Psychology

Unit 1: How Are Behaviours and Mental Processes Shaped?

Human development involves changes in thoughts, feelings and behaviours. In this unit, students investigate the structure and functioning of the human brain and the role it plays in the overall functioning of the human nervous system.

Students also explore brain plasticity and the influence that brain damage may have on a person’s psychological functioning. They consider the complex nature of psychological development, including situations where psychological development may not occur as expected.

Students examine the contribution that classical and contemporary studies have made to an understanding of the human brain and its functions, and to the development of different psychological models and theories used to predict and explain the development of thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

A student-directed research investigation related to brain function and/or development is undertaken in this unit. The research investigation draws on content from Area of Study 1 and/or Area of Study 2.

  • Area of Study 1: How does the brain function?
  • Area of Study 2: What influences psychological development?
  • Area of Study 3: Student-directed research investigation

Unit 2: How Do External Factors Influence Behaviour and Mental Processes?

A person’s thoughts, feelings and behaviours are influenced by a variety of biological, psychological and social factors.

In this unit, students investigate how perception enables a person to interact with the world around them and how their perception of stimuli can be distorted. They also evaluate the role social cognition plays in a person’s attitudes, perception of themselves and relationships with others.

Students explore a variety of factors and contexts that can influence the behaviour of an individual and groups. They also examine the contribution that classical and contemporary research has made to the understanding of human perception and why individuals and groups behave in specific ways.

A practical investigation related to internal and external influences on behaviour is undertaken in this unit. The investigation draws on content from Area of Study 1 and/or Area of Study 2.

  • Area of Study 1: What influences a person’s perception of the world?
  • Area of Study 2: How are people influenced to behave in particular ways?
  • Area of Study 3: Student-directed practical investigation

Unit 3: How Does Experience Affect Behaviour and Mental Processes?

The nervous system influences behaviour and the way people experience the world.

In this unit, students examine the functioning of the human nervous system and how it enables a person to interact with the world around them. They also explore how stress may affect a person’s psychological functioning and consider the causes and management of stress. Students investigate how mechanisms of memory and learning lead to the acquisition of knowledge, the development of new capacities and changed behaviours.

They also consider the limitations and fallibility of memory and how memory can be improved. Students examine the contribution that classical and contemporary research has made to the understanding of the structure and function of the nervous system, and to the understanding of biological, psychological and social factors that influence learning and memory.

  • Area of Study 1: How does the nervous system enable psychological functioning?
  • Area of Study 2: How do people learn and develop?

Unit 4: How Is Wellbeing Developed and Maintained?

Consciousness and mental health are two of many psychological constructs that can be explored by studying the relationship between the mind, brain and behaviour.

In this unit, students examine the nature of consciousness and how changes in levels of consciousness can affect mental processes and behaviour. They also consider the role of sleep and the impact that sleep disturbances may have on a person’s functioning. Students explore the concept of a mental health continuum and apply a biopsychosocial approach, as a scientific model, to analyse mental health and disorders.

They also use specific phobia to illustrate how the development and management of a mental disorder can be considered as an interaction between biological, psychological and social factors. Students examine the contribution that classical and contemporary research has made to the understanding of consciousness, including sleep, and the development of an individual’s mental functioning and wellbeing.

A student practical investigation related to mental processes and psychological functioning is undertaken in either Unit 3 or Unit 4, or across both Units 3 and 4, and is assessed in Unit 4, Outcome 3. The findings of the investigation are presented in a scientific poster format on a prescribed template.

  • Area of Study 1: How do levels of consciousness affect mental processes and behaviour?
  • Area of Study 2: What influences mental wellbeing?
  • Area of Study 3: Practical investigation