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A Guide To Understanding Psychology

In this article, we shall discuss what psychology is, the history of psychology, what are the types of psychology, and why it is important. We shall also go through some interesting topics that may arouse your interest for further reading!


 


Have you ever wondered why you behave a certain way? Why do you feel anxious, low, or exhausted without doing any work?


 


Apart from wondering about the causes behind our behavior, we also tend to find reasons for someone else’s behavior. We can often catch ourselves questioning the behavior of other people. According to a psychologist, Fritz Heider, we are all naïve psychologists trying to find causes behind behavioral outcomes.


 


All of your questions can be answered by simply studying the basics of a not so simple but interesting subject: psychology.


 


Let us first understand what psychology is.


 


What is psychology?


 


We are all aware of what psychology entails. If you aren’t sure what it is, it is simply the study of the human mind, except it is not simple at all.


 


When you are physically sick, you talk to the respective physician and take whatever they prescribe. Similarly, there exists a group that treats you for mental sickness. These people are called psychologists.


 


 


The brain is the most complex part of the human body. And psychology is nothing but the study of the human mind. It analyzes your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, to conclude.


 


Let me also insert a more structured definition from Google:


“Psychology is the scientific study of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of conscious and unconscious phenomena, including feelings and thoughts. It is an academic discipline of immense scope, crossing the boundaries between the natural and social sciences. Psychologists seek an understanding of the emergent properties of brains, linking the discipline to neuroscience. As social scientists, psychologists aim to understand the behavior of individuals and groups. Ψ (or psi) is a Greek letter that is commonly associated with the science of psychology.”


 


History Of Psychology: How And Where It Started


 


Early psychology evolved out of both philosophy and biology. Discussions of these two subjects date as far back as the early Greek thinkers, including Aristotle and Socrates.


 


The word psychology was derived from the Greek word “psyche” which means life or soul. Psychology emerged as a separate field when Wilhelm Wudnt established the first experimental psychology lab in Leipzig, Germany in 1879.


 


Throughout the history of psychology, various schools of thought have emerged. The major schools include:



  • Structuralism

  • Behaviorism

  • Functionalism

  • Psychoanalysis

  • Humanistic approach

  • Cognitive approach


 


Now that we have gotten an idea of what psychology is, let us decode the different types of it.


Just like in the core medical field where we have different branches like ophthalmology, neurology, radiology, etc. Psychology is also classified into different types. Let us get a basic understanding of these.


 


·         Abnormal psychology: This field is related to research and treatment of mental disorders.


 



  • Biological psychology:


Focuses on how biological processes influence the mind and behavior.


 



  • Clinical psychology:


Focuses on assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of mental disorders.


 



  • Cognitive psychology:


Studies attention, memory, perception, decision making, problem-solving, and language acquisition.


 



  • Comparative psychology:


Deals with the psychology of animals.


 



  • Developmental psychology:


looks at human growth and development over the lifespan including cognitive abilities, morality, social functioning, identity, and other life areas.


 



  • Forensic psychology:


 Focuses on using psychological research and principles in the legal and criminal justice system.


 



  • Industrial or organizational psychology:


Focuses on research to enhance work performance.


 



  • Personality psychology:


Focuses on understanding how personality develops as well as the patterns of thoughts, behaviors, and characteristics that make each unique.


 



  • Social psychology:


 Focuses on group behavior, social influences on individual behavior, attitudes, prejudice, conformity, aggression, and related topics.


 


If you have read this far, congratulations, you have a basic knowledge of psychology!


 


It is now time to understand why psychology plays an important role.


 


If no one studied psychology, we would never be aware of the workings of the human brain. Just imagine not knowing why you feel low, sad, or burnt out.


Life would come to standstill without the study of this interesting subject.


 


Whenever life throws a curveball at you, you can be assured that there are people out there who are willing to help you cope and get better.


 


As we have established, psychology is the study of human mind. All our behavior is studied under this subject which gives us a better understanding of the world. 


We need this subject to understand why people behave the way they do. Apart from humans, psychology also focuses on the behavior of animals.


 


Studying psychology helps one analyze the behavior of others and thereby determine how to act in a particular situation.


 It leads to the development of the nation by helping people change their perspectives and enhance their knowledge.


One doesn’t need to take psychology as a subject in school or college, all we need to do is understand the basics of psychology by reading articles, like this one, to gain a more nuanced knowledge of the subject thereby helping in forming opinions and perspectives.


 


 


 


We have successfully established all the basic information you need to know.


Let us now learn about some interesting topics in this subject that might pique your interest in the subject.


 


 


Balance theory:


According to this theory, there are certain structures between people that can be balanced or imbalanced. In any interpersonal relation, the structure needs to be balanced to maintain peace and harmony.


For eg. You and your friend both like A R Rehman. In this situation, your attitude towards an object is similar which means it is balanced.


Now imagine, you like A R Rehman but your friend doesn’t. In this case your attitudes are different and it causes disharmony. You are now motivated to change your attitude because we tend to prefer balance over the imbalance.


Imbalance can also exist if we have opinions that are those of people we don’t like.


 


So the next time you find yourself adapting to someone else’s likes who is close to you, remember this theory.


 


 


Maslow’s theory of hierarchy:


Think of this theory as a game with levels. There are 5 levels. You must complete each level to move on to the next level.


 


According to this theory, we follow a hierarchy when it comes to our needs.


First, we focus on physiological needs such as food, clothes, etc. which are necessities that you need. You must complete this level to move on to the next.


Next is safety and security. At this stage, we focus on getting security for our future and perform behaviors such as getting insurance or a promotion.


 


Level 3 is love and belonging. We now look for relationships and try to form a connection with others. To satisfy these needs, one must be able to make successful interpersonal relations.


 


Level 4 is self-esteem. We all take pride in our achievements. At this level, we focus on improving our confidence. It involves how we perceive ourselves as well as how others think of us. We tend to be appreciated for our achievements by others.


 


The last level is self-actualization. This means working to one’s full potential. People who have acquired self-actualization do not care about what others think and only focus on making themselves better.


 


If you have read this far, you have a comprehensive understanding of 


psychology and have also learned two very important theories in this subject.


Hope that this article has piqued your interest and you will continue learning more on the subject!


 


 


 


 


 


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