Paper 2: Approaches

Paper 2: Psychology in context

  • What’s assessed? Compulsory content of Approaches, Biopsychology and Research Methods.
  • How is it assessed? Written exam: 2 hours • 96 marks in total • 33.3% of A-level
  • What type of questions? Section A&B: multiple choice, short answer and extended writing maximum 16 marks, each section totaling 24 marks.  Section C: multiple choice, short answer and extended writing maximum 16 marks, section totaling 48 marks

Students will be expected to:

  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of psychological concepts, theories, research studies, research methods and ethical issues in relation to the specified Paper 2 content.
  • apply psychological knowledge and understanding of the specified Paper 2 content in a range of contexts
  • analyse, interpret and evaluate psychological concepts, theories, research studies and research methods in relation to the specified Paper 2 content
  • evaluate therapies and treatments including in terms of their appropriateness and effectiveness.

Assessment Objectives (% of overall A Level)

  • AO1 = 7–10 %
  • AO2 = 16–19 %
  • AO3 = 7–9 %

4.2.1  Approaches in psychology

  • Origins of psychology: Wundt, introspection and the emergence of psychology as a science.
  • Learning approaches: the behaviourist approach, including classical conditioning and Pavlov’s research, operant conditioning, types of reinforcement and Skinner’s research; 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 emergence of cognitive neuroscience.
  • The biological approach: the influence of genes, 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.