Psychology Personal Statement

The balloon the child is holding is pricked with a pin; shocked, the baby screams; the mother runs and picks her up.

This, put simply, is how attachments are formed; through the simple business of being responsive and providing comfort, repeated over and over. No food is exchanged. In observing this simple phenomena, we become psychologists.

Starting with a thesis, observing events, analysing data; in an amateurish way we are all psychologists, but to be a scientific Psychologist we must have a rational framework.

I became interested in psychology when reading ‘The Wisdom of Psychopaths’; Professor Dutton explains how in our modern society psychopathic traits such as charisma and low empathy can actually be beneficial. This is because these traits are perfect for medical, law and military careers.

Therefore being branded as a ‘psychopath’ may not actually be a bad thing; even for the researcher who pops children’s balloons.

What motivates a criminal mind and how some people are genetically predisposed to being a psychopath but never commit a murder is fascinating.

Professor Fallon’s Ted Talk entitled ‘Exploring the mind of a killer’ discusses how psychopaths have parts of their orbital lobe missing. If a variant of the MAO-A gene is paired with a traumatic event, we have a recipe for a psychopath.

This area of psychology and the interplay between genetic and environmental influences is so ardent that I want to pursue a career in forensic psychology so I can contribute new research to an ever-developing field. To do this I need to complete a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Psychology. I feel this course will help me achieve my goal.

An interesting study by Baidwi et al about psychological distress among older prisoners was published in 'The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology'.

They found situational factors such as difficulties in the built environment could explain the variations in distress among older prisoners.

This may explain why there have been an increase in the number of prison suicides in the past year and highlights the reforms that need to be made. I hope to improve the lives of prisoners using similar research as a Forensic Psychologist.

I read this journal and 'Psychologies' magazine and I am a member of the 'British Psychological Society's Student Group so I can keep updated in research like this study in forensic psychology.

The 'Mind Maps' exhibition in the Science Museum, London was about the scientific origins of psychology and I viewed a range of exhibits from a full body nerve dissection from the 1650s to a 90 year old EEG.

This exhibit showed that the idea of psychology has existed for many years and has evolved from biological disciplines examining humans’ physiological features.

I also chose to take part in a project combining my history and psychology knowledge to research PTSD which I then presented to the Headmaster.

My knowledge of spoken language learnt in English was needed to analyse and interpret artefacts for my research. Doing this I found out more about the positive effect psychological research has on society and how it can help individuals such as soldiers from the First World War and even witnesses deal with the effects of trauma.

I volunteer weekly at Prospect Hospice serving patient meals and shadowing the nurses. This allows me to understand the use of psychological therapies like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to care for those under mental stress, a concept which can be applied to the mental distress of prisoners.

I also had work experience at Watchfield Primary School to learn more about the role of a psychologist in schools and in particular see how Psychology can be used to educate children about the law.

I look forward to the prospect of studying such a stimulating course and learning more about how we can improve current techniques like cognitive interviews within the criminal justice system to aid eyewitness testimonies and make more accurate convictions.

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Author's Comments

I am very proud of my statement and it managed to get me offers from Cardiff University, Portsmouth University, Reading University and Brunel University London. Some universities put more emphasis on statements than grades so it is important you check with the uni what they base their offer on first but I think it is important to capture their attention and intrigue them which is what I tried to do in my first paragraph. As you can tell I did a lot of volunteer work and extracurricular activities relating to psychology which I think is important to make you stand out and prove you deserve a place especially on a competitive course like psychology.

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