Psychology Personal statement

My curiosity about human behaviour began within my own family when I first started to notice ‘strange’ behaviour exhibited by both my aunt and grandfather; from ignoring the whole world, to having imaginary voices telling them they were ‘at war’ with the family and being diagnosed as schizophrenics. Like many, heartbreakingly, they were stigmatised and neglected by their own relatives due to their condition and I think this, to a certain extent, reflects the way in which society treats people with mental health illnesses- as outcasts. To understand more about their behaviour, I decided to begin my study by taking Psychology at A-level.
At the end of Year 12, I took part in a group research project in which we investigated the effect of the personality on stress as a cause of illness, allowing me to practice the processes involved in conducting research. We looked at the participants' personality types based on Friedman and Rosenman's Type A and B personality test and used our own questionnaires to measure the rate of illness and to rule out any extraneous variables which could affect our research like any ongoing medical conditions in the participants. In my report, which was on our psychological investigation, I analysed the results producing both descriptive and inferential statistics and along with my group, I presented our findings to the class. This experience developed my report writing abilities and honed my skills in effective teamwork as well as the ability to make real-world applications from what we learn in the classroom, which are essential skills for undergraduate level psychology.
To further enrich my knowledge of biopsychology, I completed an online course called ‘Good Brain, Bad brain: basics’ taught by Allison Copper, a Senior Professor from the University of Birmingham. Over the three-weeks of the course, I learnt in molecular detail what I had previously only superficial knowledge of such as synaptic transmission and the role of calcium ions in releasing neurotransmitters into the synaptic cleft. I also developed an understanding of the role of agonist and antagonist drugs, and what type of response is elicited in the brain as a result of using them. Talking to other students on the course, it was interesting to discuss brain plasticity because I believe this ground-breaking psychological piece of research is a strong argument challenging the stereotype that mental illnesses are fixed.
In ‘The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat’ by Dr Sacks, I found an interesting passage where he described his experience of observing an elderly lady having a ‘Tourettic fit’ on a New York street. This 2 minute event he says, had taught him a lot more than hundreds of hours researching Tourette patients in his own clinic. As a result of this, he concluded that impulsive disorders (such as Tourette’s) are best observed in complexly interactional public environments where the person can comfortably reveal the true extent of their condition. This observation then lead me to think that taking into consideration the nature of the disorder is a matter of utmost importance when deciding whether to take an idiographic or nomothetic approach to the experimental design being used in the research.
I currently help people who struggle with language barriers by being a Spanish interpreter in different fields. Observing people from different age and cultural groups gave me first-hand experience considering the effects of stress due to the inability to communicate. This has, in addition to improving my communication skills, taught me how to deal with people from different social groups. I believe these interpersonal skills are valuable in the world of psychological research, in order to build rapport with participants in certain contexts. It has also taught me tolerance for others and the ability to remain poised during stressful situations.
To culminate, in regards to my future career plans I would like to remain in further education and do a Phd in psychology- a step forward in my desired career as a researcher.

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Author's Comments

4 out of 4 offers from:
University of Nottingham
University of Birmingham
Durham University
University College London (UCL)

It's far from the best, but it did the job for me at least.

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