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"Human nature is not an object for curiosity merely. It is the source of all our enjoyments, the sum of all our powers. It is the great artist to which poetry, eloquence, history, philosophy, and all the arts and sciences, owe their existance. It is the grand instrument of feeling to which life owes all its interest. It is, in a word, that which makes us to be what we are. It is our very selves. The study of it, therefore, cannot but be deeply interesting." John Gibson Macvicar, 1853.



The exams will measure how students have achieved the following assessment objectives:

  • AO1 - Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas, processes, techniques and procedures.
  • AO2 - Apply knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas, processes, techniques and procedures: in a theoretical context, in a practical context, when handling qualitative data, when handling quantitative data.
  • AO3 - Analyse, interpret and evaluate scientific information, ideas and evidence, including in relation to issues, to: make judgements and reach conclusions, develop and refine practical design and procedures.
A Level

Three equally weighted 2 hour exams which include a range of questions styles: multiple choice, short answer and extended writing, including 10% Mathematical content.

A Level Content:

Research methods: laboratory and field experiments, natural and quasi-experiments; observational techniques; questionnaires/interviews; correlations; content analysis; case studies. Aims; Hypotheses; Sampling; Pilot studies; Experimental designs; Observational design; Questionnaire construction, Variables; Control; Demand characteristics and investigator effects; Ethics; The role of peer review in the scientific process; The implications of psychological research for the economy; Reliability across all methods of investigation; Types of validity across all methods of investigation; Features of science; Reporting psychological investigations. Additionally, students will have to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of inferential testing and be familiar with the use of inferential (statistical) tests. AS WELL AS BEING A STAND-ALONE SECTION, RESEARCH METHODS ARE EXAMINED IN EVERY SECTION OF THE A LEVEL.

  1. Approaches in Psychology: learning approaches; the cognitive approach; the biological approach; the psychodynamic approach; humanistic psychology; comparison of approaches.
  2. Social Influence: types of conformity and explanations for conformity; conformity to social roles; explanations for obedience; resistance to social influence; minority influence; the role of social influence.
  3. Memory: multi-store model of memory; types of long-term memory; the working memory model; explanations for forgetting; eyewitness testimony.
  4. Attachment: caregiver-infant interactions in humans; animal studies of attachment; types and explanations of attachment; Bowlby's theory of maternal deprivation; Romanian orphan studies; the influence of early attachment on childhood and adult relationships.
  5. Psychopathology: definitions of abnormality; phobias, depression and OCD; behavioural approach to explaining and treating phobias; cognitive approach to explaining and treating depression; biological approach to explaining and treating OCD.
  6. Biopsychology: divisions of the nervous system; structure and function of sensory, relay and motor neurons; synaptic transmission; endocrine system and the fight or flight response; functions of the brain and ways of studying the brain; biological rhythms.
  7. Relationships: The evolutionary explanations for partner preferences, Factors affecting attraction in romantic relationships; Theories of romantic relationships; Duck's phase model of relationship breakdown; Virtual relationships in social media; Parasocial relationships.
  8. Schizophrenia: Classification of schizophrenia. Positive symptons and Negative symptoms of schizophrenia; Reliability and validity in diagnosis and classification of schizophrenia; Reliability and validity in diagnosis and classification of schizophrenia; Biological explanations for schizophrenia; Psychological explanations for schizophrenia; Drug therapy: typical and atypical antipsychotics; Cognitive behaviour therapy and family therapy as used in the treatment of schizophrenia. Token economies; The importance of an interactionist approach in explaining and treating schizophrenia.
  9. Addictions: Describing addiction; Risk factors in the development of addiction; Explanations for nicotine addiction: brain neurochemistry, including the role of dopamine, and learning theory; Explanations for gambling addiction; Reducing addiction; The application of theories of behaviour change to addictive behaviour.
  10. Issues and debates in psychology:gender and culture; free will and determination; the nature-nurture debate; levels of explanation in psychology; idiographic and nomothetic approaches to psychological investigation; ethical implications of research.

For further details, please contact Mrs Kirke, Head of Pyschology

All current plans for sixth form programmes of study at Bishop Stopford School are provisional, dependent on student numbers and government policy.