Hellesdon High School

Psychology Year 12

Year 12 AQA A-Level Psychology (7182) Topic(s) Key content to be learned Assessment
Autumn Term

Research Methods























Approaches (An Introduction)








Quantitative and qualitative data; the distinction between qualitative and quantitative data collection techniques. Levels of measurement: nominal, ordinal and interval. Variables: manipulation and control of variables, including independent, dependent, extraneous, confounding; operationalisation of variables. Experimental method. Types of experiment, laboratory and field experiments; natural and quasi-experiments. Aims: stating aims, the difference between aims and hypotheses. Hypotheses: directional and non-directional. Control: random allocation and counterbalancing, randomisation and standardisation. Demand characteristics and investigator effects. Sampling: the difference between population and sample; sampling techniques including: random, systematic, stratified, opportunity and volunteer; implications of sampling techniques, including bias and generalisation. Ethics, including the role of the British Psychological Society’s code of ethics; ethical issues in the design and conduct of psychological studies; dealing with ethical issues in research. Pilot studies and the aims of piloting. Experimental designs: repeated measures, independent groups, matched pairs. Features of science: objectivity and the empirical method; replicability; theory construction and hypothesis testing; Reliability across all methods of investigation. Types of validity across all methods of investigation: face validity, concurrent validity, ecological validity and temporal validity. Assessment of validity. Improving validity. Descriptive statistics: measures of central tendency – mean, median, mode; calculation of mean, median and mode; measures of dispersion; range and standard deviation; calculation of range; calculation of percentages; positive, negative and zero correlations. Presentation and display of quantitative data: graphs, tables, scattergrams, bar charts, histograms. Distributions: normal and skewed distributions; characteristics of normal and skewed distributions.


Origins of Psychology: Wundt, introspection and the emergence of Psychology as a science. The basic assumptions of the following approaches: Learning approaches: i) the behaviourist approach, including classical conditioning and Pavlov’s research, operant conditioning, types of reinforcement and Skinner’s research; ii) social learning theory including imitation, identification, modelling, vicarious reinforcement, the role of mediational processes and Bandura’s research. The cognitive approach: the study of internal mental processes, the role of schema, the use of theoretical and computer models to explain and make inferences about mental processes. The biological approach: the influence of genes


The multi-store model of memory: sensory register, short-term memory and long-term memory. Features of each store: coding, capacity and duration. Types of long-term memory: episodic, semantic, procedural. The working memory model: central executive, phonological loop, visuo-spatial sketchpad and episodic buffer. Features of the model: coding and capacity. Explanations for forgetting: proactive and retroactive interference and retrieval failure due to absence of cues. Factors affecting the accuracy of eyewitness testimony: misleading information, including leading questions and post-event discussion; anxiety. Improving the accuracy of eyewitness testimony, including the use of the cognitive interview.




















In Class Assessments

Spring Term

Research Methods












Social Influence

Observational techniques. Types of observation: naturalistic and controlled observation; covert and overt observation; participant and non-participant observation. Observational design: behavioural categories; event sampling; time sampling. Self-report techniques. Questionnaires; interviews, structured and unstructured. Questionnaire construction, including use of open and closed questions; design of interviews. Correlations. Analysis of the relationship between co-variables. The difference between correlations and experiments. Content analysis. Analysis and interpretation of correlation, including correlation coefficients. Case studies. Primary and secondary data, including meta-analysis. The role of peer review in the scientific process. Reporting psychological investigations. Sections of a scientific report: abstract, introduction, method, results, discussion and referencing.


Types of conformity: internalisation, identification and compliance.  Explanations for conformity: informational social influence and normative social influence, and variables affecting conformity including group size, unanimity and task difficulty as investigated by Asch. Conformity to social roles as investigated by Zimbardo. Explanations for obedience: agentic state and legitimacy of authority, and situational variables affecting obedience including proximity and location, as investigated by Milgram, and uniform. Dispositional explanation for obedience: the Authoritarian Personality. Explanations of resistance to social influence, including social support and locus of control. Minority influence including reference to consistency, commitment and flexibility. The role of social influence processes in social change.









In Class Assessments

Summer Term










Issues and Debates








Analysis and evaluation of the Origins of Psychology and the following approaches; learning approaches; The cognitive approach. In addition to the emergence of cognitive neuroscience. biological structures and neurochemistry on behaviour. Genotype and phenotype, genetic basis of behaviour, evolution and behaviour. The psychodynamic approach: the role of the unconscious, the structure of personality, that is Id, Ego and Superego, defence mechanisms including repression, denial and displacement, psychosexual stages. Humanistic Psychology: free will, self-actualisation and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, focus on the self, congruence, the role of conditions of worth. The influence on counselling Psychology. Comparison of approaches.


The nature-nurture debate: the relative importance of heredity and environment in determining behaviour; the interactionist approach. Free will and determinism: hard determinism and soft determinism; biological, environmental and psychic determinism. The scientific emphasis on causal explanations. Idiographic and nomothetic approaches to psychological investigation.


Caregiver-infant interactions in humans: reciprocity and interactional synchrony. Stages of attachment identified by Schaffer. Multiple attachments and the role of the father.  Animal studies of attachment: Lorenz and Harlow. Explanations of attachment: learning theory and Bowlby’s monotropic theory. The concepts of a critical period and an internal working model. Ainsworth’s ‘Strange Situation’. Types of attachment: secure, insecure-avoidant and insecure-resistant. Cultural variations in attachment, including van Ijzendoorn. Bowlby’s theory of maternal deprivation. Romanian orphan studies: effects of institutionalisation. The influence of early attachment on childhood and adult relationships, including the role of an internal working model.










In Class Assessment