Psychology is defined as the study of mind and behaviour. It is a fascinating subject which enables you to see the way you, and those around you, behave in a whole new light. You will discover why people will give potentially harmful electric shocks to others, just because someone else tells them to, why stress leads to illness, why eyewitness testimony is unreliable, and why the early mother/child bond is so important. In addition, you will have the opportunity to carry out many of your own small scale experiments, using fellow students as participants. At the end of the course you will be able to criticise studies effectively and be able to design psychological research to ensure that it is as accurate and useful as possible.

  • Teaching Staff

    Mrs S Doughty – Subject leader, email:
    Ms B Lambourn

  • 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

    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.


    A2 Units: Second year of study

    At the end of the second year you will be tested on the following, in addition to what you studied in the first year.

    1. Applied Psychology:

    This unit covers:

    • Issues in Mental Health: this involves looking at mental illness in a historical context, how mental illness is diagnosed and biological and psychological explanations and treatments for mental disorders.
    • Criminal Psychology: this involves biological explanations for criminal behaviour, the collection and processing of forensic evidence, the justice system and the effect of imprisonment.
    • Sport and Exercise Psychology: this involves the role of arousal and anxiety in sport, the benefits of exercise for mental health, the role of personality and an audience on our performance.


    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 4 studies in detail. Two from each area are learnt in the first year, as outlined above. The core studies covered in the second year are as follows:

    • Social Area: Piliavin’s study into bystander apathy and Levine et al’s study into cross cultural variations in altruistic behaviour.
    • Cognitive area: Moray’s study into auditory attention and Simon and Chabris’ study into visual inattention.
    • Developmental area: Kohlberg’s study into the development of morals and Lee et al’s study of lying.
    • Biological area: Blakemore and Cooper’s study into the impact of early experience on vision and Maguire et al’s study into the brains of taxi drivers.
    • Individual Differences: Gould’s study into bias in IQ testing and Hancock et al’s study into the language of psychopaths.