Psychology: Unit 1 & 2

Study design for VCE Unit 1&2 Psychology for 2016-2021

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Psychology: Unit 1 & 2 by Mind Map: Psychology: Unit 1 & 2

1. Unit 2 - Area of Study 1 - What influences a person’s perception of the world?

1.1. Sensation and perception

1.1.1. Sensation and perception as two complementary but distinct roles in the reception, processing and interpretation of sensory information

1.1.2. Taste and vision as two examples of human sensory systems, including the roles of sensory receptors and receptive fields, transmission of sensory information to the brain, and representation of sensory information in the cerebral cortex

1.1.3. The influence of biological, psychological and social factors on visual perception, including depth cues, visual perception principles and perceptual set

1.1.4. The influence of biological, psychological and social factors on gustatory perception, including age, genetics, perceptual set (including food packaging and appearance) and culture.

1.2. Distortions of perception

1.2.1. The fallibility of visual and gustatory perception systems, demonstrated by visual illusions and the judgment of flavours (influence of perceptual set, colour intensity and texture)

1.2.2. Distortions of perception of taste and vision in healthy, intact brains as providing insight into brain function related to perception, illustrated by synaesthesia.

2. Unit 1 - Area of Study 1 - How does the brain function?

2.1. Role of the brain in mental processes and behaviour

2.1.1. The influence of different approaches over time to understanding the role of the brain, including the brain vs heart debate, mind-body problem, phrenology, first brain experiments and neuroimaging techniques

2.1.2. The basic structure and function of the central and peripheral nervous systems as communication systems between the body’s internal cells and organs and the external world

2.1.3. The role of the neuron (dendrites, axon, myelin and axon terminals) as the primary functional unit of the nervous system, including the role of glial cells in supporting neuronal function

2.1.4. The basic structure and function of the hindbrain (cerebellum, medulla), midbrain (reticular formation) and forebrain (hypothalamus, thalamus, cerebrum)

2.1.5. The role of the cerebral cortex in the processing of complex sensory information, the initiation of voluntary movements, language, symbolic thinking and the regulation of emotion, including localisation of function.

2.2. Brain plasticity and brain damage

2.2.1. Infancy and adolescence as periods of rapid development and changes in brain structure and function, including development of myelin, synaptic pruning and frontal lobe development

2.2.2. The impact of injury to the cerebral cortex on a person’s biological, psychological and social functioning and the ability of the brain to undergo adaptive plasticity, illustrated by rehabilitation of people with brain injuries

2.2.3. The use of animal studies and neuroimaging techniques to develop understanding of human neurological disorders including Parkinson’s disease.

3. Unit 1 - Area of Study 3 - Student-directed research investigation

3.1. Topic 1: Biopsychology

3.1.1. Are the sexes psychologically, as well as biologically, different?

3.1.2. How do drugs such as caffeine and alcohol affect brain function?

3.1.3. How do brain structures in animals compare with those in humans?

3.1.4. What are the roles of the left and right hemisphere?

3.1.5. Is the brain just a complex electric circuit?

3.1.6. How are nerve cells such as grid cells specialised for different functions?

3.1.7. How can brain trauma in sporting injuries affect cognitive function?

3.1.8. Are animal studies of brain function directly translatable to human brain function?

3.1.9. Do people use all of their brain capacity?

3.1.10. How is psychological development affected by factors such as the prenatal environment?

3.1.11. How ‘plastic’ is the human brain?

3.1.12. Which areas of the brain are involved in specific psychological disorders?

3.2. Topic 2: Brain and the use of technology

3.2.1. Are ‘brain training programs’ effective?

3.2.2. How does the use of technology impact on brain functioning?

3.2.3. Is our use of the internet changing the way we think and behave?

3.2.4. How has neuroimaging changed our understanding of brain structure and function?

3.2.5. How can technology be used to help people recover from brain trauma or injury?

3.2.6. How are different neuroimaging techniques used to study brain structure and function?

3.2.7. Does playing violent video games affect the structure and functioning of the adolescent brain?

3.2.8. Is it possible to create artificial intelligence?

3.2.9. What are the psychological justifications for it to be illegal to drive and use a mobile phone at the same time?

3.2.10. How can transcranial magnetic stimulation be used as a mental health treatment?

3.3. Topic 3: Cognition

3.3.1. What happens in the brain when we feel different emotions?

3.3.2. How does brain development influence decision making in adolescents?

3.3.3. How does play-based learning support children’s cognitive development?

3.3.4. Why are humans able to create art and invent things?

3.3.5. How does the brain enable decision making and problem solving?

3.3.6. Does extra-sensory perception exist?

3.3.7. What is ‘intelligence’?

3.3.8. Is there a link between high IQ and high levels of symbolic thinking?

3.3.9. Are some languages easier to learn than others?

3.3.10. How does Freud explain the ‘preconscious’, ‘conscious’ and ‘unconscious’ mind?

4. Unit 1 - Area of Study 2 - What influences psychological development?

4.1. The complexity of psychological development

4.1.1. The interactive nature of hereditary and environmental factors on a person’s psychological development, illustrated through twin and adoption studies

4.1.2. The role of critical and sensitive periods in a person’s psychological development

4.1.3. The importance of attachment on an individual’s emotional development: genetics; temperament and early life experiences (with reference to the work of Harlow & Ainsworth)

4.1.4. The development of cognitive abilities from concrete to symbolic thinking (with reference to the work of Piaget)

4.1.5. Psychosocial development across the lifespan as an influence on the development of an individual’s personality (with reference to the work of Erikson).

