The Psychology Department aims to foster our students’ natural curiosity as to why humans behave and think in the way they do.
We reflect on classic debates: how much of our behaviour is due to our upbringing and how much to our genetic inheritance? Do we have any free will over our behaviour or are our actions predetermined by our genes and our environment? Can the investigation of human behaviour ever truly be called a science? A major part of the course encourages students to be more tolerant as they gain an increased understanding of those who are different from themselves.
Year 12 students investigate research which has been carried out in a wide diversity of fields. We look at topics such as why people obey and conform, whilst others resist social influence, eyewitness testimony, split brains, attachment theories and how phobias develop, to name but a few. We also develop an understanding of the different approaches in psychology and how they can explain human behaviour, as well as gain an appreciation for the scientific methodology and rigor used in psychological research.
Year 13 students focus on the debates outlined above, as well as why criminals offend and how to deal with criminals, how children develop ideologies about gender and the causes and management of schizophrenia. Students learn through discussion, posing questions, watching TED talks and completing written assignments.
In Psychology, students’ learning is enriched by visiting speakers, such as Dr Guy Sutton who delivers a very popular “Brain Day” on cognitive neuroscience. Each class also engages with at least one conference, featuring prestigious psychologists, such as Dr Zimbardo, Dr Loftus and a host of other researchers investigating topics outside the curriculum such as the psychology of conspiracy theories, how dance and music can help us solve problems and feel happier as well as understanding how our mind can help us to promote growth and well-being, allowing us to thrive in intense competitive scenarios.
Through studying A Level Psychology, students develop the ability to analyse data, evaluate research and theories and become critical thinkers. Assessed work takes place in the form of essay writing, exam-style questions and presentations. We continuously apply our knowledge of psychological concepts to real-world scenarios, making psychology a very engaging and topical subject.