Paper 2: Biopsychology

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 %

4.2.2  Biopsychology

  • The divisions of the nervous system: central and peripheral (somatic and autonomic).
  • The structure and function of sensory, relay and motor neurons. The process of synaptic transmission, including reference to neurotransmitters, excitation and inhibition.
  • The function of the endocrine system: glands and hormones.
  • The fight or flight response including the role of adrenaline.
  • Localisation of function in the brain and hemispheric lateralisation: motor, somatosensory, visual, auditory and language centres; Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas, split brain research. Plasticity and functional recovery of the brain after trauma.
  • Ways of studying the brain: scanning techniques, including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI); electroencephalogram (EEGs) and event-related potentials (ERPs); post-mortem examinations.
  • Biological rhythms: circadian, infradian and ultradian and the difference between these rhythms. The effect of endogenous pacemakers and exogenous zeitgebers on the sleep/wake cycle.