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How we deliver SMSC in Psychology


Social education in Psychology involves students being encouraged to consider the values, attitudes and roles of people that occur in different societies and cultures. They will learn to respect and understand different human behaviours that occur in these cultures and societies. Throughout Psychology students are led to work in different groupings, encouraging students to accept one another and learn to work alongside each another as a team.

Moral education in Psychology involves students discussing values, attitudes and beliefs relating to a range of ethical, social and controversial issues. This includes areas of study on culture bias, ethical costs of conducting research, non-human animals, scientific status and sexism. Moral education spans across all areas of study in psychology with ethical issues being discussed and applied to a range of theories, studies, contemporary debates and applications for the various topics studied. In addition to this, students investigate crime and punishment in depth within the Forensic Psychology unit.  

Spiritual education in Psychology involves students having the opportunity to consider and discuss questions relating to all aspects of their development such as their personality, gender, behaviour, thoughts and beliefs. Students are encouraged to apply their own beliefs to a range of ethical and psychological issues, debates and controversies, and to hear other students' opinions to develop a range of balanced view points. Lessons are developed to allow opportunities for students to be creative and resilient and allow for development and reflection of their progress, supported by teacher feedback.

Cultural education in Psychology involves students studying human behaviour in different cultures. Students will develop their understanding of and respect for the different influences people have and the effect it may have on their behaviour. They will also discuss how research carried out in traditional western societies may not be applicable to other cultures. Students will explore topics such as masculine and feminine behaviour and how that may be different in different cultures, looking in detail at culture bias and gender bias; studying different types of culture and cultural differences, ethnocentrism, androcentric, beta bias and alpha bias.


Examples of Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Education in Psychology include:

  • The nature nurture debate. This discusses whether your personality is inherited or whether people around you can shape the way you believe and think about certain aspects of life.
  • Investigating the effectiveness of custodial and non-custodial sentencing and looking at alternative approaches to reformation
  • Looking at different approaches to human behaviour and the effectiveness of a range of therapies in treating a range of social, behavioural and mental health issues
  • Looking at the impact psychological research has had on our understanding of human behaviour and investigating the bias within research and our assumptions of human behavior
  • Considering a range of ethical issues including ethical issues when using human participants, ethical issues when using non-human animals, dealing with ethical issues, ethical issues arising for the application of psychology to real world applications
  • Covering a range of social and contemporary debates including
    • Culture Bias (cross cultural studies, difference or bias, ethnocentrism, historical and social context),
    • Ethical costs of conducting research (benefits to society, individual participants, potentially negative consequences for society, use of ethical guidelines),
    • Non-human animals (BPS Guidelines for Psychologists Working with Animals, comparative / ethological psychology, use as a therapeutic device, speciesism)
    • Sexism (gender difference or gender bias, heterosexism, historical and social context, the 'invisibility' of women in psychology)
  • In Psychology, students consider people of all faiths, races and cultures and their varying beliefs and practices. This is especially considered when looking at cultural and gender differences. They are taught that differences occur but to view these with respect and tolerance.
  • Students investigate a range of behaviours and reasons for behavior, when investigating forensic psychology and mental health issues. Although students are taught there are multiple reasons for certain behaviors, all people are subject to British law. Students cover understanding of relevant fundamental British law within Forensic psychology.