Introduction to Psychology
Psychology is the branch of scientific study that delves into a detailed exploration of the human mind and behaviour. The etymological origin of the word 'psychology' is from the Greek word 'psyche', which means 'life' and 'logos', meaning 'explanation.'
This popular branch of studies uses various approaches, such as psychodynamic, biological, behavioural and cognitive theories, to explore the secrets of the human brain and understand the reasons behind certain human behaviours, tendencies and preferences.
History of Psychology
The study of psychology as an academic discipline is relatively new. You can consider the official beginning to be in the late 19th century with the establishment of a psychological laboratory at the University of Leipzig in 1879. However, prior to this, the philosophical study of human psychology by great philosophers has been around for a long time.
For example, the Greek physician Hippocrates classified people into four categories – sanguine, melancholic, choleric and phlegmatic - way back in the 4th century BC. He stated that mental disorders in people were not due to supernatural causes but due to an imbalance in blood, black bile, yellow bile and phlegm.
Socrates recognised the existence of the mind in addition to the soul. According to the renowned philosopher, the mind is responsible for imagination, thinking, dreams and memory. Socrates' students, Plato and Aristotle, however, did not believe in the existence of the soul and focused more on the mind and rationalism in human beings. While Plato regarded the body and mind as two separate entities, Aristotle established close connections between psychological thoughts and natural science.
Philosophical ideas about the mind were also seen in the works of the Chinese philosophers Confucius and Laozi. Their ideas separated the universe into two realities – physical and mental.
Psychology as a science was established by the German philosopher Christian Wolff. Other notable thinkers who have had significant contributions to the advancement of psychology are William James, Sigmund Freud, Ivan Pavlov, John B. Watson and B. F. Skinner.
What are the Methods of Psychology?
There are four distinct methods of psychology - observation, case study, survey research and experimentation method.
1. Observation method
In the observation method, a psychologist observes and records the behaviour of an individual or a group of individuals in a natural setting or in a laboratory.
Though this is one of the most common psychological methods, it is not devoid of limitations. Due to time and monetary constraints, psychologists cannot observe all aspects of behaviour. Furthermore, the results might not be objective if the psychologist lets their bias colour their observations.
2. Case study method
The case study method involves a psychologist taking extensive notes to gain a detailed and in-depth understanding of an individual or a group of individuals’ behaviour, thoughts and feelings.
While this is also a common psychology method, it is quite time-consuming and expensive. Additionally, the results obtained from a particular case study cannot be used to generalise.
3. Survey research method
In the survey research method, the psychologist requests an individual or a group to fill out some survey forms that record their thoughts, feelings and opinions on a particular topic. It is a relatively affordable method of gathering data that covers a wide range of people.
But if the survey questions aren’t designed properly, the answers can be biased. Similar to the case study method, the results of the survey research method cannot be used to obtain a generalised view of the topic.
4. Experimentation method
In the experimentation method, the psychologist tests the respondent’s feelings, thoughts and behaviour by coming up with different methods while changing certain variables. While the results are more accurate compared to other methods, it is subject to human error since the entire experimentation is controlled by the psychologist.
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What is the Scope of Psychology?
As psychology as a discipline continues to evolve, its scope has widened to include a wide variety of specialisations, such as –
1. Developmental psychology
Developmental psychology is the in-depth study of the changes in human behaviour throughout all stages of development in their lives.
2. Experimental psychology
Experimental psychology is the branch that focuses on conducting experiments to understand the fundamental causes of behaviour.
3. Cognitive psychology
Cognitive psychology conducts an in-depth exploration of cognitive functions, such as memory, thinking, creativity, language, perception, and problem-solving skills.
4. Physiological psychology
Physiological psychology assesses the relationship between human behaviour and physiological conditions such as the nervous and endocrine systems.
5. Health psychology
Health psychology explores the relationship between psychological factors and health issues, such as addiction, weight loss, etc.
6. Clinical psychology
Clinical psychology applies psychological principles to assess abnormal behaviour in human beings and treat emotional and behavioural problems.
7. Educational psychology
Educational psychology deals with the practical applications of psychology in education, such as studying the reasons behind student motivation, factors influencing intelligence and understanding the complex teacher-student relationship.
8. Social psychology
Social psychology observes the influence of one’s surroundings and environment on their thoughts, feelings, actions and perceptions.
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What are the Examples of Psychology?
Some examples of psychology that you can find in your daily life are –
1. Use of psychology in advertisements
Have you ever seen an advertisement on television and wanted to buy it immediately? This is because companies use several psychological techniques to attract customers. For example, when companies advertise limited-time offers, customers are bound to buy the item for fear of missing out.
2. Use of psychology in resolving addiction
Though it is widely known that smoking, drugs and alcoholism can lead to addiction, several people still consciously choose to become addicted to them. Psychologists have researched additions in multiple people and found that stress is a major factor that contributes to addition.
3. Use of psychology in sports
The psychological conditions of sportspeople play a significant role in their performance. For example, many professional baseball players admit that visualising their goals helps them achieve their desired results.
4. Use of psychology in politics
Great politicians worldwide know the psychology of the people and use it to their advantage during campaigns. They use psychological tactics and the power of rhetoric to lure people into voting for them.
There are several other instances where psychology plays a critical role in controlling human behaviour, thoughts, feelings and perceptions. If you require more in-depth details on the role of psychology in everyday life, look no further than MyAssignmenthelp.com for assistance.
What are the Effects of Subliminal Messages?
Subliminal messages refer to the messages or images that are passed to the human mind without the mind being conscious of receiving the information. Experts have proven that subliminal messages cannot be used to brainwash or manipulate people since the message remains in mind for a short term.
However, it has been found that subliminal messages can influence a person's brain activity and behaviour. For example, such messages can be used to increase a person’s motivation, change the way people process information and can also alter someone’s voting preference.
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