The brain is a fascinating and complex organ at the core of our biological existence. It is responsible for the distinct behaviors we take part in as humans, as well as the behaviors of other animals. Because the brain is so complex and not well-understood, the way it affects our behavior can be somewhat of a mystery. That’s where psychology comes in; the science of behavior and the mind. Unlike neuroscience, it doesn’t study the brain itself. Rather, it studies what the brain produces in terms of thoughts and behavior. In this category you’ll find psychology articles exploring different facets of the field including thought, feeling, consciousness, and other areas of study, research, and application.
Psychology Articles Covering History and Background
Psychological studies have been around since ancient times. Ancient civilizations such as Egypt and Greece recognized disorders and diseases still being studied today, including depression and thought disorders. People started to realize that odd behaviors weren’t the work of demons, but rather manifestations of problems occurring within the brain. Psychology started to be recognized as science in the 1700s, although the recognition of the importance and applicability of experimental psychology lagged behind. The notion of a soul, along with other beliefs, led many to believe that the brain is more than just a psychical organ and cannot undergo normal systematic analysis. Some still maintain these ideas, but psychologists and scientists eventually turned to experiments to help them understand psychology from a scientific perspective. Today, psychology helps us understand and improve aspects of our lives that depend on behavior. We can better understand different personality types, the unconscious mind, how to motivate people, how our brains develop, the effects of genes vs environmental factors, and more. The psychology articles here will continue keeping you up to date on current events and developments.
Common Schools of Thought within Psychology
Psychologists as practitioners or researchers are generally classified into one of three groups: social, behavioral, or cognitive scientists. Explanations of the ideas behind these three main schools of thought are below and will be covered in greater detail by psychology articles within this category.
Behavioral psychology focuses on tendencies we have with regards to responding to stimuli, learning, and making decisions. We can observe how people react to certain situations, try to find patterns, predict behavior, and even change it based on predictions. Due to similarities in brains between mammals, we can even use other animals to help us understand ourselves. This means psychology isn’t limited to just humans, and psychological studies of different species aren’t mutually exclusive.
Cognitive psychology looks more into the processes behind mental activity that leads to behavioral tendencies. These include reasoning, thinking, problem solving, memory, attention, and even emotion. It’s about understanding the why behind our behaviors. Lisa Feldman Barret is a great example of a professional with a focus on psychology of emotion. You can read more about here and other successful researchers in the psychology articles here.
Social psychology brings the group into consideration. Branching away from individual psychology, it looks at how we interact with and think about each other. This involves studying topics such as influence and persuasion, and the formation of culture and stereotypes formed by group dynamics.
Other Schools of Thought Explored in Psychology Articles
The line between body and mind, between physical and psychological, is ever-thinning. These days, psychologists consider the physical brain and body to be the foundation of the mind itself, making it the holy grail of information. What prevents us from just studying the technical aspects of physical processes of the brain is its complexity. We’re often forced to infer how parts of the brain work or why it does certain things. Although, optimally, we will one day be able to understand the underlying biological causes behind those processes. The line between body and mind, between physical and psychological, is ever-thinning. These days, psychologists consider the physical brain and body to be the foundation of the mind itself, making it the holy grail of information. What prevents us from just studying the technical aspects of physical processes of the brain is its complexity. We’re often forced to infer how parts of the brain work or why it does certain things. Although, optimally, we will one day be able to understand the underlying biological causes behind those processes.
This field investigates the mind in terms of interpreting experience. A set of theories about human behavior is used to create psychotherapy for treating psychological distress. The unconscious mind is of particular interest in psychoanalysis.
More recently, in the late 20th century, a movement started to consider the whole person rather than separating out personality and other isolated parts of the human psyche. This approach looks at what are considered uniquely human issues with emphasis on meaning and growth. Free will, meaning, and death are some of the broader topics it explores. Psychology articles in this topic can be a bit abstract or even dark, but worth taking a look.
Articles on Relevance and Applications of Psychology
Psychology isn’t just about the pursuit of knowledge for knowledge’s sake. It has real applications that help society progress and improve quality of life for people in many ways. Psychological testing lets us pick people ideal for certain jobs and situations, or identify those having trouble. Mental health services recognize, treat, and prevent psychological distress. Psychology applied to education can help optimize learning, and the same goes for work. Overall, applying psychology to various areas of society can keep people healthier and more productive.
