Choose a Subject

Psychology Department

Subject Leader Psychology  
Psychology teacher  Miss O Martin 


Psychology is the study of mind and behaviour.  It is an academic discipline and an applied science which seeks to understand individuals and groups.  It is the science of human and animal behaviour and the sum or characteristics of their mental states and processes.

Whilst, as a subject, we study previous experiments, we also look at the most up to date research and assess how the results of these studies can have significant applications in daily life. 

The study of behaviour and mental processes requires a multidisciplinary approach and the use of a variety of research techniques whilst recognising that behaviour is not a static phenomenon, it is adaptive, and as the world, societies and challenges facing societies change, so does behaviour. 

The understanding of Psychology is key to helping us understand everyday life. The knowledge gained helps us to get motivated, improve our leadership skills, learn to understand others, improve our memory and have a better understanding of ourselves. 


The Psychology department can be described as small, but rapidly growing.  During lessons, students are encouraged to become independent thinkers whilst at the same time promoting group collaboration as Psychology is a subject where debating is encouraged. 

Schemes of work ensure that learning is structured and each topic is given adequate time to be explored in detail, to enable a thorough understanding of the subject.


There are 5 one hour lessons over a fortnight for KS4 and 5 one hour lessons for KS5.  Additionally, we offer Psychology support sessions once a week, for one hour, to students in years 11, 12 and 13.

Course Details

Aims of the course

  • Psychology aims to develop enthusiastic and motivated learners by looking into topics which are interesting and relevant to everyday life.
  • The subject uses diverse skills which students can apply to all areas of life.

General Description

The Psychology course offers an insight into the reasons behind people's behaviour.  The GCSE Specification is split into two modules:  Cognition and Behaviour and Social context and Behaviour.  The exam questions are a mixture of multiple choice, short answer and essay questions. The topics intend to broaden students' knowledge and understanding of others' expectations and behaviour.  The aim of the course is to develop learners who are intrigued and motivated, to enable them to analyse everyday events and use a range of cross curricular techniques to investigate and understand why they happen.

Syllabus details: AQA (Code 8182)

Written examinations 100%

Paper One: Cognition and Behaviour (Exam 50%, 1 hour and 45 minutes - Each section is 25 marks, 100 marks total)

Topics include:

  • Memory
  • Perception
  • Development
  • Research Methods





Prepared exam questions

Unseen exam questions


Different types of memory:

- Episodic
- Semantic





Murdock’s serial position curve study.





The Theory of Reconstructive Memory, including the concept of ‘effort after meaning’





Factors affecting the accuracy of memory, including

- Interference
- Context
-False Memories






Monocular depth cues:

-Height in plane
-Relative size
-Linear Perspective





Binocular depth cues:

- Retinal disparity
- Convergence





Gregory's constructivist theory of perception: Perception uses inferences from visual cues

and past experience to construct a model of reality.





The Gilchrist and Nesberg study of motivation & perceptual set





Bruner & Minturn study of expectation & perceptual set







Advance Information not provided



Advance Information not provided

Paper Two: Social Context and Behaviour (Exam 50%, 1 hour and 45 minutes - Each section 25 marks, 100 marks total)

Topics include:

  • Social Influence
  • Language, Thought and Communication
  • Brain and Neuropsychology
  • Psychological Problems





Prepared exam questions

Unseen exam questions


Advance Information not provided



Limited functions of animal communication (survival, reproduction, territory, food)





Von Frisch’s bee study




Definitions of non-verbal communication and verbal communication




Darwin’s evolutionary theory of non-verbal communication as evolved and adaptive




Evidence that non-verbal behaviour is learned




Yuki’s study of emoticons






The autonomic nervous system and the fight or flight response, linked to The James-Lange theory of emotion.





The James-Lange theory of emotion




An understanding of how the following processes interact:

-Sensory, relay and motor nuerons
-Synaptic transmission: release and reuptake of nuerotransmitters
-Excitation and inhibition




Brain structure
- Frontal lobe
- Temporal lobe
-Parietal lobe
-Occipital lobe




Localisation of function in the brain:

-Motor cortex
-Somatosensory cortex
-Visual areas
-Auditory areas
-Language areas




Penfield’s study of the interpretive cortex




The use of scanning techniques to identify brain functioning:

- CT
- fMRI scans






Characteristics of mental health, e.g. positive engagement with society, effective coping with






Psychological explanation (influence of nurture): negative schemas and attributions.




Aversion therapy




Self-management programmes, e.g. self-help groups, 12 step recovery programmes




How these improve mental health, reductionist and holistic perspectives.





Key Stage 5

KS5 IB (HIGHER) Psychology

Entry requirements

Level 6 in English, Mathematics and Biology

Length of course

Two years

In Year 1 the core of the IB psychology course is an introduction to three different approaches to understanding behaviour; 
 - biological apprach to understanding behaviour
- cognitive approach to understanding behaviour 
-sociocultural approach to understanding behaviour

The knowledge, concepts, theories and research that have developed the understanding in these fields will be studied and critically evaluated within the areas of attachment, memory and social influence. Furthermore, the interaction of these approaches will form the basis of a holistic and integrated approach to understanding mental processes and behaviour as a complex, dynamic phenomenon, allowing you to appreciate the diversity as well as the commonality between your own behaviour and that of others.

In Year 2 the contribution and the interaction of the three approaches can be best understood through the options. There are four options in the course and students choose two. They focus on areas of applied psychology:
• abnormal psychology
• developmental psychology
• health psychology
• psychology of human relationships

The options provide an opportunity to take what is learned from the study of the approaches to psychology and put it into the context of specific lines of inquiry, broaden students’ experience of the discipline and develop the students’ critical inquiry skills.

The Internal Assessment requires students to conduct their own piece of research and formally write this up in the scientific format.  It enables students to demonstrate the application of their skills and knowledge, and to pursue their personal interests.  


Mid and End of Unit assessments will take place throughout the two-year course and there will be Mock and End of Year examinations. 

Revision Guides:-

Biological Y12 IB Higher Revision Guide

Cognitive Y12 IB Higher Revision Guide

Sociocultural Y12 IB Higher Revision Guide

Abnormal Y13 Higher Revision Guide

Relationships Y13 Higher Revision Guide 


IB Higher Psychology

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now