Exploring Psychology Beyond the Syllabus

Felsted's Year 13 Psychology students created presentations within the department this week. They were tasked to explore Psychology beyond the syllabus to expand their knowledge and broaden their reading. Specifically, students searched for how psychological theory related to their own areas of interest, university applications and aspirations beyond Felsted.

The presentations were very well researched and presented, providing an enriching experience for us all. Topics included the psychology of film production, the psychology of law and the psychology of the hospitality industry. Students evaluated each others presentations using a scoring system where points were awarded for subject knowledge, enthusiasm, presentation style and evidence of high quality preparation. 

Freddie Logan started his presentation by explaining how psychology is used in the film industry. He explained how colour schemes in films are used to manipulate how the viewer feels when watching the film. For example, red is used to represent feelings of violence, passion or fear, whereas orange is used to trigger feelings of warmth, youthfulness and to reminisce. 

By focusing on the production of horror films, Freddie connected the psychodynamic theory of unconscious drives with the desire to watch horror films. He explained that the artificial generation of fear provides an adrenaline-spike that reflected instinctive drives without the personal threat to our survival. 

In her interesting presentation, Annabel Hills explained how the two separate disciplines of Law and Psychology were intrinsically related; both fields make assumptions about what causes people to act the way they do. The complexity of human behaviour was reflected in the need to consider intrapersonal, interpersonal, intragroup and intergroup processes when searching for causes and solutions for criminal behaviour. 

She examined how psychological research has been heavily used to improve the legal system, and how psychological principles have been applied in areas such as eyewitness memory, jury decision-making, investigations and interviewing. This connected well with Oscar Mohan’s presentation that showed how the law can provide consequences for human behaviour but is not always effective for behaviour modification. 

In his review of Dr Bruce Alexander’s‘’Rat Park’ studies, Oscar demonstrated the importance of the social environment for the behaviour that is generated. Perhaps this is a reminder to us all of the importance of the social situation for our own behaviour and that of those around us.