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Psychology is a diverse, intriguing and fascinating subject. It relates to every aspect of our daily lives, as it enables us to understand the world we live in & predict the behaviour of those around us.

Psychology is also an exciting and ever advancing science – students will not only seek to answer questions about why human beings behave in the way that they do but, also how human beings can be helped to manage their behaviour.

During the course, students will go beyond cultivating their investigative & critical thinking skills – via the planning and conduction of practical research investigations - they will also enhance their mathematical and statistical skills, ethical thinking skills, essay and scientific report writing skills as well as, their problem-solving skills. Alongside these academic skills, students will have many opportunities to develop The Warlingham Learner attributes - such as resilience, commitment, respect, tolerance and acceptance - which will enable students to be successful within school and in the wider world.

The A Level Psychology curriculum aims to ensure that all students develop scientific knowledge, conceptual understanding skills, as well as, The Warlingham Learner attributes. The Psychology curriculum is a progression model, through which the core themes are developed and built upon, as students develop their own schema for Psychology.  Our core themes or core concepts, through which all aspects of Psychology can be linked to or explained by are:

The Core Concepts 

  • Approaches how the learning approaches, the cognitive approach, the biological approach, the psychodynamic and the humanistic approach can explain human behaviour and how they can and have been used to help human being manage their own and others behaviour.
  • Issues and debates – how gender bias, ethical implications of theory and research, free will and determinism, nature-nurture, holism-reductionism and idiographic and nomothetic approaches can affect the ways in which human behaviour is interpreted and how this can and has impacted upon the ways in which we respond to such behaviour.
  • Research methods – how psychologists plan and conduct scientific investigations into a diverse range of human behaviours. How psychologists analyse the data that is gathered, evaluate psychological research and construct scientific written reports detailing their investigations into human behaviour.

Key Stage 5

Approaches in Psychology

  • What are the origins of Psychology?
  • How can the learning approach, cognitive approach, the biological approach, the psychodynamic and the humanistic approach explain human behaviour? What are the similarities and the differences in the way that these approaches explain human behaviour?

Issues & debates

How can the following issues and debates be applied to theories, models & research studies in Psychology?

  • Gender bias
  • Free will & determinism
  • Nature-nurture
  • Holism-reductionism
  • Idiographic - nomothetic approaches
  • Ethical implications of research studies & theories

Research methods

  • How do psychologists investigate human behaviour?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the research methods that they use?
  • How do psychologists apply the scientific method when investigating human behaviour?
  • How do psychologists gather participants?
  • How do psychologists design experimental, observational and self-report research studies?
  • How to psychologists control extraneous variables?
  • How do psychologists conduct ethical research?
  • How do psychologists assess & improve reliability and validity?
  • How do psychologists analyse data and present data?
  • How do psychologists report psychological investigations?
  • When and how should psychologists use inferential statistical tests to analyse their data?

Social influence

  • Are there different types of conformity?
  • How has conformity been investigated?
  • How do social roles affect conformity?
  • Why do we obey?
  • How do these explanations, explain atrocities such as the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide?
  • What factors affect conformity and obedience?
  • How can we resist social influence?
  • How can research into social influence explain social change?


  • What is the nature of our memory?
  • Are there different types of long-term memories?
  • Why do we forget?
  • What factors affect the accuracy of eyewitness testimony?
  • How do we improve the accuracy of eyewitness testimony?


  • How do early interactions between caregivers and infants affect a child’s development?
  • How do attachments form?
  • How can animals studies into attachment, explain the formation of human attachment?
  • What are the different types of attachment that can be formed between a caregiver and infant?
  • How does maternal deprivation affect the development of a child?
  • How does the quality of early attachments affect the formation and maintenance of later adult relationships?


  • How to we define abnormality?
  • What are the behavioural, emotional and cognitive characteristics of phobias, depression and OCD?
  • How can the behavioural approach, explain and treat phobias?
  • How can the cognitive approach, explain and treat depression?
  • How can the biological approach explain and treat OCD?


  • What are the divisions of the nervous systems?
  • What different types of neurons can be found in the brain?
  • What are the functions of the endocrine system?
  • How does the flight or fight response help humans to respond and cope with a stressful situation?
  • To what extent is brain function localised and lateralised?
  • To what extent can the brain recover after trauma?
  • How can we use brain scanning techniques to study the brain?
  • What are the different biological rhythms & how are these controlled?


  • To what extent can evolutionary explanations, explain partner preferences?
  • To what extent does self-disclosure, physical attractiveness and the filter theory affect attraction?
  • According to the social exchange theory, equity theory and Rusbult’s investment model, how do relationships form and how are they are maintained?
  • Why do relationships breakdown?
  • How do virtual relationships in social media form and how are they maintained?
  • How do parasocial form and how are they maintained?


  • How is schizophrenia diagnosed and classified?
  • How does the biological explanation, explain and treat schizophrenia?
  • How does psychological explanations such as family dysfunction & cognitive explanations, explain and treat schizophrenia?
  • How can token economies be used to manage the symptoms of schizophrenia?
  • To what extent can the diathesis-stress model explain and treat schizophrenia?

Forensic Psychology

  • How effective are the top-down and bottom-up approaches to offender profiling?
  • To what extent can biological and psychological explanations explain offending behaviour?
  • How do we deal with offending behaviour and how are effective are these methods of dealing with offending behaviour?