At the core of the DP psychology course is an introduction to three different approaches to understanding behaviour: the biological, cognitive and sociocultural approaches. Students study and critically evaluate the knowledge, concepts, theories and research that have developed the understanding in these fields. The interaction of these approaches to studying psychology forms the basis of a holistic and integrated approach to understanding mental processes and behaviour as a complex, dynamic phenomenon, allowing students to appreciate the diversity as well as the commonality between their own behaviour and that of others.
The contribution and the interaction of the three approaches is understood through the four options in the course, focusing on areas of applied psychology: abnormal psychology, developmental psychology, health psychology, and the psychology of relationships. The options provide an opportunity to take what is learned from the study of the approaches to psychology and apply it to specific lines of inquiry.
Psychologists employ a range of research methods, both qualitative and quantitative, to test their observations and hypotheses. DP psychology promotes an understanding of the various approaches to research and how they are used to critically reflect on the evidence as well as assist in the design, implementation, analysis and evaluation of the students’ own investigations.
Surrounding the approaches and the options are the overarching themes of research and ethics. A consideration of both is paramount to the nature of the subject.
Paper 1 (SL/HL) – 3 compulsory short answer questions on the Biological, Cognitive and Sociocultural approaches. Three essay choices from the approaches. One essay to be written (50% SL / 40% HL). 2 hours.
Paper 2 (SL/HL) – SL to do one essay from the options. HL to do two essays, one from each option (25% SL / 20% HL). SL 1 hour / HL 2 hours.
Option 1: Psychology of Human Relationships
Option 2: Developmental or Abnormal Psychology
Paper 3 (HL) – Stimulus material given. 3 compulsory questions (20%). 1 hour.
Students are given a bank of questions which could be asked. They then apply their answer to the stimulus material given.
Internal Assessment (SL/HL) – Word count 1800 – 2200 (25% SL / 20% HL).
Experiment on memory. Internally assessed and externally moderated.