Unlocking the Mind Essential Concepts and Theories in A-Level Psychology

Unlocking the Mind Essential Concepts and Theories in A-Level Psychology

The branch of knowledge known as psychology deals with the science of the human mind and its behavior and has a deep and wide perspective on people’s thought processes, feelings, and actions. A Level Psychology is an advanced level course that adds revelation to distinct theories and issues to enlighten the students about different behaviors. In this article, ideas presented at A Level Psychology tutor help students with the theories studied constitute an important part as it includes such sections as the first introduction to the subject, the ways of conducting research, the human nervous system, cognitive psychology, stages of development, social psychology, and the last topic, which is deviances and disorders.

Introduction to A level Psychology

There is underlying adherence to the scientific research approach within the framework of psychology as the subject deals with observation, quantitative measurements, and controlled experimentation. Some of the important contributors to the history of psychology are: Wilhelm Wundt who is known to have founded psychology as a separate science and Sigmund Freud whose psychoanalytic theory has had a significant impact on the course of psychological science. Modern psychology also embraces various approaches such as the biological approach, cognitive approach, behavioral approach and sociocultural approach among others to ensure that the human behavior is well understood.

Research Methods in A level Psychology

The research methods that are used by the discipline of psychology range from data collection and data analysis. Descriptive methods aim to identify relationships between different concepts and relies on both descriptive and experimental methods, which manipulate variables to introduce cause-effort research is usually done in a controlled environment. In naturalistic observation, the investigator gauges the behavior of the subjects under their natural condition without having to influence it in any way. There are also two main data collection techniques – survey and questionnaires that gather information from many people and case studies which deals on few people. Third, correlational research designs compare the levels of one variable with the levels of other variables; nevertheless, they do not suggest cause and effect.


Biopsychology is one of the sub-fields of psychology; the focus of this branch of psychology is to analyze the biological aspect of any behavior demonstrated by an individual. This focuses on the neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, neuropathology of the central and peripheral nervous system, which also includes the brain and cord and nerves outside the central nervous system. Essentially, the structure and functionality of the brain are core to understanding behavior; a concept wherein, the brain contains discrete parts each of which is responsible for different functions. For instance, the frontal lobe relays to decision and the issues of problems while the hippocampus is very important in the process of memory. Neurochemicals include neurotransmitters such as those responsible for transmitting signals between neurons besides participating in mood regulation, arousal, and cognition.

Cognitive Psychology

Cognitive psychology focuses on mental structures, processes, including perception, memory, language, and problem-solving. This is the process of making meaning out of what is perceived through the sense organs such as vision and hearing. Memory involves encoding, storage, and retrieval of information including the differences between short-term and long-term and the working memory. Language is communication using symbols and strictly defined rules of phonology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. Decision making and problem solving entail several tactics such as algorithms, heuristics, and other cognitive biases.

Developmental Psychology

Developmental psychology deals with human development from infancy to adulthood and even elder ages. According to Jean Piaget’s model of cognitive development there are stages like sensorimotor, pre-operational, concrete operational and formal operational. According to the sociocultural theory of development by Lev Vygotsky, social interaction as well as culture is an essential aspect of cognitive development. Social and emotional development is the process of forming interpersonal relationships, understanding and regulating one’s feelings, as well as personal identity. Erik erikson’s psychosocial stage of development comprises of eight stages each of which is faced with specific crisis. For instance, John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth have postulated on attachment theories that focus on bonds that are created between infants and their attendants.

Social Psychology

Social psychology focuses on interpersonal relationships and how these relationships affect and are affected. Social cognition is the study of how people process information about other people and their characteristics. Attribution theory describes how people assign causes to behavior and social schemas and stereotypes classify social knowledge. Attitudes have affective, behavioral as well as cognitive parts and help in determining behavior. Group dynamics is a branch of social psychology that focuses on the behavior of individuals in a group and process that occurs in a group for example social facilitation, social loafing and groupthink. For prejudice and discrimination, they are negative emotions toward groups with ways of combating prejudice they include contact and knowledge. Compliance and compliance consist of altering behaviors to accord with other people or following instructions from authorities, as depicted in Solomon Asch and Stanley Milgram studies.


