- Psychology is defined formally as a science that studies mental processes, experiences, and behavior in different contexts.
- Mental processes - The state that we use to solve problems, thinking various aspects, perceiving any aspect, learning, or remembering anything.
- Experience - These are subjective, embedded in our consciousness(awareness), and depend on a person’s internal and external conditions.
- Behavior - These are responses made by us on any situation or condition. It can be overt(visible) and covert(unnoticeable, innate).
- As per some psychologists, behavior is an association between stimuli and response in which either can be external and internal.
➤ Psychology as a Discipline
- The first lab of Psychology was established in Leipzig, Germany, by Wilhelm Wundt in 1879.
- It is the discipline that studies human behavior, experiences, and mental processes.
- It makes us understand how our mind works and how certain mental processes result in a specific behavior.
- Psychology as a discipline today has two parallel streams, i.e., Natural science and social science.
➤ Psychology as Natural Science
- Discrete influence on psychology.
- Psychologists use hypothetical deductive models to prove any hypothesis.
- By using this model, many psychologists gave theories on topics like motivation, perception, memory, etc.
➤ Psychology as Social Psychology
- Studies human behavior in a social context.
- Their socio-cultural environment shapes human behavior.
- A socio-cultural environment creates humans.
- Focuses on humans and communities as social beings in relation to their social culture and physical environment.
➤ Understanding Mind and Behaviour
- Indeed, the mind cannot exist without the brain, but the mind is a separate entity (examples).
- Earlier it was believed that there is no relation between the mind and the body, but now neurosciences have cleared that there is a relationship between mind and behavior.
- Use of mental imagery. With the help of visualizations, phobias were cured.
- A new discipline called Psychoneuroimmunology has emerged, which emphasizes the role played by the mind in strengthening the immune system.
➤ Popular Notions about the Discipline of Psychology
- Common sense is not equal to psychological studies.
- Common sense is based on hindsight, whether Psychology as science looks for patterns of behavior that can be predicted and not explained after the behavior occurs.
- Common sense tells us that an individual cannot perform best in front of an audience. Still, Psychological studies have shown that if you have practiced well, you may achieve better because the presence of others helps your performance.
➤ Evolution of Psychology
- Wilhelm Wundt gave the school of structuralism. He used the method of Introspection to analyze the structure of the mind. As this method didn’t satisfy other psychologists, new schools were introduced.
- William James gave functionalism to study the human mind. He argued that psychologists should study what the mind does and how behavior functions in making people deal with their environment. He said that consciousness as an ongoing stream of mental processes interacting with the environment formed the core of psychology.
- Gestalt psychology emerged as a new school in Germany. This shows that what we experience is more than the inputs received from our environment. Experience is holistic; it is a Gestalt.
- John Watson established Behaviourism in which he denied the idea of introspection and consciousness. As per him, scientific psychology must focus on what is observable and verifiable.
- Now, Sigmund Freud gave Psychoanalysis. He viewed human behavior as a dynamic manifestation of unconscious desires and conflicts. He considered human beings as motivated by an unconscious desire to gratify pleasure-seeking.
- The humanistic perspective given by Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow emphasized the free will of human beings and their natural striving to grow and unfold their inner potential.
- Aspects of the Gestalt approach and structuralism were combined and led to the development of the cognitive perspective, which focuses on how we know about the world. Cognition is the process of learning.
- Modern cognitive psychology views human Beings as actively constructing their minds by exploring the physical and the social world. This view is sometimes called constructivism.
➤ Development of Psychology
- Various specializations emerged over the years.
- Cognitive psychology (mental processes)
- Biological psychology (behavior and physical body)
- Developmental psychology (development throughout life span)
- Social psychology (relation with society)
- Cross-cultural and Cultural Psychology (relation with culture)
- Environmental psychology (relation with nature)
- Health psychology (role of psychological factors )
- Clinical and Counselling Psychology (deals with disorders)
- Industrial/Organizational Psychology (workplace behavior)
- Sports psychology (deals with the behavior of sportsperson)
- Educational psychology (deals with basically school students’)
- Other Emerging Branches of Psychology
Themes of Research and Applications
- Every branch discussed earlier engaged in kinds of activities: research and application.
- Psychology, like other sciences, attempts to develop principles of behavior and mental processes.
- Understand & Explain behavior & mental events
- Draw Conclusions supported by Data
- Design & Conduct experiments under control conditions
- Develop principles about behavior and mental processes
- The conclusion applies to everybody and is universal
- Human behavior is a function of the attributes of persons and the environment.
- Kurt Lewin - B = F(P.E)
- behavior is a product of a person and her/his environment
- Every human varies in terms of intelligence, interests, etc
- Differential Psychology focuses on Individual Differences
- Heredity &/VS Environment
- Human behavior is caused.
- Causes can be either Internal (personal) or external (environmental)
- Not only one cause.
- Understanding human behavior is culturally constructed.
- Most theories/models are Euro - American in nature; this doesn't help understand other cultures.
- Feminists claim that Psychology ignores the female perspective.
- Human behavior can be controlled and modified through the application of psychological principles.
- To improve quality of life, interventions in eddy people brought this subject closer to life and made it more widespread.
- Various independent branches have emerged to deal with different sectors. Like, educational, industrial psychology, etc.
➤ Basic vs Applied Psychology
- There is no cleavage difference between them both.
- Theories that we study in basic psychology apply to real life.
- Research is an integral part of even those fields of psychology that are mainly characterized by or subsumed under the category of application.
- There is seemingly no fundamental difference between research and the application of psychology.
- These activities are highly interrelated and mutually reinforcing.
➤ Psychology and Other Disciplines
- Researchers and scholars in science, social science, and humanities have felt the significance of psychology as a discipline.
- So, here we will see the relationship of psychology with other disciplines.
Psychologists at Work
Psychologists work in various “human services areas.”
- Clinical psychologists
- Counseling psychologists
- Community psychologists
- School psychologists
- Organizational psychologists
Psychology in Everyday Life
- After studying psychology, you will be able to solve your problems more effectively your day to day problems.
- The principles and methods of psychology that you will learn will make you analyze and understand your relation to others.
- So, psychology helps you understand yourself in a better way.
- Using various psychological principles, we can enhance our abilities like learning, memory, etc.
- Thus, the knowledge of psychology is quite helpful in our everyday life and is rewarding from a personal and social point of view.