On Wednesday 31st January, six Upper Sixth Psychology students went to Bristol Zoo to carry out an observational study to explore animal behaviour in different species such as gorillas, penguins and meerkats. The students carried out a 30-minute experiment, where they had to observe the behaviour of an individual species every 30 seconds. Using an ethnograph, the students had to draw a graph to represent their findings. They were told to present their conclusion and findings to their peers and the staff working at the educational centre at the Zoo. This was followed by a set of questions to test them on the issues that could have occurred when carrying out an observational study. The students were then given a talk about a polar bear called Misha who had serious psychological conditions such as pacing backwards and forwards due to having a poor upbringing as a circus bear and then was caged up in a van for nine months. The zoologists found it very difficult to rehabilitate Misha but did decrease the amount of pacing he did through enrichment activities. The A Level Psychology students found this trip useful as they were able to conduct their own observational study and this opportunity has helped the students to develop their understanding on animal behaviour further.
Upper Sixth Student