What is Psychology?

Psychology is the scientific study of behaviour and mental processes (the mind). You may have come across the comment that “psychology is just common sense”. Be assured, it is much more than that! Of course psychology sometimes reinforces what we people call “common sense” or “gut feelings”, for example most people believe that children raised in warm, loving families are best placed to be warm, loving parents, psychologists have carried out scientific research to confirm this common sense view. However, sometimes psychology can produce results which go against commonly held assumptions; these findings are known as counterintuitive.

Who, for example, would have predicted that during a memory experiment, 65 percent of participants would obey a stranger who asked them to give electric shocks to a mild manner man who had earlier complained of heart trouble? Common sense would have predicted that the vast majority of people would refuse, common sense was wrong! Common sense may be neither sensible nor consistent. Common sense proverbs often contradict each other. If “many hands make light work” why do “too many cooks spoil the broth”? Psychology bases its claims on research evidence, not guesses and anecdotes.

What skills do you need?

As with all Level 3 study, Psychology is a demanding subject. You will need to be able to produce fluent written arguments, to retain and recall a significant amount of psychology studies in detail and most importantly be fully committed to the subject. You will be required to complete preparatory tasks for lessons including reading, note making, essays and presentations.

Entry requirements:

5 A*-C grades at GCSE (including Maths and English)

Want to know more?

Visit the Humanities faculty on the gateway and select Psychology; there you’ll find examples of the work students are asked to complete. Speak to the Head of Humanities or Curriculum Lead for Psychology but best of all ask Psychology students.

The Year 9 students' ambition and lack of fear is to be commended and it is evident many of them have already focused on making money from their own ideas.

Chris Hallam, Santander View our success stories