Drouin Secondary College - Course Selection

11 VCE Psychology (11SPS1)

The Course

Unit 1: How are behaviour and mental processes shaped?
In this unit students investigate the structure and functioning of the human brain and the role it plays in the overall functioning of the human nervous system. Students explore brain plasticity and the influence that brain damage may have on a person’s psychological functioning. They consider the complex nature of psychological development, including situations where psychological development may not occur as expected. Students examine the contribution that classical and contemporary studies have made to an understanding of the human brain and its functions, and to the development of different psychological models and theories used to predict and explain the development of thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

Unit 2: How do external factors influence behaviour and mental processes?
In this unit students investigate how perception of stimuli enables a person to interact with the world around them and how their perception of stimuli can be distorted. They evaluate the role social cognition plays in a person’s attitudes, perception of themselves and relationships with others. Students explore a variety of factors and contexts that can influence the behaviour of an individual and groups. They examine the contribution that classical and contemporary research has made to the understanding of human perception and why individuals and groups behave in specific ways.


Below is a picture of the Year 11 Psychology students doing a brain dissection to examine the parts of the nervous system.

Unit 1 Topics

How does the brain function? 
What influences psychological development? 
Student-directed research investigation 
Scientific method 


Below is a picture of the 11 Psychology students during an experiment to see if they were supertasters or not.

Unit 2 Topics

What influences a person’s perception of the world? 
How are people influenced to behave in particular ways? 
Student-directed practical investigation 
Scientific method

Learning and Assessment Activities

Outcome 3 for both units involves a student-directed research investigation.
Outcomes 1 & 2 for both units MAY be selected from the following: 
- a test comprising multiple choice and/or short answer and/or extended response
- a report of a practical activity involving the collection of primary data
- a research investigation involving the collection of secondary data
- a brain structure modelling activity
- a logbook of practical activities
- analysis of data/results including generalisations/conclusions
- media analysis/response
- problem solving involving psychological concepts, skills and/or issues
- a reflective learning journal/blog related to selected activities or in response to an issue

These units lead to

VCE Psychology provides for continuing study pathways within the discipline and leads to a range of careers. Opportunities may involve working with children, adults, families and communities in a variety of settings such as academic and research institutions, management and human resources, and government, corporate and private enterprises. Fields of applied psychology include educational, environmental, forensic, health, sport and organisational psychology. Specialist fields of psychology include counselling and clinical contexts, as well as neuropsychology, social psychology and developmental psychology. Psychologists also work in cross-disciplinary areas such as medical research or as part of on-going or emergency support services in educational, institutional and industrial settings.

Special considerations

There are no prerequisites for entry to Units 1, 2 and 3. Students must undertake Unit 3 prior to undertaking Unit 4. It is highly recommended that students complete units 1 and 2 before undertaking Unit 3 & 4. 

Costs involved

Edrolo online required software $30 per year (for two units)

Excursion costs approximately $20.00

Materials required

Textbook as per booklist, exercise book, USB and netbook.

For further information see...

See Mrs Rieschieck or Ms Davies. 

Study design link

VCAA Study Design: