Psychology

Psychology

Psychology information for online study; you can learn about psychology and related subjects, self-study and e-Learning courses about psychology.

Psychology

Imagine you're driving and your car breaks down. To make matters worse, your phone is dead. You pull off into the closest parking lot, which just happens to be for a strip club. You walk in to use the phone to call a tow truck. As you're walking out, your spouse's best friend drives by and happens to see you walking out. This is what the phrase “perception is reality” means. No one can know your true intentions, no one sees what you say or do in privacy. We are judged by our actions and words that others can see and hear. This is why judges can't try cases where they are connected to one of the parties. Merely the appearance of a conflict of interest is enough to cause a mistrial. Your intent will always up for interpretation, for good or for ill. So be smart. In reality, psychology is not only about that perception that people often form saying, “OH!! I have to take care of my words and actions; you can read me like an open book. Tell me, being a psychologist what do you think of me?” There is nothing like that. Being a psychologist does not give us the right to judge someone, but it enhances our own perspective towards situations, working of mind, behavior tactics… et cetera. Two people can look at the same thing, and perceive it in two different ways. It’s not so much what we see, but how we perceive it that shapes our thought, emotions, and actions about it. Therefore our perceptions become our reality. Dr. Bruce Lipton in his book ‘’The Biology of Belief’’ states that through our emotions we can control our biochemistry. So it is not so much what’s happening in our environment, as how we perceive it (feel about it).

One of the main takeaways from his epigenetic research is that when we stop seeing ourselves as being the victims of predisposition, we can prevent nearly 95% of diseases. The word “Psychology” is derived from the Greek word psyche which means “soul” or “mind.” Psychology has its roots in Biology and Philosophy and discussions on these topics date all the way back to ancient Greece. However, it wasn’t until 1879 when Wilhelm Wundt established the first experimental psychology lab in Leipzig Germany that people began to perceive Psychology as a science in its own right. It’s a science of behavior and cognitive process of an individual. Behavior means all those observable changes in one's life and way of living, while cognitive process means mental phenomenon of a person to handle different situations. Wilhelm Wundt is considered as the Founder of Experimental Psychology. It was realized that soul is too un-defined and subjective a construct to give opportunity for scientific investigation. So study of metal processes became its main plank but mental processes were also difficult to know objectively. Finally psychologists have agreed to focus on behavior which is the only observable part in psychology. Psychology was formally started by William Wundt in 1879 when he started his Psychological lab in Leipzig, Germany. But it has long historical antecedents, for example

  1. Hippocrates
  2. Socrates
  3. Plato
  4. Aristotle
  5. Mills duo
  6. Kant
  7. Lock
  8. Leibnitz etc.

History of Psychology

Wilhelm Wundt opened the Institute for Experimental Psychology at the University of Leipzig in Germany in 1879.  This was the first laboratory dedicated to psychology, and its opening is usually thought of as the beginning of modern psychology. Indeed, Wundt is often regarded as the father of psychology. Wundt was important because he separated psychology from philosophy by analyzing the workings of the mind in a more structured way, with the emphasis being on objective measurement and control. This laboratory became a focus for those with a serious interest in psychology, first for German philosophers and psychology students, then for American and British students as well.  All subsequent psychological laboratories were closely modeled in their early years on the Wundt model. While psychology did not emerge as a separate discipline until the late 1800s; its earliest history can be traced back to the time of the early Greeks. During the 17th-century, the French philosopher Rene Descartes introduced the idea of dualism, which asserted that the mind and body were two entities that interact to form the human experience. Many other issues still debated by psychologists today, such as the relative contributions of nature vs. nurture, are rooted in these early philosophical traditions. Wundt's background was in physiology, and this was reflected in the topics with which the Institute was concerned, such as the study of reaction times and sensory processes and attention. For example, participants would be exposed to a standard stimulus (e.g. a light or the sound of a metronome) and asked to report their sensations.

Cognitive Psychology

Cognitive psychologists study the “how” behind mental processes. They may investigate how people learn and understand information, how the brain handles what’s learned and how this influences common mental conditions. It looks at how we process information we receive and how the treatment of this information leads to our responses. In other words, cognitive psychology is interested in what is happening within our minds that links stimulus (input) and response (output).  There are three major contributing theories in cognitive psychology:

  • Albert Ellis' rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT)
  • Aaron Beck's cognitive therapy (CT)
  • Donald Meichenbaum's cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)

The framework for REBT was developed by Albert Ellis. Previously called rational therapy or rational emotive therapy, REBT is one of the first cognitive therapies. Today it continues to be a major approach in the field of cognitive psychology. It makes the basic assumption that you contribute to your own psychological problems and symptoms through your interpretations.

Developmental Psychology

Those who choose the discipline of developmental psychology study physical and cognitive development over the course of the human lifespan. This includes how social factors and emotional influences affect development at various life stages. Given the broad scope of human development, most psychologists in this area choose to focus on a specific age group.  Developmental psychologists study human growth and development over the lifespan, including physical, cognitive, social, intellectual, perceptual, personality and emotional growth.  Developmental psychologists working in colleges and universities tend to focus primarily on research or teaching. Others working in more applied settings like health care facilities or clinics help to assess evaluate and treat people living with developmental disabilities. Developmental psychologists may also work in assisted living homes for the elderly, hospitals, mental health clinics and centers for the homeless. Childhood and adolescence are popular categories, but studying geriatrics is becoming more common since people are starting to live longer and can benefit from information that increases the number of years they remain independent.

School Psychology

If you enjoy working with kids and want to see them succeed in their academic lives as well as their personal ones, you may want to become a school psychologist. School psychologists are prepared to intervene at the individual and system level, and develop, implement, and evaluate preventive programs. In these efforts, they conduct ecologically valid assessments and intervene to promote positive learning environments within which children and youth from diverse backgrounds to ensure that all have equal access to effective educational and psychological services that promote healthy development. These professionals work with students, teachers, administrators and parents to deal with the many psychological issues that can disrupt a school setting. A school psychologist may;

  • Administer cognitive assessments to students
  • Counsel kids in dealing with personal, developmental or emotional issues
  • Collaborate with teachers to overcome challenges in the classroom
  • Partner with parents in helping kids achieve academic excellence in the face of struggles
  • Performing these services as a school psychologist makes you part of the team that ensures the overall success of the school.

Sport Psychology

It’s not unusual for athletes or sports teams to have their own psychologists or for coaches to ask for input in dealing with the mental and emotional issues faced during intense training. In the field of sports psychology, it’s your job to help improve athletic performance by honing concentration, increasing motivation and reducing stress. That means working directly with athletes and their coaches to provide the necessary counseling and support to guarantee a successful season. Some sports psychologists work with schools that have a heavy focus on athletics to improve the quality and prosperity of their programs. Others concentrate on research to increase the understanding of the specific psychological challenges faced by athletes. Sport Psychology interventions are designed to assist athletes and other sports participants (e.g., coaches, administrators, parents) from a wide array of settings, levels of competition and ages, ranging from recreational youth participants to professional and Olympic athletes to master’s level performers.

Clinical Psychology

As the largest, and often the most recognized, sub-discipline of psychology, clinical psychology covers a broad spectrum of mental, emotional and behavioral disorders. To work in this field, you generally choose a specific problem to address or group of people to work with. For example, you may specialize in bipolar disorder or focus your attention on teenagers. Whether running a private practice or working in a medical setting, clinical psychologists use the principles of psychology and information from psychological research to assess patients and provide the best possible treatments. Clinical psychology is a broad branch of psychology that focuses on diagnosing and treating mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. Some of the more common disorders that might be treated include learning disabilities, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. The field of psychology became more recognized during the second half of the 19th century, although clinical psychology wasn't recognized until the end of the 19th century. Since there are so many areas to choose from, you have the freedom to focus on where you can do the most good and help the greatest number of people.

Research Methods

Descriptive Research

The goal of descriptive research is to portray what already exists in a group or population. One example of this type of research would be an opinion poll to find which political candidate people plan to vote for in an upcoming election. Unlike causal and relational studies, descriptive studies cannot determine if there is a relationship between two variables. They can only describe what exists within a given population. An example of descriptive research would be conducting a survey to find out people's attitudes toward a particular social issue such as divorce, capital punishment, or gambling laws.

Correlational Research

Social psychologists use correlational research to look for relationships between variables. For example, a social psychologist might carry out a correlational study looking at the relationship between media violence and aggression. He might collect data on how many hours of aggressive or violent television programs children watch each week and then gather data how on aggressively the children act in lab situations or in naturalistic settings. Conducting surveys, directly observing behaviors, or compiling research from earlier studies is some of the methods used to gather data for correlational research. While this type of study can help determine if two variables have a relationship, it does not allow researchers to determine if one variable causes changes in another variable.