Does knowing about Psychology improve Citizenship?

Knowing about Psychology might help students remain in control of their behaviour.

Psychology has told us that we can be influenced to recall things that were not there when a leading question is used, that we are less likely to help others the more people are present and that in groups we are more likely to behave anti-socially if we lose our sense of individual identity. These and many other discoveries in Psychology reveal the more disappointing side of human behaviour.

I often discuss with my students whether they think they are less likely to obey an unreasonable order from an authority figure or conform to the majority, having studied social influence as part of their AS Psychology. My students usually agree that they feel they could be more independent and self aware as a result of their learning.

Devising a program of study for younger students or their non-psychologist peers, focusing on sharing some of this knowledge and encouraging free will, could be an interesting extra-curricular project for gifted and talented A Level Psychology students.

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