Psychopathology analyzes psychological disorders and the symptoms observed in patients, the reasons which have caused them, and methods of their treatment. Specific phobias include irrational fear of specific objects or situations and this type affect about 5% of people in any given year.Very active phobias include individuals who may avoid events, places or things that cause them anxiety and this affects about 2% of people in any given year. Mood disorders are a further type of mental illness characterized by changes in mood including major depression and bipolar disorder. Schizophrenia and psychotic disorder consist of thoughts and perception disorders, and they present features such as delusional and hallucinatory phenomena and disorganized thought processes. Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorders are forms of eating disorders that encompasses eating disorders and obsessive thoughts about eating or weight.

Approaches to Treatment

There is a myriad of ways and methods that aim at dealing with the mental illnesses. Psychodynamic therapy targets conflicts and dynamics within the individual based on experiences of the early age. CBT incorporates cognitive and behavior modification processes to alter the undesirable thought processes and actions. The humanistic therapy deals with the cause of the disorder and focuses on the individual person where the therapy approaches include the client-centered therapy as well as the gestalt therapy. Biological treatments mainly require medicines, electro convulsive therapy and brain stimulation therapies. Complementary and Integrative are elaborate styles of treatment where a number of treatment plans are embraced simultaneously, the psyche of the patient is taken into account and involves programs like mindfulness-based therapy and other traditions like acupuncture and use of Yoga.


Having a general knowledge, workshop knowledge, and research knowledge grab a general understanding of the mind and behavior from A-Level Psychology. This includes teachers such as basic concepts, research methods, neuropsychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, social psychology, and psychopathology. These concepts and theories not only help the students gain insight on the behavior of humans, but they also enable them grasp necessary knowledge that helps those who wish to further their studies in this field as well as gain employment in the field of psychology. It is for this reason that the aspirations for the future remain bright and well-guarded by continuous enhancement of the theoretical knowledge, technological progress, and novel possibilities in practice of psychological science.


1. What is A-Level Psychology?

AS-Level and A-Level Psychology are two standardized courses that allow students to explore a wide range of theories and concepts concerning the human mind and behavior. These include course areas that focus on basic concepts, research techniques, biological bases of behavior, cognitive processes, child and adolescent development, adult development and aging, the self, psychological disorders, treatment, and prevention strategies. It gives the students the knowledge of and concepts regarding human behavior and mental processes as the course is configured.

2. A very pertinent question, which may be asked is; why is research important in psychology?

Science is critical in psychology because it enables investigators to study conduct and mental structures through well-planned investigation. Psychologists use different tools and techniques like experiments, questionnaires, and observations etc in order to collect information to make conclusions as to why or how individuals do certain things. It then has the benefit of extending the known body of information that can be used in an attempt to enhance mental health treatments, the processes of education and learning, and many other aspects of our existence.

3. Biopsychology relates to the study of human behavior by concerning itself with the brain and bodily structures while cognitive psychology focuses on the mental process that shapes behavior?

Cognitive psychology concerns itself with operations that occur in the human mind including perception, memory process, language, and problem solving. It is concerned with how people learn information, how they use information or process it and where it is kept. Biopsychology, on the other hand, focuses on the connections between psychological functions and the physiology of the body. It examines the organic components and how they cause behavior and mental processes through the analysis of the nervous system, the brain and neurotransmitters.

4. Psychopathology involves the study of mental disorders; what are some of the mental disorders conceived in this branch of study?

Psychopathology is an academic discipline that examines different forms of mental illnesses, which are anxiety disorders, mood disorders, psychotic disorders, and eating disorders. An anxiety disorder is characterized by an excessive amount of fear or anxiety, mood disorders involve disruptions in mood, schizophrenia can be defined as a psychotic disorder involving irregularities in thinking and perceiving, and eating disorders are characterized by abnormal eating habits and an obsessive focus on body weight. Knowledge offered by these disorders assist in the creation if treatment options as well as interventions.

5. How do these approaches differ on the treatment of psychological disorders?

There are various types of treatment, which are provided in the case of psychological disorders such as psychodynamic therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, humanistic therapy, biological approaches, and combined methods. The main subtypes of psychotherapy are psychodynamic therapy, in which the therapist tries to study the unconscious conflicts; cognitive-behavioral therapies, which includes changing the negative thought patterns and avoiding constructive behaviors; humanistic therapy, oriented to the individual’s potential and offering an understanding of their potential; biological treatments, using medications; and integrative psychotherapies, using a combination of different types of therapy.

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