Psychology is about what makes people unique and interesting and why they behave as they do. Psychology is a biological science, a cognitive science and a social science, that is, psychologists are interested in the relationship between brain and behaviour, in our mental processes such as thinking and reasoning, and in our social interactions in groups. Applied psychologists use the results of research to help solve human and social problems.
Psychology is the ideal ‘bridging subject’ between Arts and Science subjects. Psychology trains Humanities students to think scientifically and helps Science students learn how to write essays.
Students have enjoyed combining Psychology with subjects as diverse as Music, English Literature, Physics, History and Politics.
You will learn to design scientific research and analyse quantitative and qualitative data from your own investigations and how to evaluate the research findings of others. You will also write essays, constructing arguments based on psychological evidence and debating complex issues. Students undertaking this option can expect to develop an understanding of how psychological knowledge is generated, developed and applied.
Our IB Psychology course takes a holistic approach, reflected in the syllabus, which looks at how biological, cognitive and sociocultural analysis can be integrated to develop an understanding of what humans share and how they differ.
Paper 1 (SL and HL)
Biological approach to understanding behaviour
This section investigates how human behaviour may be correlated with biological factors. We look specifically at: The relationship between the brain and behaviour; hormones and pheromones; the relationship between genetics and behaviour. HL students also study the role that animal research plays in the understanding of human behaviour.
Cognitive approach to understanding behaviour
The cognitive approach views humans as being processors of information and includes research on schema, memory, thinking and how these might influence behaviour. We also consider how reliable these processes are and how emotion may influence them. HL students go on to consider how technology affects cognitive processes, both positively and negatively.
Sociocultural approach to understanding behaviour
Human behaviour is affected by social and cultural factors and this unit focuses on how the individual is influenced by the group and how culture affects behaviour and cognitive processes. HL students continue this to study the influence of globalisation on individual behaviour.
Paper 2 Options (SL and HL)
This unit focuses on the diagnosis, explanation and treatment of abnormal behaviour. A number of disorders are considered in this topic but we mainly focus on Obsessive Compulsive disorder as we think about causes and treatments. Classification systems and potential biases within diagnosis and treatment are also considered in this fascinating unit.
Developmental Psychology (HL only)
This is the study of how and why people’s behaviour and thinking changes over time. We look at influences on cognitive and social development, including the roles of poverty, trauma and peers on development. Developing an identity considers early development in attachment and how empathy may develop, as well as how gender identity may develop.
Lastly, developing as a learner focuses on early brain development and how cognitive processes may develop.
Paper 3 (HL only)
Psychology is an evidence based discipline that employs both experimental and non-experimental methods using quantitative and qualitative approaches. A knowledge of these methods is required for both SL and HL but Paper 3 allows the HL students to delve deeper into the Research processes.
Internal Assessment (SL and HL)
Students work in groups to undertake a research study of their own, replicating a published research study of their choosing. This allows students to really experience the scientific method used within Psychology and understand the processes of experimentation.
Paper 1: (SL and HL) 2 hours.
Three short essays, one from each approach, and one long essay from a choice of each of the approaches.
Paper 2: 1 hour for SL, 2 hours for HL
One long essay from a choice of three within each of the option units
Paper 3 (HL only) 1 hour
Short answer questions applied to a stem research question.
Internal Assessment 40 hours of guided and self-guided time to produce an experimental study write up.
"The mind is like an iceberg, it floats with one-seventh of its bulk above water."“