Learn how the mind works on a conscious and sub-conscious level in our AQA GCSE Psychology course. You will explore the factors that influence how we think, act, learn and remember. This engaging and effective qualification introduces students to the fundamentals of psychology, developing critical analysis, independent thinking, and research skills.
Students will cover content drawn from two units which include the following:
Unit 1 – Cognition and Behaviour – this unit will cover the topics:
Your brain weighs just 3 pounds! That is less than two bags of sugar, yet it holds about 100 billion nerve cells and all of your memories. This unit will cover processes of memory, encoding, storage and retrieval, long-term and short-term memory and how your memory is structured. You’ll also look at memory as an active process and what factors can affect your memory.
What is perception? Well, it refers to the set of processes we use to make sense of different stimuli we’re presented with. This unit will focus on perception and sensation, visual cue and depth perception, visual illusions and theories to back them up. You’ll understand the factors that can affect perception and also look at culture, emotion, motivation and expectation too.
Your mind and brain change across the lifetime, particularly during childhood. Throughout this unit you’ll jump into the development of the brain considering early brain development, stages of cognitive development, application in education and the effects of learning on development. You’ll learn theory’s such a conservation and egocentrism, Dweck’s mindset theory of learning and Willingham’s learning theory.
4 Research methods
During this unit you’ll look at designing data, starting out hypotheses and variable, extraneous variables, types of experiments and experimental designs. You’ll consider sampling methods, ethical considerations and designing research. Additionally, you’ll look at correlations, case studies. reliability and validity, types of different data , interpretation and computation.
Unit 2 – Social Context and Behaviour – will introduce concepts related to how the individual is influenced by their surroundings. This unit covers the topics:
1 Social Influence
Social influence relates to opinion, behaviour and emotion and how they are affected by others. This unit focuses on four key areas including conformity, obedience, minority influence and social change. You’ll consider a variety of studies and theories including Milgram’s study, Milgram’s agency theory (social factors), Adorno’s theory, Piliavin’s subway study and Asch’s study. You’ll look at social and dispositional factors, the crown and collective behaviour, and de-individualisation.
2 Language, thought and communication
In this unit you’ll gain a better understanding of language and thought using Piaget’s theory, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis and Von Frisch’s bee study. You’ll delve into a review of the world and how human and animals communicate. You’ll look at how communication can be done in a non-verbal way covering eye contact, body language and personal space. You’ll consider Darwin’s evolutionary theory and Yoki’s study of emoticons to evidence nurture.
3 Brain and neuropsychology
Here you’ll learn the structure and the function of the nervous system whilst considering the James Lang theory of emotion. Secondly, you’ll look at the structure and function of neurons, including electrical, synapses and chemical transmissions and compare it to Hebb’s theory of learning. You’ll consider how the brain works, diving into localisation of function and Penfield’s study of the interpretive cortex. You’ll be introduced to neuropsychology with cognitive neuroscience, neurological damage, scanning techniques to identify brain functioning and Tulving “gold” memory study.
4 Psychological problems
This unit will focus mental health, the effects, treatment, addiction and the theories that surround it. You’ll firstly look at depression and theories for biological and psychological reasoning for it, also look at therapies such as CBT and medication and Wiles study. Next, you’ll look at addiction, how it can be characterised and diagnosed looking at therapy options such as aversion therapy and self-management. Finally, you’ll look at the theories for addiction, including biological and psychological too.
All students will complete the two compulsory paper that are externally marked against the AQA assessment objectives:
● Paper 1: Cognition and Behaviour – has the unit code 8182/1 and comprise a written exam for 1 hours 45 minutes and value 50% of the overall grade
● Paper 2: Social Context and Behaviour – has the unit code 8182/2 and comprise a written exam for 1 hour 45 minutes and value 50% of the overall grade.