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 autism, eyewitness testimony, split brains and the learning of aggressive behaviour. Year 13 students focus on the application of research into mental health as well as in criminal and child psychology. 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 has at least one trip a year to conferences in London featuring prestigious psychologists, such as Dr Zimbardo and Dr Loftus. Year 12 also have a specially arranged visit to the Psychology Department at the University of Kent, where they enjoy lectures on a variety of topics and a tour of the laboratories to see virtual reality and eye tracking equipment used in research. The Year 13s also attend a conference where they can watch hypnotism in action and ask questions of a professional hypnotherapist. Furthermore, the Psychology Department has links with the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL and our students have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to participate in current research into adolescent decision making.