Consciousness and mental health are two of many psychological constructs that can be explored by studying the relationship between the mind, brain and behaviour. In this unit students examine the nature of consciousness and how changes in levels of consciousness can affect mental processes and behaviour. They consider the role of sleep and the impact that sleep disturbances may have on a person's functioning. Students explore the concept of a mental health continuum and apply a biopsychosocial approach, as a scientific model, to analyse mental health and disorder. They use specific phobia to illustrate how the development and management of a mental disorder can be considered as an interaction between biological, psychological and social factors. Students examine the contribution that classical and contemporary research has made to the understanding of consciousness, including sleep, and the development of an individual's mental functioning and wellbeing.

This unit is delivered in Year 12.

Unit details

Study level:
Vocational and further education (TAFE)
Unit code:


PY033 - Psychology 3


Assessment tasks will be designed to reinforce and extend knowledge in accordance with each unit's learning outcomes, including the setting of practical application tasks designed to provide evidence of competence outcomes, within periodic and scheduled timelines. Students will be expected to demonstrate the following knowledge: Outcome 1 On completion of this unit the student should be able to explain consciousness as a continuum, compare theories about the purpose and nature of sleep, and elaborate on the effects of sleep disruption on a person's functioning. Outcome 2 On completion of this unit the student should be able to explain the concepts of mental health and mental illness including influences of risk and protective factors, apply a biopsychosocial approach to explain the development and management of specific phobia, and explain the psychological basis of strategies that contribute to mental wellbeing. Outcome 3 On completion of this unit the student should be able to design and undertake a practical investigation related to mental processes and psychological functioning, and present methodologies, findings and conclusions in a scientific poster.Assessment will follow the requirements set out in the VCE Psychology Study Guide: SCHOOL-BASED ASSESSMENT 1. Satisfactory completion The award of satisfactory completion for a unit is based on whether the student has demonstrated the set of outcomes specified for the unit. A variety of assessment tasks will provide a range of opportunities for students to demonstrate the key knowledge and key skills in the outcomes. 2. Assessment of levels of achievement The student's level of achievement in Unit 4 will be determined by School-assessed Coursework (SAC). SAC will be completed mainly in class and within a limited time-frame. SAC for Unit 3 will contribute 16 per cent to the study score (PY033 Psychology 3). SAC for Unit 4 will contribute 24 per cent to the study score. Practical work is a central component of learning and assessment. As a guide, between 2 and 4 hours of class time should be devoted to student practical work and investigations for each of Areas of Study 1 and 2. For Unit 3, between 7 and 10 hours of class time should be devoted to the investigation to be undertaken in either Unit 3 or Unit 4, or across both Units 3 and 4, including the writing of the sections of the scientific poster. EXTERNAL ASSESSMENT The level of achievement for Units 3 and 4 is also assessed by an end-of-year examination, which will contribute 60 per cent to the study score.

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