Aim of the course
Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behaviour. It is a diverse field that incorporates such issues as the nature of thought and memory, social roles and psychopathology. Psychology requires of students both the precision and rigour of the sciences, but also the subtlety and creativity of the arts.
Whilst few of our students come to psychology having studied it before, many soon find it to be the subject that most awakens and stimulates their minds.
In the Lower Sixth, students will be introduced to some of the key concepts in psychology as well as learning about some of the most (in)famous studies in the history of the field. The year is structured as follows:
- Social Influence (e.g. conformity, obedience, social roles),
- Memory (e.g. the multi-store model of memory, explanations for forgetting)
- Attachment (e.g. maternal deprivation, care-giver infant interaction)
- Psychopathology (e.g. definitions of abnormality, phobias, the treatment of depression)
- Approaches in Psychology (e.g. behaviourism, social learning theory, the psychodynamic approach)
- Research Methods (e.g. the experimental method, data handling and analysis)
- Biopsychology (e.g. divisions of the nervous system, biological rhythms)
- Practical data gathering activities
In the Upper Sixth, students will focus on developing their skills in psychology and also complete an ‘Issues and Debates in Psychology’ module.
Having further developed their confidence in psychology, they then go on to study three key topic areas: ‘Cognition and Development’, “Schizophrenia’ and ‘Addiction’ in greater depth.
- Issues and Debates in Psychology (e.g. bias, nature vs nurture, holism vs reductionism)
- Schizophrenia (introduction, explanations and treatments)
- Cognition and Development (Piaget, Vygotsky, Baillargeon and Social Cognition)
- Addiction (introduction, risk factors, explanations, reducing addiction)
- Revision and exam preparation
- Revision and preparation for final exams
Students are encouraged to enter various essay prizes, including those offered by Newnham College, Cambridge, the John Locke Institute and Royal Holloway.
Students are provided with many opportunities to engage with psychology, for example:
- Our Psychology Society meets every week to listen to presentations by visiting speakers and students in various areas of psychology.
- Our Psychology Book Club meets once a half term to discuss a chosen book, encouraging wider reading.
Three two-hour exams, each worth 33.3% of the overall mark taken at the end of the Upper Sixth.