Have you ever wondered why people behave the way they do? Psychology is the study of the mind and behaviour and it seeks to understand how people think, feel and behave. Psychologists investigate the causes of behaviour employing scientific techniques.

The IB psychology course takes an integrative approach by looking at psychological issues through three approaches (cores):

  • The biological approach focuses on physiology, including the role of the brain, neurotransmitters, genetics, hormones, pheromones and the role of animal research.
  • The cognitive approach focuses on mental processes like memory, thinking and perception.
  • The sociocultural approach focuses on how environment and culture affect the behaviour of the individual.

In the second year, pupils apply these core approaches to a choice of optional topics (abnormal psychology, psychology of human relationships, health psychology and developmental psychology). Higher level pupils study two topics, standard level pupils only one.

The internal assessment task for psychology is the same for both standard and higher level pupils. It involves replicating a published experiment in a simplified form.

Studying psychology raises questions rather than providing clear cut answers. Pupils become reflective, open-minded and intellectually curious learners. There is also a strong focus on developing critical thinking skills as well as fostering intercultural understanding and respect.

Psychology is unlike any subject you have studied before, however, it is fascinating and relevant to all aspects of everyday life.


Julia Adlam

(Head of Department) PhD, University of Hamburg; Dipl.-Psych, University of Hamburg.

Rachel Bellamy

BA, Loughborough University; MA, Open University
Adam Moffatt

BSC, Oxford Brookes University

Nic Bond

BSC Cardiff Metropolitan University, PGCE Buckingham University

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