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Key Stage 4


What will students learn?

Have you ever wondered why people behave the way that they do? Have you ever wondered how you would be different if your environment was different? Would you be more intelligent if you went to a private school? Do you always make your own decisions, or do you ‘follow the crowd’? Are people born bad?

Psychology tries to answer questions like these by studying behaviour and looking for the reasons why people act in the ways they do.


The course is separated into two units:

Unit 1 – Cognition and Behaviour

Unit 1 consists of memory, perception, development and research methods.



We will look at the different process and structures of memory. We will also consider factors affecting the accuracy of memory, including interference, context and false memories.


We will look at the differences between sensation and perception. We will consider the effects of nature and nurture on perception. We will also study explanations for visual illusions


We will study early brain development and the roles of nature and nurture in the brain’s growth. We will study Piaget’s theory of the development of intelligence in children. We will also study the effects of learning styles and approaches on development, including the role of a growth mindset.

Research Methods

We will look at the different ways to investigate behaviour and how to make the study of people as scientific as possible.


Unit 2 – Social Context and Behaviour 

Unit 2 consists of social influence, language, thought and communication, brain and neuropsychology and psychological problems


Social Influence

We will study factors affecting conformity and obedience. We will look at factors affecting whether we will help a stranger in need of assistance. Finally, we will study the behaviour of crowds and why they behave aggressively or prosocially.

Language, Thought and Communication

We will study the development of language and differences between human and animal communication. We will also study the different types of non-verbal communication and explanations of how they develop.

Brain and Neuropsychology

We will study the nervous system, including the role of the autonomic nervous system in the fight or flight response. We will consider how brain scans have been used to examine the functions of different parts of the brain. Finally, we will look at the effects of brain damage on motor abilities and behaviour.

Psychological Problems

We will study mental illness including its effects on the individual and society. We will focus on depression, considering theories explaining its causes and ways of treating it. Finally, we will study addiction, looking at why some people develop addictions and how to treat them.


How will students be taught?

Teaching methods will include whole class teaching, discussion, debate, presentations, individual and group work and investigation. We will also use video resources, the Internet and articles from magazines and newspapers.


How will students be assessed?

There are two examination papers each worth 50% of the GCSE.


Examination board & course type

AQA - GCSE Psychology (8182)


What can studying this subject lead to?

This course will be excellent preparation for those who want to go on and study Psychology at
A level, although many of the skills developed will be transferable to other subjects. Students who have studied Psychology in the past have gone on to careers in educational psychology, forensic psychology, the police force, nursing, teaching, advertising and lots of other professions involving working with people.



Teacher to contact for further information

Mr S Wootton

Contact Us

Northgate High School
Sidegate Lane, Ipswich, IP4 3DL

Tel: 01473 210 123