The IB Diploma Programme psychology course is the systematic study of behaviour and mental processes.
Since the psychology course examines the interaction of biological, cognitive and sociocultural influences on human behaviour, it is well placed in group 3, individuals and societies. Students undertaking the course can expect to develop an understanding of how psychological knowledge is generated, developed and applied. This will allow them to have a greater understanding of themselves and appreciate the diversity of human behaviour.
The holistic approach reflected in the curriculum, which sees biological, cognitive and sociocultural analysis being taught in an integrated way ensures that students are able to develop an understanding of what all humans share, as well as the immense diversity of influences on human behaviour and mental processes. The ethical concerns raised by the methodology and application of psychological research are also key considerations of the IB psychology course.
Psychology syllabus outline
The Diploma Programme psychology course is designed to allow for in-depth analysis, evaluation and consolidation of learning. The overall aim of the course is to give students a deeper understanding of the nature and scope of psychology. Teachers are encouraged to find ways of delivering the course that are most relevant to their students’ interests and to the school’s resources. This course should be taught in an integrated way, as the different parts of the syllabus complement each other. This will allow students to make comparisons and evaluate different psychological theories and arguments.
Part one: Core
SL and HL
Part Two: Options
SL and HL
Part Three: Qualitative research methodology
Part Four: Simple experimental study
SL and HL
Total teaching hours
Key features of the curriculum and assessment models
- The course is available at higher level (HL) and standard level (SL).
- The minimum prescribed number of hours is 240 for HL and 150 for SL.
- Students are assessed both internally and externally.
- External assessment for SL students consists of two written papers. For HL students there are three written papers.
- Internal assessment for SL and HL students is to write a report of a simple experimental study conducted by the student. This is internally marked by subject teachers and then externally moderated by IB examiners.
Learn more about psychology in a DP workshop for teachers.
1 IB Psych: Relationship Essay Plans
Using one or more research studies, explain cross
cultural differences in prosocial behaviour.
Pro-social behaviour: every behavior benefitting others/society (eg. caring, loving, preventingaggression, refraining from driving after drinking). Unlike altruism, might be for selfishpurposes.Different cultures = different values. Example of difference: Individualistic societies oriented tothe individual whereas collectivistic societies give higher priority to the welfare of collective.
The ‘Diversity thesis’ states that different
cultures have different morals. Notable that thereare cultural differences in beliefs/behaviours/accepted norms; reflected for example bydifferent laws: Europe vs. America capital punishment.Thorough research in search for cross-cultural differences in pro-social behaviour= logic;Psychologists have studied cross cultural differences in all behaviour.I will use Levine et a
l.’s cross cultural study to explain cross
-cultural differences in pro-socialbehaviours.
Levine et. al (1990)A: Studied one of the many pro-social behaviours: helping behaviourP: 35 American cities & 23 large world cities field experiments by staging simple non-emergency situations (dropping a pen, a blind person cross the street, giving someone change,
F: People more helpful in small & medium sized cities, least helpful, in large cities.C: Population density best predictor for helping behaviour. Why?Overstimulation=> need for help unnoticeable/indistinguishable fake vs. genuine needed help?Larger=
deindividuation factors ≈
pluralistic ignorance or diffusion of responsibility.Cost?(smaller cities have less anonymity making it shameful not to help someone) => guilt.More sense of community.No clear relation between individualistic vs. collectivistic societies. =>Although it was expectedindividualist cultures less helpful, (and many were) some Collectivist societies less helpfultowards outsiders than individualists.