Would you like to gain a better understanding of human behaviour? This is what Psychology is about and via biological, cognitive and sociocultural approaches, students will learn how to study and analyse human behavior and mental processes rigorously. Through knowledge about brain, nervous system, hormones, neurotransmitters, genetics and evolution, students will develop an understanding of biological explanations of human behavior. Through knowledge about cognitive schemas, memory models, emotions, thinking and decision-making, students will develop an understanding of cognitive explanations of human behavior. Finally yet importantly, through knowledge about culture, norms, group processes, stereotypes and social identity, students will develop an understanding of social – and cultural explanations of human behaviour.
The study of behaviour and mental processes requires a multidisciplinary approach and the use of a variety of research methods. Students will learn how to apply methods such as lab experiments, brain imaging technologies, field experiments, case studies, observations, interviews, correlational studies etc., in order to collect data that can help explain human behavior. Critical thinking skills are developed through the psychology course, via evaluation of the theories and studies in relation to validity, reliability and ethical consideration.
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Skills and toolkit (ATL)
Approaches to behaviour:
For more information: link to official IBO document
The internal assessment in psychology requires the students to plan, conduct and evaluate a simple experiment. This project allows the students to work practically with the subject. It counts for 20% of the final grade for HL students and 25 % of the final grade for SL students.
Students complete their Psychology IA in the first semester of the second year of diploma.
For the IA, students work in groups of 2-4 and design and conduct a simple experiment (one IV, one DV). After conducting the experiment, students must write their reports individually. The IA consists of 4 marked sections:
The maximum word count is 2200 words and must be strictly adhered to.
Other requirements for the IA are title page, table of contents, appendices, graphs, tables, and works cited page (references). All of these are not included in the final word count.
The teacher marks the IA and IBO examiners moderate the marking of a sample of IA’s selected by IBO.
TOK is invaluable for exploring some of the bigger questions relevant to the teaching, learning and practice of psychology. Questions that can be explored include the following; can models and theories be used to understand and predict human behaviour? Does a researcher’s choice of methodology affect the reliability or credibility of research? Is what we know about human behaviour limited by our ethical considerations? Are emotions universal? Are the methods of the natural sciences applicable in the social sciences? There are a variety of ways of gaining knowledge in psychology, including observation and experimentation, inductive and deductive reasoning, and the collection of evidence. Having followed a psychology course, students should be able to reflect critically on the various ways of knowing and on the methods used in the social sciences.
3 hours total 75% of the final mark
Paper 1 (2 hours) (50% of the final grade)
Paper 2 (1 hour) (25% of the final grade)
5 hours total 80% of the Final Mark
Paper 1 (2 hours) (40% of the final grade)
Paper 2 (2 hours) (20% of the final grade)
Paper 3 (1 hour) (20% of the final grade)
STANDARD LEVEL: 25 % of the final grade
HIGHER LEVEL: 20 % of the final grade
Worked exam examples
IA + marks and comments.