Psychology & Philosophy Personal Statement Example

I first began studying psychology at the GCSE level. Its analytical nature intrigued me, and the alternative explanations I learned about human behaviour encouraged me to practise more complex thinking. The first step to understanding the behaviour of others is to begin to understand the processes behind the choices we make in everyday life. I credit beginning to study psychology with allowing me to do this more thoroughly.

The first psychological study I ever conducted was about conformity with a group of students, comparing how they answered multiple choice questions privately versus in the presence of others. The answers were mostly consistent across both conditions, but there was evidence of conformity when the rest of the group was unanimous. It was fascinating to see how everyday behaviour can change when individuals believe they are under surveillance by others. I reflected on everyday situations where I have witnessed conformity, and applying these scenarios to lived experience is an element of psychology that I highly appreciate.

Psychology allows me to gain and use knowledge from several disciplines, such as philosophy and other A-Level subjects. Biology has helped me improve my investigative and experimental skills while studying Government & Politics teaches me to form constructive arguments.

Reading ‘Therapeutic Approaches in Psychology’ by Susan Cave gave me new insight into the different methods of therapy used to help patients and provided an imperative evaluation of such techniques. Cave’s explanations were highly straightforward but, more importantly, did not neglect the patient’s experiences or perspectives. While I believe that psychology is a strong force for good, it is crucial to acknowledge where it may impact individuals more negatively.

I am especially interested in addiction psychology and rehabilitation. A lecture titled ‘The Neuroscience of Addiction’ by neuroscientist and developmental psychologist Dr Marc Lewis introduced me to a new perspective. Arguing against the disease model, he presents addiction as a behavioural issue caused by brain development, even calling it a skill. The explanation of feedback cycles and positive reinforcement felt familiar to me as it had heavy links to the behavioural approach I learnt about during my A-Level studies. Being a hardworking and enthusiastic student, I am always willing to consider new ideas and adapt my thinking.

Developmental psychology is intriguing because it explains how we are shaped from an extremely young age. Over the past two years, I have volunteered as a playworker for Aston Mansfield. It has allowed me to think about the best way to facilitate child growth in a real-world setting and witness first-hand how children change constantly.

A psychology taster lecture by Dr Bianca Serwinski of the New College of the Humanities explained how companies use neuromarketing for advertising campaigns. Psychology is intertwined into our daily lives even if we do not truly recognise it. It was riveting to see how it can be used in many fields and reflect on the ethical debates about how moral it is to alter people's thought processes to help businesses.

Following my sixth-form studies, I will be taking a gap year to familiarise myself further with psychology before entering an undergraduate degree and continuing to gain more experience in childcare. I also hope to travel where possible and engage in community-based work.

Psychology and Philosophy
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Author's Comments

I've used this to apply for a Psychology & Philosophy degree at Reading and Durham and a pure Psychology degree at Lancaster, Royal Holloway, and Exeter.

Reading: Offer
Durham: Offer
Lancaster: Offer
Royal Holloway: Offer
Exeter: Pending


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