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Psychology A level at Lansdowne College

Course description

Psychology is a diverse subject which examines how biological, evolutionary, social and environmental factors influence human motivation, behaviour, emotion and mental states.

Psychology A-Level is concerned with:

  • The influence of genetics, biochemistry and the brain
  • Social influence, group behaviour and relationships
  • Human mental abilities – thought, language, memory and perception
  • The causes and treatment of mental disorders
  • Emotional, moral and intellectual development from infancy onwards
  • Freud’s work on the unconscious mind, internal conflict within the personality and the influence of early childhood experience
  • Animal psychology and the relationship between human and animal behaviour
  • The influence of our ancestral heritage, evolutionary forces and instinct

Course content


Students review psychological theory and research, divided into:

Social Influence

  • Obedience, conformity, minority influence and social change


  • Short and long-term memory, forgetting and factors influencing eyewitness testimony of crimes

Developmental Psychology

  • The nature of attachment between infant and caregiver in animals and humans
  • Secure and insecure attachment between infants and caregivers and the influence of this on adult personality
  • The effects of deprivation on emotional and social development


  • Biological and psychological theories relating to the likely causes of and treatments for obsessive-compulsive disorder, phobias and depression


  • The structure and function of the nervous and endocrine system and the influence of genes, evolution and instinct on human behaviour

Approaches in Psychology

  • Reviewing the contribution of biological, behavioural and cognitive approaches in Psychology

Research Methods

  • Constructing and analysing findings from psychological research studies

Students study all AS material with additional topics including:

Issues & Debates in Psychology

  • Cultural and gender bias
  • Philosophical debates relating to free will versus determinism, nature versus nurture, holism versus reductionism and ethical considerations in research


  • Biological, evolutionary and social explanations of male/female psychology/sex roles


  • Genetic, neurological and biochemical explanations
  • Social-psychological explanations
  • Drug treatments and psychotherapy


  • The influence of genes, hormones and neurotransmitters
  • Evolution and instinct
  • The influence of social learning, the media and the environment
  • Advanced research methods including statistical analysis of data


AS students sit 2 exams (2 x 1hr 30mins) at the end of their 1st year. Questions are a mix of short and longer written answers and mini essays.

A2 students sit 3 exams (3 x 2 hrs) at the end of their 2nd year. Questions are a mix of short and longer written answers and essays.

Future opportunities

Psychology, or related social sciences such as Anthropology and Sociology, could be studied at university. Other relevant subjects include Medicine, Neuroscience, Cognitive Science, Law, Journalism, Advertising/Marketing/PR.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Lansdowne College directly.

Last updated date: 15 August 2016

Key information