Introduction to Psychology

Introduction to psychology

According to American Psychological Association, Psychology is the scientific study of human mind and behavior. It seeks to understand, explain and how people think, perform and feel. Psychologists are keenly involved in studying and comprehending mental processes, brain functions, and behavior. The APA adds that it “embraces all facets of the individual experience, from the functions of the brain to the action of body, from birth till death. As it is well known that mind is highly complex, and conditions that relate to it can be tough to treat.

History of Psychology

 In a philosophical context, Psychology was founded thousands of years ago in Greece, Egypt, India, Persia and China. In 1879, Wilhelm Wundt in Leipzig, Germany founded the first laboratory of psychology and carried out psychological research. Because of this reason Wundt became the Father of psychology.

In 1890, the American philosopher William James published a book named Principles of Psychology and on the other hand American Psychological Association (APA) was founded by G. Stanley Hall.

In 1909, Hermann Abbingaus, worked at the University of Berlin and was the first psychologists to study memory broadly.

The first famous experiment was conducted by Ivan P. Pavlov who experimented on a dog and introduced the concept of Classical Conditioning.

On the other hand Sigmund Freud introduced the field of Psychoanalysis, which is also a type of psychotherapy. He applied interpretive methods, introspection and clinical observation to understand the human mind. His focus was on unconscious and he believed that human’s unconscious is responsible for individuals’ thought and behavior and for many mental problems.

E.B Titchener, strongly believed in Structuralism, which focuses on the question “what is consciousness”?

Whereas, William James believes in functionalism which focuses on the question “What is consciousness for? “

Branches of Psychology

There are different types of disciplines of psychology that serves different purposes and they are as follows:

A) Clinical Psychology: Clinical psychology helps us to understand prevent and alleviate psychological disorder or dysfunction which hampers the normal life and well-being of the person and helps in promoting individual’s well-being and personal growth. Clinical psychology assimilates science, theory and practice in order to comprehend and predict the problems with adjustment, socializing and helps in encouraging adaptation, adjustments and personal development.

A clinical psychologist focuses on the intellectual, expressive, genetic and other aspects human actions throughout a person’s life, across varying cultures and socio- emotional levels.

B) Cognitive Psychology: Cognitive psychology explores internal cognitive processes, such as problem solving, memory, learning and language. It focuses on how people think, perceive, communicate, remember and learn. Cognitive psychologists investigate how people acquire, process, and store information.

C) Developmental Psychology: This discipline focuses on changes that individual experience throughout life and they are psychological in nature which is referred to as human development. It focuses on the growth of humans from conception till death and includes factors like motor skills, problem solving, and moral understanding, acquiring language, emotions, personality, self- concept and identity formation.

D) Evolutionary Psychology: This branch of psychology focuses at how individual’s behavior gets affected due to psychological adjustments during evolution. An evolutionary psychologist believes that human psychological traits are adaptive in that they have enabled people to survive over many years.

E) Forensic Psychology: Forensic psychology involves applying psychology to understand the psyche of the criminal and law.  It involves assessing the psychological factors that might influence a case or behavior and presenting the results in court.

F) Health Psychology: The other name for health psychology is medical psychology. Its major focus is to observe how behavior, biology and social context influence illness and health. A physician look first at the biological cause of an illness, but health psychologists will focus on the whole person and the factors influencing the health status of an individual. Health psychologists focus on the mind body relationship that how they are interrelated and affect each other’s working.

G) Social Psychology: A social psychologists look at group behavior, social perception, nonverbal behavior, conformity, aggression , prejudice, stereotypes, attitudes and many other aspects that affect the social  life of an individual. Social psychology uses scientific methods to comprehend how social influences impact the human behavior. It often explains how one’s feelings, behavior and thought pattern are influenced by imagined or actual presence of other people.

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