Don't become a mere recorder of facts, but try to learn the 
mystery of their origin.

Ivan Pavlov  

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behaviour.

The study of Psychology develops students’ knowledge and understanding of the main psychological perspectives and key studies in Psychology.

It aims to develop their evaluative skills, where students’ are encouraged to assess different approaches in terms of their strengths and weaknesses. Students’ will come to an unbiased conclusion on the merits of different theories. Students’ will develop strong scientific powers of analysis assessing research in terms of its reliability and validity. They will also develop an appreciation for research methods employed in psychological research.

Head of Department

Tessa Osborne |  

Additional teacher

Dylan Owen |



Students can first study Psychology as a GCSE in Years 10 and 11. Detailed below are the topics covered, plus the assessments that students will do at the end of Y11.



  • Processes of memory: encoding (input) storage and retrieval (output)
  • Structures of memory
  • Memory as an active process


  • Sensation and perception
  • Visual cues and constancies
  • Gibson's direct theory of perception – the influence of nature
  • Visual illusions
  • Gregory's constructivist theory of perception – the influence of nurture
  • Factors affecting perception


  • Early brain development
  • Piaget’s stage theory and the development of intelligence
  • The role of Piaget’s theory in education
  • The effects of learning on development

Research methods

  • Formulation of testable hypotheses
  • Types of variable
  • Sampling methods
  • Designing research
  • Correlation
  • Research procedures
  • Planning and conducting research
  • Ethical considerations
  • Quantitative and qualitative data
  • Primary and secondary data
  • Computation
  • Descriptive statistics
  • Interpretation and display of quantitative data
  • Normal distributions


Social influence

  • Conformity
  • Obedience
  • Prosocial behaviour
  • Crowd and collective behaviour

Language, thought and communication

  • The possible relationship between language and thought
  • The effect of language and thought on our view of the world
  • Differences between human and animal communication
  • Non-verbal communication
  • Explanations of non-verbal behaviour

Brain and neuropsychology

  • Structure and function of the nervous system
  • Neuron structure and function
  • Structure and function of the brain
  • An introduction to neuropsychology

Psychological problems

  • An introduction to mental health
  • How the incidence of significant mental health problems changes over time
  • Effects of significant mental health problems on individuals and society
  • Characteristics of clinical depression
  • Theories of depression
  • Interventions or therapies for depression
  • Characteristics of addiction
  • Theories of addiction
  • Interventions or therapies for addiction

External assessments




% of final grade


Cognition and behaviour

1hr 45 mins

Exam conditions


June of Y11

Social context and behaviour

1hr 45 mins

Exam Conditions


June of Y11

Useful resources

We also have a subscription to an online text book which covers the whole course:

The login details will be provided by your Psychology teacher.



As part of the wider LaSWAP consortium, Acland Burghley offers a Psychology A level.