What is psychology?

Psychology is the study of abnormal behaviour, how brain and nervous systems affect and control our behaviour, how we sense and perceive the world, what motivates us, what happens when we sleep, how a child’s mind grows and changes and a whole lot more.

4 goals of psychology

The first step is to describe what happened, sometimes trying to describe or name and classify behaviours by making observations. The next step is to explain why behaviour occurred. Discovering and understanding the mental process or behaviour

8 major specialties in the field of psychology

Clinical: An integration of science theory and clinical knowledge for the purpose of understanding, preventing, and relieving psychologically-based distress or dysfunction and to promote subjective well-being and personal development.

Counselling: Overlaps with clinical psychology but generally works with adjustment problems that are less severe, including marital, behavioural, or academic.

Biopsychology neuroscience: Investigates the relationship between biology, behaviour, and mental processes, including how physical and chemical processes affect the structure and function of the brain and nervous system.

Cognitive psychology: Examines “higher” mental processes, including thought, memory, intelligence, creativity, and language.

Developmental psychology: Studies the course of human growth and development from conception until death.

Educational and school psychology: Studies the process of education and works to promote the intellectual, social, and emotional development of children in the school environment.

Gender and/or cultural psychology: Investigates how men and women and different cultures differ from one another and how they are similar.

Social psychology: Investigates the role of social forces and interpersonal behaviour, including aggression, prejudice, love, helping, conformity, and attitudes.

What is the scientific method?

It is conducting an investigation and then putting together findings till you come to a conclusion. Step 1: Reviewing the literature and informal questions. Step 2: Developing a testable hypothesis (must be operationally defined). Step 3: Design the study and collect the data. Step 4: Analyze the data and accept or reject the hypothesis. Step 5: Publish, replicate, and seek scientific review. Step 6: Build a theory.

Four major methods of psychological research

Experimental Research, Descriptive Research, Correlational Research, and Biological research.

Key research and ethical issues

Experimental bias, Ethnocentrism, Sample bias, Random/representative sampling, Random assignment, and Participant bias.

Historical roots of the field of psychology

Before psychology was a separate scientific discipline, the study of why people act as they do and how one person is different from another fell within the realm of philosophy. It was not until the first psychological laboratory was founded in 1879 that psychology as a science officially began.

Six major schools of psychology in the past

1. Experimental psychology: Wilhelm Wundt.
2. Structuralism: Edward Titchener.
3. Functionalism: William James, and John Dewey.
4. Psychoanalytic/psychodynamic: Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, and Karen Horney.
5. Behaviourism: Ivan Pavlov, Edward Thorndike, John B. Watson, and B. F. Skinner.
6. Gestalt psychology: Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Kohler, and Kurt Koffka.

Major perspectives in modern psychology

1. Psychoanalytic/psychodynamic: Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, and Karen Horney.
2. Behaviourism: Ivan Pavlov, Edward Thorndike, John B. Watson, and B. F. Skinner.
3. Humanistic: Carl Rogers, and Abraham Maslow.
4. Cognitive: Jean Piaget, Albert Ellis, Albert Bandura, Robert Sternburg, and Howard Gardner.
5. Neuroscience/biopsychology: Johannes Muller, Karl Lashley, David Hubel, James Olds, Roger Sperry, and Candace Pert.
6. Evolutionary: Charles Darwin, Konrad Lorenz, E. O. Wilson, and David Buss.
7. Sociocultural: John Berry, Patricia Greenfield, and Richard Brislin.



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