Welcome to psychology! Detailed below are a number of activities, articles, videos and tasks that you could complete to help prepare you for the psychology A level. There is quite a bit to do, so please do not feel you need to complete it all. You could start by picking the topics you are most interested in and seeing how you get on. If you have any questions feel free to email Miss Mesnard (Head of Pyschology) at firstname.lastname@example.org
Topic 1: Social Influence
Research the infamous ‘Stanford Prison Experiment’ conducted by Zimbardo. There is a pretty good film covering this experiment on Amazon Prime called ‘the Stanford prison experiment’ or you can watch a short documentary about it on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=760lwYmpXbc
You could also research another shocking psychological experiment conducted by Stanley Milgram in 1963. He was looking at the effect of an authority figure on obedience. A google search for ‘Milgram electric shock experiment’ will direct you to some good information on it.
Finally ‘The Push’ by Derren Brown (on Netflix) is an excellent programme showing the effects of social influence on our behaviour.
Topic 2: Memory
Conduct your own replication of Jacob’s (1887) experiment on friends and family to see how many pieces of information they can hold in their short term memory. Please ensure you get their consent to take part in a study on memory!
• Step 1: give your participant a blank piece of paper.
• Step 2: read out the first line of numbers (as shown in the diagram) e.g. “five-eight-two”
• Step 3: pause to allow your participant to write down the numbers that they can remember in the correct order.
• Step 4: read the next line e.g. “six-eight-nine-three”
• Step 5: pause to allow time for the participant to write down the numbers.
• Step 6: Continue until your participant can no longer remember the numbers you have given them.
Complete this task on a number of willing participants and display your results in an appropriate table. Each participant’s score is the total number of digits they got correct before getting muddled. For example if participant X got the line “173628” correct but then got muddled on the next line, their score would be 6. You can also test using letters instead of digits (this should be harder for most people!) Research shows that the average capacity of short term memory is around 7 items (digits or letters in this case).
Topic 3: Attachment
Research the three attachment types, proposed by Mary Ainsworth- secure attachment, insecure- avoidant and insecure- resistant/ambivalent. You can find information about them here https://www.simplypsychology.org/mary-ainsworth.html
Then you can take a quiz to test your own attachment style! Some of the questions refer to romantic relationships, so if you have not had one you will need to hypothesise about what you might be like in a relationship. https://dianepooleheller.com/attachment-test/#header You will need to put an email address in at the end but I recommend making one up e.g. email@example.com
If you are looking for something challenging this article goes into a lot of detail surrounding two prominent attachment psychologists (Mary Ainsworth & John Bowlby). You only need to read the first 18 pages (if you get that far!) From here on in it goes onto stuff far more complex that what we study in psychology. http://www.psychology.sunysb.edu/attachment/online/inge_origins.pdf
Topic 4: Psychopathology
The three topics that we study in psychopathology are phobias, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder.
There is a really good 5 part series released by the BBC following individuals with some common and not so common phobias and their treatments. They can be viewed below. Flooding (one of the therapies shown) is something we study so you could take notes on this.
Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzNSYw7xwpU
Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4vh5ZGJTHg
Part 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkaeVrs7-ZA
Part 4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMZ5o2uruXY
Part 5: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiy0rWAAkhA
For OCD you could watch this feature length documentary that shows a realistic portrayal of OCD, a commonly misunderstood illness. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKiu1IZcEF0
Research task: research and make notes on cognitive behavioural therapy as a treatment for depression. The following website will get you off to a good start https://www.simplypsychology.org/cognitive-therapy.html We study both Beck & Ellis’s therapies so notes on each would be very beneficial for you next year.
You could also take some other courses in Psychology that are available for free and will give you lots of information that will be useful for your future psychology studies!
Wider Extension Work: Future Learn
There are a range of free Psychology courses available at Future Learn.
Each course has an official start date, however you can join after the start date. Each course has a ‘duration’ of how many weeks it is estimated to take you. The free access lasts for this duration plus 2 weeks to allow you extra time, so for example for the Forensic Psychology course you would have free access to the course for 10 weeks.