Thursday, April 28, 2011

What is Psychology?

Psychology can be summed up as “the science of the mind”. It encompasses several subfields:

Biological psychology- the application of the principles of biology to the study of mental processes and behavior. It involves subjects such as nerves, neurotransmitters, brain circuitry, and the basic biological processes that underlie normal and abnormal behavior.

Clinical psychology- the study and application of psychology for the purpose of understanding, preventing, and relieving distress or dysfunction; and to promote mental well-being.

Cognitive psychology
- the study of cognition, the mental processes underlying mental activity. This includes perception, learning, problem solving, reasoning, thinking, memory, attention, language, and emotion.

Comparative psychology- the study of the behavior and mental life of animals other than human beings.

Developmental psychology- the study of the way the human mind develops through their lifespan. This field examines change across a broad range of topics including but not limited to problem solving, morals, language acquisition, personality, emotions, and identity formation.

Educational psychology- the study of how humans learn and the psychology of teaching.

Industrial and organizational psychology- applies psychological concepts and methods to optimize human potential in the workplace. This involves worker evaluation and selection, worker motivation, and creating a positive environment for workers.

Personality psychology- the study of patterns of behavior, thought, and emotion in individuals.

Social psychology- the study of how humans think about each other and how they relate to each other. Social psychologists study such topics as the influence of others on an individual’s behavior (e.g. conformity), and the formation of beliefs, attitudes, and stereotypes about other people.

Ultimately, the goal of psychology is to improve society through the understanding of behavior and mental processes.

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