Psychology Curriculum

Psychology runs for Sixth Form students only (Years 12 and 13).

Click on the links below to jump to a particular Year Group:

 

 

Year 12 (exam board: AQA)

Autumn Term
Students will have two teachers for psychology. Students will begin this term by studying cognitive psychology topic with one teacher. This will entail introducing encoding, capacity and duration of memory as well as the multi-store model of memory. The course will continue by focusing on types of long term memory and the working memory model. They will then move on to learn about explanations for forgetting including interference and retrieval failure. Finally the memory topic will focus on factors affecting the accuracy of eyewitness testimony including anxiety and misleading information, and how this accuracy can be improved via the use of the cognitive interview.

With the second teacher students will start to study social influence, covering concepts of conformity and obedience from a social psychological perspective. This will involve understanding the factors that contribute to conformity and obedience, research in this area and also understanding the reasons why some people are able to resist such pressures and behave independently. Students will have the opportunity to explore some well- known key research in psychology.

Research methods will also be integrated into the course throughout this term with the content being split between the two topics above in the most relevant areas.

Spring Term
With one other teacher, students will move on to the topic of psychopathology. This entails studying definitions of abnormality and how these can be applied to the examples of phobias, depression and OCD. Students will continue with these three disorders to include their clinical characteristics, explanations for their cause from a particular psychological perspective and finally the treatment available.

At the same time, with the other teacher, students will also be study developmental psychology during this term. This will involve the study of attachment whereby stages of attachment in infancy will be studied as well as animal studies of attachment. The topic will then consider explanations for attachment focusing on learning theories and Bowlby’s evolutionary theory. They will then look at the work of Mary Ainsworth and her strange situation technique. This will lead on to cultural variations in attachment. Finally, the topic focuses on how problems in formation or disruption of the attachment bond can lead to difficulties as explained by Bowlby's material deprivation theory and the effects this can have as shown by the Romanian orphan studies. The final section serves to explain the influence of attachment on later relationships.

Research methods will also be integrated into the course throughout this term with the content being split between the two topics above in the most relevant areas.

Summer Term
This will begin with the remaining approaches in psychology, aiming to relate these approaches closely to what the students have studied so far. With one teacher, this will include the biological approach, focusing on the nervous and endocrine system as well as studying neurons and synaptic transmission. With the other teacher, this will entail studying psychodynamic approach, focusing on Sigmund Freud and the humanistic approach. Finally these approaches will be compared and contrasted.

On completion of this, the students will commence year 2 of the A Level, to include biopsychology in more detail and research methods.

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Year 13

Autumn Term
Students will continue the topic of research methods with one teacher, covering data handling and analysis, including the different types of statistical testing used to analyse psychological research, the use of correlations and how psychological investigations are reported. On completion of research methods, students will begin to explore the topic of gender. This includes looking at the concept of androgeny, the role hormones play in gender development and two atypical sex chromosome patterns.

With the other teacher, biopsychology will continue with an exploration of the brain, including its plasticity and recovery after trauma, split-brain research and how the brain is investigated. The topic will also cover biological rhythms, including the circadian rhythms and infradian and ultradian rhythms. On completion of this, some additional research methods will be covered, including reliability and validity, the features of science, distributions and content analysis. 

Spring Term
In the spring term, students will continue the topic of gender, covering a number of explanations as to how gender develops, including the cognitive explanations, the psychodynamic explanation and social learning theory. Finally the role of media and culture in shaping gender will be explored and also the issue of gender identity disorder. Following on from this, students will look at a number of very important issues and debates within psychology, including gender and culture bias, nature vs nurture, free will vs determinism, holism and reductionism, idiographic and nomothetic approaches and the ethical implications of both psychological research and theory. This will enable students to apply what they have learnt in the various topics to these important elements of psychology.

Meanwhile, with the other teacher, students will begin the topic of forensic psychology with one teacher, which includes defining and measuring crime, offender profiling, biological and psychological explanations for why people commit crime and how we should best deal with offending behaviour.

Following on from this is the topic of schizophrenia. This provides a fascinating insight into this mental disorder, including its diagnosis and classification, the biological and psychological explanations for its cause and their associated treatments, including CBT and drug therapy and finally the role stress can play in the onset of this disorder. On completion of this, students will begin the interesting topic of forensic psychology with one teacher, which includes defining and measuring crime, offender profiling, biological and psychological explanations for why people commit crime and how we should best deal with offending behaviour.

Summer Term
Students will complete any outstanding research methods and for the remainder of this term, lessons will be focused on revision of the material throughout the year in preparation for external exams.

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