Careers in Psychology and Helpful Articles
In terms of jobs, the number of available positions for psychologists is growing in the US by about 14%. That’s faster than average growth of other jobs at over 160,000 new jobs per year. The median pay is fairly high at about 80,000 dollars due to the higher levels of education necessary for academia and medical professions. These factors makes it a promising field to consider for a career. Academia and research are common fields of work for psychologists. Here they work on making further advancements in the scope of knowledge surrounding the subject, and figure out what applications it could have in other areas. Psychologists can also be medical professionals and counselors that apply psychology to patients. They can help patients improve mental health and make the best possible decisions in life. Outside of the individual, psychologists can also help all of society make better decisions based on scientific principles of the human mind. Ethics is a big part of international relations and government, making psychologists important resources for helping to iron out laws, policies, and other relationships throughout society. Check in periodically with the psychology articles here to keep up with the market and find your place in it.
Psychology helps us get closer to understanding how the brain works, but, perhaps more importantly, how our minds work. It takes the social science of understanding individuals and their roles in groups and integrates it with the science of the biological processes and cognitive functions behind them. Emotion, intelligence, perception, personality and counseling are all prevalent psychology topics in the field that this category of books can help you explore in more depth.
How It Started
Psychology is the study of how the mind works and why we behave the way we do. It looks at the conscious and unconscious, feeling and thought, biology and culture; and various other topics. Although the field as a whole has been around since ancient times, the scientific aspects of it are fairly new. In the beginning, it was more of a philosophical study. Names we all know like Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates would discuss and study themes that are still present today. But, they did so without using the scientific method and experimentation. Rather, observation and critical analysis were their main tools. Through the books on Direct Knowledge, you can explore these traditional views and origins of the field, learn what it has become today, and keep up with new developments happening every day.
Psychology Today and Relevant Books
In this category, you’ll also find books that shows how much the field of psychology has changed. Most of the change it has gone through happened in the last century and a half or so. In this time there have been many advances, and the field is much more complex, allowing it to provide results that are useful in many fields. To get started, books like Introduction to Psychology provide useful resources for learning the basics. The book covers topics such as information absorbancy, psychological disorders, and real-life examples for each concept. This helps students relate more to what they’re learning. The three teaching tools in the book include chapter openers, everyday psychology, and research focus. These tools help students understand concepts with ease and professors set up lesson plans with effective methods.
The Brain vs the Mind
The increased use of scientific methods in the field has made psychology get closer to neuroscience. Both look at the brain and how it works. What currently differentiates them is that psychology studies behavior and how the brain and the mind determine it. Neuroscience, on the other hand, looks at the nervous system itself without much considering the mind or behavior. It’s possible that advancements in neuroscience will one day allow it to completely describe the mind and thus behavior. But, for now, it can’t grasp the complexities of behavior. It’s best if both are used together to get the fullest picture possible. This is why some psychology experiments and material in this section will include helpful info from neuroscience. It might also be a good idea to read up on the field itself.
Books for Teaching the Complexities of Psychology
The various methods and topics in psychology can make it difficult to teach. But books in this category such as Principles of Social Psychology can help teachers in this endeavor. In this book, you’ll learn how to make a clear path for students so that they don’t get lost in the multidisciplinary nature of the field. It narrows the playing field a bit so that each topic being discussed can receive more individual attention. This leads to more meaningful discussion while still introducing students to important topics. As far as methods go, although psychology uses science more and more, it is not purely scientific. People working in the field do use empirical methods, but also be prepared to use (and teach) deductive methods, and even some inductive techniques like symbolic interpretation. In these techniques, only some evidence points towards a conclusion. But sometimes that’s all you can get when it comes to human behavior. Take a look at the books here to get a better idea of how the field of psychology works and evolves.
Professional technical writer specializing in material relating to Earth sciences, environmental economics, and developmental economics. Megan has a B.S. in Geophysics from the University of Texas at Austin, as well a M.S. in Environment and Sustainable Development from the University of Glasgow. She has worked in the government sector for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and currently lives in Mexico City where she works as a freelancer.