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"The scientific study of mind and behaviour"

HumanitiesPsychology is the scientific study of the mind and behaviour. While you might understand what psychology is, many people are not quite so sure about what psychology does. What purpose does psychology serve? What are its goals?

Key goals of Psychology

The four key goals of psychology are:

To Describe

One of the first goals of psychology is simply to describe behaviour. Through describing the behaviour of humans and other animals, we are better able to understand it and gain a better perspective on what is considered normal and abnormal. Psychology researchers utilize a range of research methods to help describe behaviour including naturalistic observation, case studies, correlational studies, surveys, and self-report inventories.

To Explain

As you might imagine, psychologists are also interested in explaining behaviour in addition to merely describing it. Why do people do the things they do? What factors contribute to development, personality, social behaviour, and mental health problems? Throughout psychology's history, many different theories have emerged to help explain various aspects of human behaviour. A few examples of such approaches including classical conditioning and attachment theories. Some theories focus on just a small aspect of human behaviour while others serve as all-encompassing theories designed to explain all of human psychology.

To Predict

Not surprisingly, another primary goal of psychology is to make predictions about how we think and act. Once we understand more about what happens and why it happens, we can use that information to make predictions about when, why, and how it might happen again in the future. Successfully predicting behaviour is also one of the best ways to know if we understand the underlying causes of our actions. Prediction can also allow psychologists to make guesses about human behaviour without necessarily understanding the mechanisms underlying the phenomena.

To Change

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, psychology strives to change, influence, or control behaviour to make constructive and lasting changes in people's lives. From treating mental illness to enhancing human well-being, changing human behaviour is a huge focus of psychology. Psychologists and other social scientists ask many of the same types of questions. The big difference is that psychologists utilize the scientific method to test rigorously and systematically understand both human and animal behaviour.



Psychology is taught in a lecture theatre style room and also in rooms with computers. You will have access to a wide range of psychology books and the psychology area of the VLE will provide you with many extra resources.


Key Stage 5

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  • Year 12

    AS Level

    During the first year of the course, students will study:

    • Memory - how memory works and the reliability of eyewitness testimony.
    • Social influence – understanding why we conform and obey in certain social situations
    • Attachment – how our early infant attachments to our parents affect our adult relationships
    • Psychopathology – understanding disorders such as phobias, OCD and depression
    • Research methods – understanding how to conduct scientific research
    • Approaches in psychology – understanding how different approaches to psychology can explain human behaviour.
  • Year 13

    A Level

    During the second year of the course, students will study:

    • Biopsychology – understanding the structure of the nervous system, brain scanning techniques and how the brain works
    • Issues and debates – this includes looking at how psychologists deal with ethical issues
    • Relationships – understanding the factors affecting attraction and online relationships
    • Stress – understanding the relationship between stress and illness and ways of managing stress in real life.
    • Addiction – understanding how addiction can be explained and who is at greatest risk in the development of addictions.


Extra curricular activities

We endeavour to provide at least one trip for each year group every year. Examples of past trips are visits to Psychology conferences, and also having guest speakers come into school including Dr Guy Sutton, an Honorary Assistant professor in the Division of Psychiatry at Nottingham University Medical School, and a senior AQA Psychology examiner.


Teaching staff

  • Ashton, Lauren
  • Kangley, Anne
  • Lomas, Luke
  • Powell, Catherine


Subjects covered by Humanities

Humanities collectively includes many subject areas. Please follow the links below to find out more about each subject.