Psychology permeates every aspect of our lives – in fact, it is through the study of psychology that we gain understanding of how our experiences come to exist. In a very real sense, our brains create our entire universes, and it is in these that we live. As a consequence, studying Psychology means stepping back from what we take for granted, such as our senses, memory, and our sense of self, and trying to understand how such things come to exist.
Studying Psychology in the Sixth Form at Alleyn’s means exploring almost every aspect of human experience, from how individual neurons in our brains communicate, right through to how social influences can lead people to carry out atrocities such as the Holocaust. As such, studying Psychology involves asking some of the most interesting questions it is possible to ask:
- What is memory?
- How does our biology and our social world affect our behaviour?
- What makes people prejudiced or commit evil acts?
- What causes mental illness, and how can it be treated?
- How can people lead more rewarding lives?
- How do magicians pull off their tricks and why do people believe in weird things?
- What is love?
- How should children be cared for?
- What is the best way to learn?
- What is consciousness itself?
Yet these questions merely scratch the surface of this fascinating subject and and we help our students to understand that to study the subject well, they will need to be insatiably curious about themselves, other people, and the world around them. They won’t learn the answers to all of these questions in our lessons, but they will learn how the answers might be uncovered: by studying Psychology, students develop the intellectual rigour and scientific discipline to investigate the world for themselves.
At the heart of our approach is the desire to inspire curiosity and encourage intellectual rigour and independence. We aim to provide every opportunity for our students to develop these qualities, so not only do they often benefit from listening to leading academics who are invited to Alleyn’s to talk about their research, they also explore areas that have piqued their interest and give lectures of their own. Perhaps most excitingly, our students are regularly given the opportunity to be participants in ground-breaking research by academics at universities such as UCL and King’s College London.
"The purpose of psychology is to give us a completely different idea of the things we know best.”
Paul Valéry, poet and philosopher, 1871-1945