Psychology is the scientific study of human mind and behaviour: how we think, feel, act and interact individually and in groups. Unlike Sociology and Philosophy, it uses scientific research methods taken from Physics and Biology.
It is a constantly-developing and exciting discipline which aims to improve matters in almost every area of life. We are all interested in what makes people tick and how this understanding can help solve major problems in society.
Psychology is a science, and psychologists study human behaviour by observing, measuring and testing, then arriving at conclusions that are rooted in sound scientific methodology.
Applied or practising psychologists use the knowledge gained from this research in a wide range of settings. Applied psychologists help people with all sorts of problems, working with them to bring about change for the better.
Paper one covers the following topics
- Topic 1: Development – How did you develop?
- Topic2: Memory–How does your memory work?
- Topic 3: Psychological problems – How would psychological problems affect you?
- Topic 4: The brain and neuropsychology – How does your brain affect you?
- Topic 5: Social influence – How do others affect you?
Paper two covers the following topics:
Topic A: Perception. How do you interpret the world around you?
This topic focuses on perception and illusions, drawing on biological (physical explanations) and cognitive psychology (mental processing explanations).
Topic B: Sleep and dreaming. Why do you need to sleep and dream?
This topic looks at Freud’s dream theory and the opposing theory, known as activation synthesis. So are dreams important or just a by-product of sleeping?
Topic C: Research methods – How do you carry out psychological research?
Paper 1 consists of multiple-choice, short-open and open-response questions.
Lasts 1 hour and 45 minutes.
There are 98 marks in this paper, and the result contributes 55% of the total grade for the full GCSE.
Paper 2 consists of calculations, multiple-choice, short-open and open-response questions, and one extended open-response question.
Lasts 1 hour and 20 minutes.
There are 79 marks in this paper, and the result contributes 45% of the total grade for the full GCSE.
Careers and Progression
With a psychology qualification, the pathways are numerous, due to the nature of the subject; it is useful for any career where it is important to understand and communicate with people effectively, such as business, travel and tourism, health and teaching, and so on.
The British Psychological Society (BPS) recognises several areas of psychology in which it is possible to become a Chartered Psychologist: Clinical, Counselling, Education, Forensic, Health, Neuro, Occupational, Sport, Teaching and Researching in psychology.