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VCE Psychology


Psychology is the study of the nature and development of mind and behaviour in both humans and animals, including the biological structures and processes that underpin and sustain both. Students can develop an understanding of themselves and their relationships with others and their society through the study of psychology.

Prior Learning

No prerequisites for Units 1, 2 and 3; but students must undertake Unit 3 prior to Unit 4.

Students studying Units 3 and 4 Psychology are strongly recommended to study Units 1/2 General Mathematics for the statistics background knowledge.


Units 1 and 2:  A combination of practical reports, topic tests, field reports, examination, assignments, multimedia, or response to media article.

Units 3 and 4:  

Unit 3 School assessed coursework (20%)

Unit 4 School assessed coursework (30%)

End-of-year Examination (50%)

UNIT 1: How are behaviour and mental processes shaped? 

UNIT 2: How external factors influence behaviour and mental processes. 

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 how the brain recovers from injury and the influence that brain damage may have on a person’s psychological functioning.  Students will also investigate the varying influences of nature and nurture on a person’s psychological development.  

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 e.g. visual illusions.  Students also explore influence of factors such as status and power, bullying and media on behaviour.  


UNIT 3: How does experience affect behaviour and mental processes? 

UNIT 4: How is wellbeing developed and maintained? 

In this unit students examine the functioning of the nervous system how it enables a person to interact with the world around them. They explore how stress may affect a person’s psychological functioning and consider the causes and management of stress. Students investigate how mechanisms of memory and learning lead to the acquisition of knowledge, new skills and changed behaviours.  

In this unit students examine the nature of consciousness and how changes in levels of consciousness can affect mental processes and behaviour. They consider the role of sleep and the impact that sleep disturbances may have on a person’s functioning. Students explore the concept of mental health and apply a biopsychosocial approach, as a scientific model, to analyse mental health and disorder. Phobias will be a focus in this unit.  

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