Paper 1: Introductory topics in Psychology

Filter: Make sure you know what is included and you have all the information you need.

There are 4 sections in this paper which will include the following;
  • Social Influence (Social Psychology)
  • Memory (Cognitive Psychology)
  • Attachment (Developmental Psychology)
  • Psychopathology (Abnormal Psychology)
The paper will be 2 hours long and will account for 33% of your final Psychology grade.

Social Psychology: What the specification says.......
  • Types of conformity: internalisation, identification and compliance. Explanations for conformity: informational social influence and normative social influence, and variables affecting conformity including group size, unanimity, task difficulty as investigated by Asch.
  • Conformity to social roles as investigated by Zimbardo.
  • Explanations for obedience: agentic state and legitimacy of authority, and situational variables affecting obedience including proximity, location and uniform, as investigated by Milgram. Dispositional explanation for obedience: the Authoritarian Personality.
  • Explanations of resistance to social influence, including social support and locus of control.
  • Minority influence including reference to consistency, commitment and flexibility.
  • The role of social influence processes in social change.
Memory: What the specification says......
  • The multi-store model of memory: sensory register, short-term memory and long-term memory. Features of each store: coding, capacity and duration.
  • Types of long-term memory: episodic, semantic, procedural.
  • The working memory model: central executive, phonological loop, visuo-spatial sketchpad and episodic buffer. Features of the model: coding and capacity.
  • Explanations for forgetting: proactive and retroactive interference and retrieval failure due to absence of cues.
  • Factors affecting the accuracy of eyewitness testimony: misleading information, including leading questions and post-event discussion; anxiety.
  • Improving the accuracy of eyewitness testimony, including the use of the cognitive interview
Attachment: What the specification says.....
  • Caregiver-infant interactions in humans: reciprocity and interactional synchrony. Stages of attachment identified by Schaffer. Multiple attachments and the role of the father.
  • Animal studies of attachment: Lorenz and Harlow.
  • Explanations of attachment: learning theory and Bowlby’s monotropic theory. The concepts of a critical period and an internal working model.
  • Ainsworth’s ‘Strange Situation’. Types of attachment: secure, insecure-avoidant and insecure-resistant. Cultural variations in attachment, including van Ijzendoorn.
  • Bowlby’s theory of maternal deprivation. Romanian orphan studies: effects of institutionalisation.
  • The influence of early attachment on childhood and adult relationships, including the role of an internal working model.
Psychopathology: What the specification says......
  • Definitions of abnormality, including deviation from social norms, failure to function adequately, statistical infrequency and deviation from ideal mental health.
  • The behavioural, emotional and cognitive characteristics of phobias, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
  • The behavioural approach to explaining and treating phobias: the two-process model, including classical and operant conditioning; systematic desensitisation, including relaxation and use of hierarchy; flooding.
  • The cognitive approach to explaining and treating depression: Beck’s negative triad and Ellis’s ABC model; cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), including challenging irrational thoughts.
  • The biological approach to explaining and treating OCD: genetic and neural explanations; drug therapy

Learn: Check your understanding and identify areas to revise and re-work.

Some ideas for helping you learn the content and knowledge you need;
  • Revision posters (eg: strengths and weaknesses of Cognitive Therapy or Flooding)
  • Mind-maps for each of the sections within paper 1 (eg: Cross cultural variations in attachment)
  • Cue-cards (useful for key terms, named researchers, dates, studies and definitions)
  • Quizzes and podcasts (there are plenty of these online including quizlet )
  • Try something different (explain content to your friends/parents, try changing where you revise and the method you use)

Test: Put yourself in exam conditions... how well would you do!?

This is the most important element of your revision.

You should be checking your ability to retrieve and apply your knowledge under exam conditions. This could involve checking your definitions and key terms, completing short answer questions (SAQ's) or attempting past exam papers without notes. ​You should be using approximately 30-40% of your revision time to test, check and re-test yourself; this is the best way to get ready for your exams!

Below are past exam papers which you may want to attempt.

There are more resources, including past papers and mark scheme available on the AQA website or here.