Psychology at 6th Form level
For students studying Psychology from September 2015 the specification followed is OCR H167. A full copy of the specification can be found on http://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/as-a-level-gce-psychology-h167-h567-from-2015/
The AS level is made up of two units taken at the end of the first year to give an AS grade. If students decide to continue with the subject, these marks will not count towards their A level and they will be tested again on what they learnt during the first year at the end of their second year of study.
AS Units: First year of study
1. Research Methods:
This unit introduces and develops knowledge and understanding of the process of planning, conducting, analysing and reporting psychological research across a range of experimental and non-experimental methods. Students will have the opportunity to carry out a range of practical activities to enhance their understanding of the different methods used. Students will be required to analyse their data, using a range of graphs, as well as statistical techniques. By the end of this unit students should be able to describe the different ways that psychologists carry out research, analyse and display data confidently and know the conventions of psychological report writing.
2. Psychological Themes through Core Studies:
This unit involves looking at 5 areas in psychology and 2 perspectives. For each of the 5 areas student are required to learn 2 studies in detail as follows:
Social Area: Looks at how others influence our behaviour. The 2 core studies are Milgram’s study of obedience and Bocchiaro’s study into whistle blowing.
Cognitive area: Looks at our mental processes, such as memory. The 2 core studies are Loftus and Palmer’s study into how the wording of a question can affect how accurate an eyewitness is and Grant’s study into how our memory is enhanced if we are asked to recall something in the same environment in which we learnt it.
Developmental area: Looks at how we change as we age. The 2 core studies are Bandura’s study on whether children imitate violent behaviour and Chaney’s study into the effect of reward on the use of an asthmatic inhaler in children
Biological area: Looks at how our biological make-up can explain our behaviour. The 2 core studies are Sperry’s study into how the left and right parts of the brain operate separately and Casey’s study into the areas of the brain involved in the delay of gratification.
Individual Differences: this area looks at people who behave differently to what we would expect in the general population and focuses on understanding mental disorders. The 2 core studies are Freud’s study of little Hans to explain phobias and Baron-Cohen’s study into how autistic people think differently to non-autistic people.
The A2 units given below are for the current year 13 students who are following the old AQA specification. This will be updated next year to reflect the new second year topics
A2 Units: Second year of study
PSYA 3: Topics in Psychology
This unit covers:
Biological Rhythms and Sleep: this involves looking at the cyclical rhythm of sleep, what happens when we sleep, why we sleep and sleep disorders.
Eating Behaviour: this involves looking at differences in eating habits, hunger and satiation mechanisms within the brain and eating disorders.
Aggression: this unit looks at how aggression has been defined, biological and psychological explanations of aggression and aggression in institutions, such as prisons.
PSYA 4: Psychopathology, Psychology in Action and Research Methods
This unit covers:
Schizophrenia: this topic involves looking at the clinical characteristics of the different types of schizophrenia, biological and psychological explanations, and their associated treatments.
Anomalistic Psychology: this involves looking at alternative explanations for paranormal events, such as ESP, pscyhokinesis, superstition, out of body experiences and near death experiences
Research Methods: this involves looking at research methods in more depth than at AS, including looking at statistical testing.