Psychology is a popular topic for students in high school and college. The idea of studying how the brain works, as well as human interaction, is incredibly enticing. Current events...
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.
History of Psychology
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
A number of other perspectives exist in psychology, including the following:
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.
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
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.
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