DEFINITION AND RELEVANCE OF PSYCHOLOGY
The word psychology was derived from two Greek words, psyche (soul) and logos (study), or “study of the soul”. Formally defined, psychology is the scientific study of thought and behavior. Psychology is unique in that it is the science of understanding individuals. (Feist, Rosenberg 2010). There are varied reasons why people should study psychology. These reasons may vary from person to person. Knowing oneself is a primary reason. Studying psychology does not only make you more aware of how and why people behave the way they do but also makes you more aware of your own behavior. When you understand others’ thoughts, feelings and motives as well as your own, this may help you to be more effective as a friend, student, professor, businessman or engineer. Understanding how children learn, think, reason and play will be a great help when you become a parent or a teacher. THE GOALS OF PSYCHOLOGY
Psychology like any other field of science aims to help in the study and understanding of human nature. It particularly aims to intensify the knowledge about human behavior so that man can improve and develop his existence. The goals of psychology therefore are: to describe, to understand, to predict, and to control or modify behavior. Behavior can be described, analyzed and interpreted before it can be understood. The best way to do this is to utilize descriptive research. This is an appropriate method in obtaining, describing and interpreting data on human behavior. To predict behavior means the psychologist may anticipate an individual’s future behavior. This can be based from an individual’s past performance. For instance, college grades can be predicted by relating them to high school grades. Once a certain behavior is described and understood, it may lead to the modification of an individual’s behavior. Using a psychological test, for instance, can predict the occurrence of a disorder; therefore this may prevent the disorder to occur. DIFFERENT FIELDS IN PSYCHOLOGY
Abnormal Psychology: It is the study of abnormal behavior, mental and personality disorders. It is a branch of psychology that deals with the study of abnormal behavioural patterns and their causes. Actions or behavior that is not in coherence with what an average human being would do are referred to as abnormal. Child Psychology: This field of psychology analyzes the emotional and social development of children. This field includes the analysis of changing behavioural patterns in children and the different stages in their overall development. It is also concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of the cognitive, social or emotional issues they have. Cognitive Psychology: This field of psychology analyzes the mental processes which are responsible for behaviour. It deals with the study of problem solving, information processing, memory and emotional abilities of human beings. If questions like how human beings perceive things, how they remember and recollect and what is the process of thinking like, have intrigues you, cognitive psychology could be the field you should enter. Community Psychology: This branch of psychology studies how an individual and his community affect each other. It analyzes the influence society has on an individual's behavior and also how individual behavior affects the society. It involves the prevention and treatment of psychological problems in the community such as caring for the elderly and battered wives and rehabilitating child abuse victims. Comparative Psychology: This field of psychology deals with the study of mental processes in animals in order to get a better understanding of human psychology. In this field, activities of man and animals are compared and differentiated. The study of adaptations, reproduction and evolution in animals comes under...
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