-experimental methods, representing and describing data, statistical testing

Unit 3

  • Issues and debates in psychology:  Gender and culture in psychology, free will and determinism,  nature-nurture debate, holism and reductionism, idiographic and nomothetic approaches to psychological investigation and ethical implications of research studies and theory.
  • Schizophrenia: Classification of schizophrenia, positive symptoms of schizophrenia, reliability and validity in diagnosis and classification of schizophrenia, biological explanations, psychological explanations, drug therapy, cognitive behaviour therapy and family therapy, token economies as used in the management of schizophrenia.
  • Forensic psychology: Measuring and defining crime, profiling, theories explaining criminal behaviour, custodial sentencing and dealing with offenders
  • Gender: Gender:  Sex and gender, sex-role stereotypes, androgyny and measuring androgyny, biological explanations, cognitive expansions, psychodynamic explanations, social explanations, atypical gender development

For further information of the course structure, please click here.

Trips

ZIMBARDO PSYCHOLOGY CONFERENCE – MARCH 2016 LONDON

Dr Zimbardo shared his views on the nature of evil as well as revisiting the works of Milgram and his own Stanford prison experiment. Zimbardo is a prominent psychologist throughout the social influence section of the psychology course and his conference offered students a detailed, first-hand account of the work he has conducted.

Future Possibilities

Many of our students go on to study psychology related degrees at university. These courses allow students to explore many areas of psychology from the neuroscience of behaviour to the social construction of reality. A degree in psychology will equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary for careers in psychology and beyond. Degrees that are accredited by the British Psychological Society are the first step towards becoming a chartered psychologist working in areas such as forensic, occupational and clinical psychology. The abilities you develop will also serve you well in related areas such as teaching, human resources, health and social care, and research.