“Psychology is the scientific study of people, the mind and behaviour.” (British Psychological Society, 2007)
“…The discipline embraces all aspects of the human experience — from the functions of the brain to the actions of nations, from child development to care for the aged.” (American Psychological Association, 2007)
Psychology club autumn term 2013
Psychology Club Autumn Term 2013
Mon 16th September – Film Club: Minority Influence (AS and A2 students invited)
Mon 23rd September – Film Club continued….
Mon 30th September – Film Club continued….
Mon 7th October – Film Club: Gambling (A2 students only)
Mon 14th Oct – Film Club continued….
Mon WC 21st Oct – Memento (AS students only)
Mon 4th November – Forensic Psychology: Profiling – All welcome!
Mon 11th November – Forensic Psychology: Profiling – All welcome!
Mon 18th November – Criminal Psychology: Psychopathy – All welcome!
Mon 25th November – Personality Testing: Eysenck – All welcome!
Mon 2nd December – Personality Testing – All welcome!
Mon 9th December – No Psychology Club this week
Txt msgng: does it ruin our literacy skills?
We were delighted that Dr Nenagh Kemp (a lecturer in Psychology at the University of Tasmania) was able to join us this autumn term to talk about how she has extended her research in children’s literacy to young people’s reading and writing of text messages. She introduced her research in the talk: Txt Msgng: Does it ruin our literacy skills? Dr Kemp also introduced her new book, focusing upon whether text messaging really ruins out literacy skills and this was followed by an interesting discussion with the students!
Revising the bible of psychiatry- DSM 5!
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) provides a common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental health disorders. It is used by clinicians, researchers, psychiatric drug regulation agencies, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and policy makers. The current version, DSM-IV-TR, was produced years ago, but the 5th edition is due to be published in Summer 2013. For this, the diagnostic criteria for all conditions have been reviewed, based on the latest research, and some will be changed. We were therefore delighted to welcome a member of one of the workgroups, Dr Cynthia Graham, to OHS in November 2012 to talk about the process of revision. Dr Graham described some of the major controversies and issues that the DSM Task Force have been grappling with. It was a fascinating insight, and very timely since Sixth form students had been watching the Horizon documentaries “How Mad are You?” in Psychology Club and using these programmes as a basis for discussion of mental health conditions, the reliability and validity of diagnoses and the perception of mental health conditions in society.
Sixth Form Psychology Conference 2012
Our third Sixth Form Conference, a record number of schools applying for places, and a really informative day of cutting-edge research! The undergraduate presentations covered the topics of eating attitudes and personality traits in 16-18-year-old girls and the experience of cultural transition among Hellenic immigrants in Oxford. Workshops and activities run by current lecturers and researchers included “Who do children believe?” “The Psychology of musical preference” and “Understanding and measuring sleep”. The keynote lecture was on “Understanding Autism” which raised some intriguing questions about creativity.
On Tuesday 26th April 2011 Dr Georgina Krebs, a clinical psychologist and a former student of Oxford High School, came to Oxford High School to talk about her work with children with OCD at a specialist clinic at the Maudsley Hospital in London. Dr Krebs gave a fascinating insight into the difficulties experienced by some of the children that she works with, described effective treatments that she helps to deliver and answered questions from the large audience of Sixth form students and staff.
Students who are intrigued by the way people think and behave, enjoy the rigour of science subjects and are ready to challenge findings and to discuss theories are bound to enjoy Psychology.
Why people do the things they do is an age-old question. The roots of modern Psychology go back to the ancient Greek Philosophers in the 5th and 4th centuries BC. However, Psychology – the science concerned with behaviour – only became established as a discipline in its own right around 125 years ago. One of the exciting things about this is that the studies and theories that students learn about at A level are relatively new, and we are often learning about work that has only been carried out in the last few decades.
A level Psychology has become an increasingly popular choice among students in the UK in recent years and was introduced at Oxford High School in 2005. Although a relatively new subject, it is a successful one. In 2007, one third of the students at Oxford High School who studied the subject at A2 enjoyed it so much that they applied to read Psychology at University. In 2008, all Psychology AS students chose to continue studying the subject at A2 level in Year 13.
This club provides the opportunity for all year groups to find out more about Psychology. It is held during a lunch-break (dates advertised on Daily Digest); sometimes sessions are run by Ms Torbrand and sometimes by Sixth Form Psychology Students. This term’s activities include criminal profiling, discussing whether criminals are ‘born’ or ‘made’, testing our personalities, testing short term memories, discussing the power of uniforms, and investigating the matching hypothesis for romantic relationships!
