i have been giving private lessons for the past 2.5 years to A-level and GCSE students of Psychology, Biology, and Chemistry. All of my students have obtained improved results compared to their baseline grade.
I set specific learning goals before each lesson and always ensure that they have been met at the end of the session.
My teaching approach is specifically tailored to the students' individual learning style, with the main goal that the student takes out the outmost possible benefits from each lesson.
I have long been fascinated by the diverse nature of human behaviour and their neural correlates. This interest has led me to pursue a BSc (Hons) in Psychology (Clinical Psychology) degree course. My dedication to Neuroscience and Psychology as a discipline is reflected by my grades, module choices and extracurricular activities. I completed my first and second year of undergraduate studies with an overall first-class grade, and was awarded a high 2:1 degree in July 2019. Whilst completing my degree, I have worked as a voluntary Research Assistant for Dr Lynne Dawkins, on a genotyping study concerned with nicotine dependence. This work has both enhanced my research methods skills and given me practical experience in conducting research with a real-world application.
I have been introduced to theoretical concepts and research grounded in key psychological approaches including Developmental, Social, Cognitive, and Biological Psychology. However, Biological Psychology has always been by far the most interesting and engaging topic for me. I feel that experiences should be understood using both psychological theories, and through applying biological theories to various explanations of human behaviour.
Whilst studying in my first and second year, through attending lectures and reading scientific journals, I have considered competing theories in relation to the neurological mechanisms underlying psychosis, schizophrenia and mood disorders, and also explored the biological basis of extreme experiences such as physical pain, fear, and pleasure. Furthermore, I have studied theories of consciousness, through understanding the biological basis of visual and auditory processing, along with the brain processes involved in learning and memory. Consequently, I have learnt how to reach a well-reasoned conclusion, using up-to-date scientific evidence, whilst also keeping an open mind and considering alternative explanations.
As part of my third-year studies, I have completed the modules of ‘Neuropsychology’, ‘Psychopharmacology’, ‘Mental Health and Distress’ and ‘Brain Art and Awareness’. I selected these modules owing to my particular interest in Biological Psychology. Thus far, I have studied the principles of psychopharmacology and learnt about the mechanisms of action of commonly used psychopharmacological agents. As a result of this module, I have developed my ability to critically evaluate psychopharmacological research literature, and raise relevant scientific questions. Similarly, through the Neuropsychology module, my understanding of the molecular to behavioural effects of brain damage has been expanded, whilst also considering the limitations of studying insult to the brain.
Since the beginning of my second year, up until the completion of my course, I have been volunteering for Dr Lynne Dawkins, on a project investigating the association between a genetic variation at lrs(concealed information), a nicotinic acetylcholine receptor within the CHRNA5 gene cluster, and its’ potential role in nicotine dependence. Through this experience, I have learnt that rigorous data collection (Research Methods) is central to any scientific study. My duties on this project included participant testing and saliva sample collection, as well as data entry and data cleansing through the statistical software package SPSS. My role as a research assistant, and consistent use of SPSS throughout my degree, mean that I feel confident about handling numerical data and carrying out statistical analyses.
Learning about aspects of social neuroscience and focusing on the subsystems of the brain that are responsible for detecting and responding to socially meaningful stimuli, inspired me to conduct my dissertation. I designed a study to investigate physiological arousal (measured using electrocardiogram – ECG) and mood fluctuation in response to social rejection (high likes/few likes) on the social networking website Facebook. I have also investigated whether those individuals with low self-esteem and greater narcissistic traits are more, or less likely to be affected by rejection on online social platforms. The findings of this study were statistically significant.
Outside of my academic life, I am a voracious book reader. I very much enjoy reading books and articles related to my academic interest. I am also a naturally curious person, and I am driven to learn more about medical research in psychiatry and neuroscience. Thus, I have been following the recent psychedelic breakthrough in medicine, by attending numerous lectures held by Prof David Nutt and others, who are conducting psychedelic-assisted therapy research as a potential treatment option for certain psychiatric conditions.
“Any man could, if he were so inclined, be the sculptor of his own brain.”
― Santiago Ramón y Cajal
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