Psychology Personal Statement

In preparation for university I am currently studying an Arts and Humanities award. As a mature student this SWAP course has provided a comprehensive model for the transition, developing my skills in mathematics, academic writing and critical thinking.

The psychology class for example has examined various methods of research, which have captured my imagination.

Looking at the case study of Oxana Malaya; a feral child from Ukraine, was a striking and slightly unnerving insight into the cognitive mind.

Interestingly for me, she struggled to grasp the complexities of language, citing the importance of these early years of development.

Because of its unique circumstance of course, this study lacks the large body of research required to postulate; without supporting evidence, however I do think it lends some weight to the critical period hypothesis and theory of language acquisition.

For the majority of my twenties; before choosing to study, I have worked in finance and retail.

As an employee of my local supermarket I observed how the retail giants maximised sales through different forms of psychology i.e. sale racks at the entrance, eye level merchandise at the tills, staples of our diet; bread and milk, strategically shelved at the back of the store.

Bakery items; were cooked in store, to stimulate the senses and create a pleasant association with the franchise. Influenced by the work of classical conditioning these sales techniques are very effective, but slightly misuse psychology in my opinion.

For me the discipline seeks to understand behaviour and improve people's lives; which crystallised the idea of studying the subject, hopefully moving up to a PhD level in the discipline.

It also prompted me to volunteer for the YMCA. Working with troubled youth, the aim is to offer guidance and help them function within society. The befriender role relies on an open mind and it has been interesting to think about how their experiences differ from mine. From early childhood we are influenced by the people around us, mainly our parents.

There is simply no other choice! We are so primitive and undeveloped cognitively, we must rely on our parents for food, clothes and any other survival related commodity.

Understanding their unique background and this psychological principle, has helped me to fully empathise during this process. Furthermore, it has led me to thinking about nature vs nurture, how much of our chances are predetermined and how we develop from birth into intelligent; abstract thinkers?

The human mind and all its idiosyncrasies is capable of some incredible things. After millions of years of evolution we are gifted with a magnificent, yet a hugely complex organ, which has developed abilities for speech, language and creative thought.

At our intellectual best we can make impressive feats of calculation, invent new technologies, develop medicines and create theories about the world around us.

Of course, psychology also looks at the more problematic sides of human nature, such as anxiety and stress that can lead to psychological illnesses.

At its most destructive our psyche can become paranoid, delusional and even suicidal. Understanding how the brain works in all forms, good and bad is what fascinates me about psychology.

I have my own ideas on the subject, which I hope to enhance through university, while reaching my full academic and interpersonal potential.

I am proud to be the first member of my family to apply for university. Newbattle Abbey College, by its residential nature has been the ideal preparation.

Its ethos of life-time learning has taught me a lot about myself and others, confirming that the subjects I have chosen have a particular resonance in the modern world.

As these courses are compatible with both psychology and my interest areas, I would be happy to be selected for any one of them.

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This personal statement was written by Lucid_dreamer for application in 2014.

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