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View as List Grid. The term psychology comes from the Greek word psyche meaning "breath, spirit, soul" and the word logia meaning "study of. Psychology has not always existed as it has today. In fact, it is considered a relatively young discipline, although as one eminent psychologist explained, it has s short past but a long history.

Lecture on Basic Psychological Processes

Psychology emerged from biology and philosophy and is closely linked to other disciplines including sociology, medicine, linguistics, and anthropology. While psychology may be a young subject in the grand scheme of things, it has grown to play a tremendous role in the world today. Psychologists are employed in hospitals, mental health clinics, schools, colleges and universities, government agencies, private businesses, and private practice and perform a wide variety of tasks and roles ranging from treating mental illness to influencing public health policy.

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One of the most common myths about psychology is that it is just "common sense. By challenging some of our misconceptions about how and why people behave as they do, psychologists are able to provide answers that help solve real-world problems. Unlike common sense, psychology relies on scientific methods to investigate questions and arrive at conclusions.

It is through using empirical methods that researchers are able to discover relationships between different variables. Psychologists use a range of techniques to study the human mind and behavior, including naturalistic observation , experiments, case studies , and questionnaires.


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Topics and questions in psychology can be looked at in a number of different ways. Let's take the topic of violence as an example. Some psychologists may look at how biological influences contribute to violence, while other psychologists might look at how factors such as culture, family relationships, social pressure, and situational variables influence violence.

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Fundamentals of Psychology

Imagine, for example, that psychologists are trying to understand the different factors that contribute to bullying. Some researchers might take a biological perspective and look at how genetics and the brain contribute to this type of behavior. Another psychologist might take a behavioral perspective and look at the different ways that bullying behaviors are reinforced by the environment. Other researchers might take a social perspective and analyze the impact that group pressure might have on bullying behaviors.

No single perspective is "right. In addition to many different perspectives, there are many branches of psychology. Psychologists often opt to specialize in a particular area.

Fundamentals of Psychology

The type of psychologist that you need may depend upon the type of problem you are facing. Some of the biggest subfields within psychology are clinical psychology , personality psychology , cognitive psychology , developmental psychology , and social psychology. If you are experiencing emotional or psychological symptoms, you might need to refer to a clinical or counseling psychologist. If you have a question about whether your child is developing normally, then you might want to ask a developmental psychologist.

Some psychologists work in the field of mental health to treat patients experiencing psychiatric disorders and psychological distress. Subfields such as clinical, counseling, and health psychology are focused on helping people with mental and physical health issues. Other psychologists work in applied subfields, such as forensic psychology and industrial-organizational psychology, to solve real-world problems.

Still other psychologists focus their work on research to contribute to our understanding of the human mind and behavior. Such psychologists may specialize in a particular area such as development, social behavior, cognition, or personality. When you think of psychology, do you envision a therapist jotting down notes as a client recounts childhood experiences?

While therapy is certainly a big part of psychology, it is not the only thing that psychologists do. In fact, many psychologists don't work in the field of mental health at all.