The four goals of psychology

Topics: Psychology, Scientific method, Behavior Pages: 2 (703 words) Published: February 22, 2004
The Four Goals of Psychology

Psychology is based on its findings from scientific research and critical thinking. Information is obtained from direct observations and measurements, making it an ideal way to learn more about behavior. Most people don't know why psychology is so widely studied. There is a lot more to it than identifying a specific type of behavior strictly by looking at the classic symptoms. There are four main goals: to describe, explain, predict and change behavior and mental processes through the use of scientific methods. These goals were set to help psychologists to better understand what factors cause different types of behavior, and are also a thorough way to identify the problem at hand.

Descriptions are a way to tell someone 'what' has happened. By using careful observations, one can name and classify certain behaviors just by their description. Just a description, can identify behavioral conditions such as aggression. It is an accurate way to record the types of behavior problems a person may have. For example; an observer can gather an accurate description of a participant by monitoring them closely. Although descriptions are accurate to what you think, one person's opinion isn't always the same as another's. It is important to continue through the steps, even if your presumption is correct. Stopping your study after the first step and trusting your own judgment leaves you vulnerable to difference of opinion. Descriptions make up most of the puzzle, but you can never be sure that your information won't lead you astray. That is why three more steps follow, and that is why description is the first step in understanding behavior.

After you ask 'what' happened, you then need to ask 'why' the behavior happened. Explanation is a very important goal. If we never found out why things happen, all the other information about the subject would be virtually useless. Figuring out why things happen not only informs the researcher, but can tell...
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