A Level Psychology
Buxton Community School Sixth Form
Welcome to psychology
The following information will provide you with some activities to explore what psychology is and what makes it so fascinating.
You can either work through all the activities or pick and choose the ones which you’d like to do.
Enjoy the activities and take care,
Miss Barratt and Mrs Flint
Task One: What is Psychology?
“Psychology is the scientific study of the human mind and behaviour.”
This really means we are trying to understand what it is that causes us to behave the ways we do; why are some people depressed? Why are some people introverted and some extroverted? Why do some people become killers? Why do some people become obese and some have anorexia? It’s a sensitive subject, but the focus is always on: why are humans the way they are?
Watch this short video to start you off: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vo4pMVb0R6M
task two: famous psychologists
Psychology would not exist without all the psychologists who provide us with key ideas, theories and research.
Research a famous psychologist and produce a fact file on them (how you display this is your choice). Some ideas to get you started are Milgram, Zimbardo, Freud, or any other of your choice that you find.
Use these links to start you off:
What to include in your fact file:
- Name and date of psychologist (are they still alive today?)
- A picture of them
- What are their key beliefs about human behaviour?
- Have they carried out any famous research?
- Any other interesting facts you can find out about them (the more bizarre the better!)
task three: when psychology goes wrong.........
Whilst there are many famous psychologists, some are famous for all the wrong reasons. Especially those psychologists who have carried out experiments which would be questionable in today’s society. Watch the following video clip to find out more…
Choose one of the experiments from the video clip and do some further research. Write a paragraph to summarise your own opinion on this piece of research, Do you think it should have been carried out? Should psychologists be allowed to do things like this today?
TASK FOUR; THE BYSTANDER EFFECT
If you saw a stranger fall over in the street, would you help?
As responsible and moral human beings, we would like to think so! However, social psychologists are interested in the way in which our behaviour might change when surrounded by other people.
In the early hours of March 13, 1964, 28-year-old Kitty Genovese was murdered outside the apartment block where she lived. This was witnessed by 38 of her neighbours, not one of which made the effort to save her or call the police.
Give three reasons why you think this may have happened:
Watch the following video about the case of Kitty Genovese.
Due to the case of Kitty, social psychologists became interested in something they called the ‘Bystander Effect’
Using all of the information and any wider research, you are going to imagine you are a social psychologist working in 1964 writing a newspaper article on the case of Kitty Genovese. In your article you should include:
- Details of the case
- What is meant by the bystander effect?
- How many bystanders were there in the case of Kitty?
- How would social psychologists use the Bystander effect to explain what happened?
- What kind of reasons might the neighbours have given for not helping?
- What can you find out about ‘diffusion of responsibility’?
- Challenge * Can you use Latane and Darley’s smoke filled room experiment to support your article?
task five: the myths of ocd
One of the most common misconceptions about OCD is that you like to keep your things organised, wash your hands often (topical at the moment!) or organise things to the last detail. I am sure you’ve heard people say before ‘I am a bit OCD…’ but to people with OCD this can be frustrating. Read the following article to find out more…
The following TED talk provides more information about the myths of OCD:
You have been tasked by the NHS Clinical Psychiatry team to create an awareness poster about OCD. This poster should provide the public information with what OCD is but more importantly what it is NOT to break stigma around OCD. You may want to include key myths and facts. The following website will also be useful:
Prizes will be awarded for posters 😊
task six: the importance of research methods
One of the fundamental elements of psychology is research methods. Without research methods, psychology would not exist as research underpins all of the key ideas. In previous tasks you have looked at research other psychologists have carried out, now it is your turn to have a go at a research project. You will need to use a minimum of 10 participants but remember to follow social distancing, so you can collect your data over the phone/email/household.
Firstly choose one of the topic areas below to investigate:
- Does owning a pet affect how people experience stress?
Psychological research has suggested that owning a pet helps reduce stress levels. You are asked to design a practical project to investigate whether this is true. Your project must use self report methods and will use a questionnaire to collect data which must include a rating scale to measure stress level. You must include 10 questions.
2. Does age affect how much people dream?
Some people say they dream every night and some people say they never dream. Some older people say they dream as much as they used to. Students spend a lot of time learning new material and they may dream more than older people. You are asked to design a practical project to investigate whether age affects how frequently people dream. Your project will use a questionnaire (self report) and must collect numerical data on frequency of dreaming. You must include 10 questions.
3. Does the weather affect how happy people feel?
Psychological research has suggested that people feel more cheerful when the sun shines. You are asked to design a practical project to investigate where this is true, your project should use self report methods – an interview. You must include 10 questions.
Examples of questions for topic 1:
Do you own a pet? Yes/No
How stressed to you feel on a scale of 1 to 5? (5 being very stressed)
1 2 3 3 4 5
Examples of questions for topic 2:
How old are you?
Under 13 14-16 17-19 20-23 23-27 28-31 32+
How many times a week do you dream?
1-2 3-4 4-5
What are the common themes in your dreams?
Examples of questions for topic 3:
What type of weather do you prefer?
How would you describe the weather today?
How would you rate your mood from 1-5 (5 being very happy)?
You will write up your project. This can either be presented on PowerPoint, word or hand written.
It will include the following:
What is the aim of your investigation (what are you trying to find out)? What is your hypothesis (what do you think will happen)?
Do some wider reading into your chosen topic area, can you find any previous research or any newspaper articles related to your investigation? Do some research on the internet.
- How many participants (the people who took part in your research) are in your sample?
- Give some details about your sample for example the range of ages, where they are from, occupation. Important, never give their name out, it is important you always keep your participants names confidential, you could use their initials or numbers.
- How did you carry out your questionnaire or interview? (email, phone, video call, within the household)
- Show examples of questions you used in your questionnaire or interview.
Any quantitative (data in the form of numbers) data your collect can be displayed using a tables and graphs. A method like a bar chart can be used.
Under each table or graph, write a summary of what it shows.
The results show that overall more 16-25 year olds dream and no over 56 year olds reported that they dream.
However we can see that dreaming does not seem to decline steadily over age. There seems to be a slight increase between the ages 46 -55.
The results show that overall 16 -24 year olds on average have the least number of dreams per night and the 46 – 55 year olds have the highest number of dreams per night. Age ranges 26-23 and 36 – 45 show the same average number of dreams per night
Any qualitative (data in the form of words) data you collect can be summarised in written form: Can you identify any key themes in what your participants have reported? How can you link what they’ve reported to your investigation?
- Summary of the results (conclusion). Do they support your hypothesis (what you thought was going to happen)?
- Does your investigation support or contradict any previous ideas that you researched in your introduction?
- Did you encounter any problems with your research? Can you apply your findings to a wider scale of people? Do you think your participants were truthful in their answers?
- Possible real-world applications, is there anything useful from your findings that could be used to advise people in the real world?
- Suggestions for future research – is there something that you wish you had investigated? What else may be interesting to research based on your findings.
We hope you enjoyed the tasks and exploring the world of psychology. If you would like to show us anything you’ve done please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
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