Some Psychology Club sessions are aimed at Sixth formers who would like to find out more about Psychology (or broaden their A level knowledge), discuss topical studies and issues in psychology, read popular psychology books or help organise psychology events in school.
Books discussed so far have included “Blink” and “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell, “Stumbling on Happiness” by Daniel Gilbert (Royal Society Science Book of the Year 2007) and “Bad Science” by Ben Goldacre. We are currently reading “The Psychopath Test”, by Jon Ronson. Come along and discuss whether you find the books entertaining or irritating! You don’t have to have finished the book, you just need to be interested in it.
Ms Pepita Torbrand BSc (hons) MSc (City)
Ms Torbrand is passionate about psychology and prior to becoming a teacher, she completed her MSc in Occupational Psychology before starting a PhD in Cognitive Behavioural Coaching. Ms Torbrand is currently conducting research on how to use CBC to help increase students’ motivation & performance and will be running workshops for trainee teachers. She joined OHS in 2013 as Head of Psychology
Dr S. B. Squire
MA Cantab, Natural Sciences, DPhil. Oxon, Experimental Psychology
Dr Sarah Squire joined Oxford High School as Head of Psychology in September 2007 and is now Deputy Head.
She is passionate about Psychology and prior to becoming a teacher, she lectured and gave tutorials in Psychology while carrying out research at the University of Oxford. Her main interests are cognitive developmental psychology, parent-child interactions and eating disorders. She maintains links with the university and psychology students to see research “in action”.
Facilities and Resources
The Psychology department has a wide range of text books, videos and DVDS which are used to bring psychology “to life” and to supplement students’ learning. This is complemented by a collection of books (both textbooks and popular reading) and the latest issues of Psychology Review in the School Library.
Psychology Review is a magazine that is written for A level students; it helps develop an understanding of topics covered in the specification and engages students in topical issues and up-to-date research (it is possible for individual students to subscribe to this magazine at a small cost). Each student has a copy of the AS or A2 text book endorsed by the exam board; alternative textbooks are also available in the library.
Psychology lessons are taught in a classroom equipped with a networked PC and digital projector which facilitate the use of relevant video clips, websites and interactive resources. Discussion, debate, and practical investigations also form an integral part of Psychology lessons. Psychology involves a wide range of skills – everything from essay writing to statistics – and students learn in different ways; the varied and learner centred activities adopted in lessons reflect these facts.
The specification that we follow at Oxford High School is AQA-A.
AS Level Psychology
Unit 1: Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Psychology and Research Methods
- How do we remember things?
- Can we rely on eyewitness testimony?
- Do all children form similar attachments with their parents and those around them?
- Does day care have an effect on children’s social development?
- What scientific methods can be used to study behaviour?
- Can psychologists deceive people about the purpose of their study?
- Is it ever ethical to observe people without their knowing?
Unit 2: Biological Psychology, Social Psychology and Individual Differences.
- What is the body’s biological response to stress?
- What methods exist for managing stress?
- Why do people obey authority?
- Why do people change their behaviour as a result of peer pressure?
- How do we draw the line between what’s “normal” and what’s “abnormal?”
- Units 1 and 2 are each worth 25% of the full A level (50% of the AS). They are assessed in two 1½ hour exams at the end of Year 12.
Units 1 and 2 are each worth 25% of the full A level (50% of the AS). They are assessed in two 1½ hour exams at the end of Year 12.
Unit 3: Topics in Psychology
Three topics will be selected from the following:
- Biological rhythms and sleep
- Eating behaviour
- Intelligence and learning
- Cognition and Development
Unit 4: Psychopathology, Psychology in Action and Research Methods
Psychopathology (Schizophrenia, Depression or Anxiety Disorders)
- Clinical characteristics
- Issues surrounding diagnosis
- Biological explanations of the disorder and biological therapies
- Psychological explanations of the disorder and psychological therapies
The Psychology of Addictive Behaviour
- Models of addictive behaviour
- Factors affecting addictive behaviour
- Reducing addictive behaviour
Psychological Research and Scientific Method
- The application of scientific method in psychology
- Designing psychological investigations
- Data analysis and reporting on investigations
Units 3 and 4 are each worth 25% of the full A level. Unit 3 is assessed in a 1½ hour exam and Unit 4 is assessed in a two hour exam (both at the end of Year 13).