4.2. Atypical psychological development

4.2.1. The conceptualisation of normality including typical and atypical behaviours; adaptive and maladaptive behaviours; and mental health and mental disorder as a continuum

4.2.2. Mental health as a product of internal and external factors which assist individuals to cope with change and challenge

4.2.3. Major categories of psychological disorder: addiction disorders; anxiety disorders; mood disorders; personality disorders; and psychotic disorders

4.2.4. The ‘two-hit’ hypothesis as an explanation for the development of particular psychological disorders, illustrated by schizophrenia.

5. Unit 1 - Area of Study 3 - Student-directed research investigation (Part 2)

5.1. Topic 4: Psychological development

5.1.1. How does learning to play a musical instrument affect psychological development?

5.1.2. Do different parenting styles affect the psychological development of children and adolescents?

5.1.3. What are the developmental reasons for film/video game classification systems?

5.1.4. What role does attachment play in the development of an individual’s personality?

5.1.5. How does attachment theory inform parental decisions about child-care arrangements?

5.1.6. How does Piaget’s theory influence the development/selection of age appropriate toys?

5.1.7. Can personality be determined by the Rorschach test?

5.1.8. Does the ‘two-hit’ hypothesis apply to all mental disorders?

5.1.9. Are longitudinal studies useful when studying psychological development?

5.1.10. What are the main criticisms of Piaget’s theory of cognitive development?

5.1.11. How accepted are Freud’s theories related to the development of the id, ego and superego during infancy and childhood?

5.2. Topic 5: Mental health and disorder

5.2.1. What are some of the strengths and limitations in using classification systems to diagnose atypical behaviours and mental disorders?

5.2.2. How is the nature/nurture debate related to a consideration of mental health and mental disorder?

5.2.3. How can temporary emotional states such as grief affect classification of behaviour and mental states?

5.2.4. Why have some mental disorders been reclassified over time as not being disorders while other health conditions become newly classified as mental disorders?

5.2.5. How has the treatment of mental disorders changed over time?

5.2.6. When does a fear become a phobia?

5.2.7. To what extent is mental disorder a cultural construct?

5.2.8. Why is a fear of public speaking difficult to classify?

5.2.9. Why isn’t caffeine addiction identified as a mental disorder?

5.3. Topic 6: Changing thoughts, feelings and behaviour

5.3.1. What is the current research on and evidence for possible biological or psychological factors being involved in the development of syndromes such as Tourette syndrome?

5.3.2. How can creativity and imagination be encouraged and fostered?

5.3.3. How do inspiration and motivation affect thoughts, feelings and behaviour?

5.3.4. What strategies can people use to change maladaptive behaviours?

5.3.5. Do moods bias judgment?

5.3.6. Are emotions contagious?

5.3.7. How is the brain involved in ‘self-actualisation’?

5.3.8. How does foetal alcohol syndrome affect nervous system functioning?

5.3.9. What is the psychological basis for common types of intervention programs used to support young people?

5.3.10. What are the potential risks of substance use (such as alcohol and illicit drugs) on adolescent psychological functioning?

5.3.11. How did Freud explain the use of defense mechanisms when dealing with conflicts or problems in life?

6. Unit 2 - Area of Study 2 - How are people influenced to behave in particular ways?

6.1. Social cognition

6.1.1. The role of person perception, attributions, attitudes and stereotypes in interpreting, analysing, remembering and using information about the social world

6.1.2. The applications and limitations of the tri-component model of attitudes

6.1.3. Attitudes and stereotypes that may lead to prejudice and discrimination

6.2. Social influences on behaviour

6.2.1. The influence of status and social power within groups, and obedience and conformity on individual behaviour, with reference to theorists including Asch, Milgram and Zimbardo

6.2.2. The influences on helping behaviour (or reluctance to help) including personal, situational and social factors

6.2.3. Factors that influence bullying (including cyberbullying) behaviour and the effects of bullying behaviour on an individual’s psychological functioning

6.2.4. Positive and negative influences of media on individual and group behaviour, illustrated by advertising, television, video games and social media

7. Unit 2 - Area of Study 3 - Student-directed practical investigation

7.1. Key Knowledge

7.1.1. Development of an investigable question and formulation of a research hypothesis

7.1.2. The psychological concepts specific to the investigation and their significance, including definitions of key terms, and psychological representations

7.1.3. The characteristics of scientific research methodologies, including techniques for primary qualitative and quantitative data collection relevant to the investigation: experiments, surveys, questionnaires, observational studies and/or use of rating scales; reliability and validity of data; and minimisation of experimental bias

7.1.4. Ethics and issues of research including identification and application of relevant health, safety and bioethical guidelines, and use of human subjects

7.1.5. Methods of organising, analysing and evaluating primary data to identify patterns and relationships including sources of error and limitations of data and methodologies

7.1.6. Observations and experiments that are consistent with, or challenge, current psychological models, theories or frameworks

7.1.7. The nature of evidence that supports or refutes a hypothesis, model or theory

7.1.8. The key findings of the selected investigation and their relationship to psychological concepts and theories associated with perception and/or social cognition and influences

7.1.9. The conventions of scientific report writing including psychological terminology and representations and standard abbreviations.