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General Psychology

By Pendosamson Jan 16, 2013 1450 Words







DATE: 6th November, 2012


1 (a) with reference to 4 recent psychologists (2006) + years. Write down their versions of definition of psychology. Be sure to explain the key terms/ concepts clearly

(b) Identify four roles functions of psychology as delineated in the works you have consulted in 1 (a) above.

(c) Identify 5 areas / fields in Tanzania where psychology could be strongly applied in addressing the associated issues.

(d)Cite all the reference sources consulted fully in APA style.

1(a) With reference to 4 recent psychologists (2006) +years. Write down their versions of defining psychology. Be sure to explain the key terms/concepts clearly.

0ne of the most common questions debatable by most people, is the exactly definition of the term “psychology”; this is due to a wide range of its definition. The term “psychology” has been defined in different ways by different psychologists. Some have defined it as a science which studies animal and human behavior, while others define it as an academic branch which studies human mind and behavior. Therefore, different scholars have different opinions on what “psychology” is. In regard to the recent psychologists, the following are some of their versions in defining the term psychology.

According to Feldman R.S (2009) psychology is a scientific study of behavior and mental processes. He explains that ,the phrase “behavior and mental processes” means not only what people do but also their thoughts,emotions,perceptions ,reasoning processes,memories,and the biological activities that maintain bodily functioning. He continue explaining that psychology is a science because psychologists use scientific methods to find answers when they try to describe, predict, and explain human behaviors and mental processes, and that the answers are valid than those resulting from intuition and speculation which are often inaccurate.

Ingule F.O. explain that ;the term psychology comes from the Greek words “psyche” which means “soul” and “logos” which means “science”. According to them, in the earliest times psychology was defined as “the science of the soul” and was studied as the branch of philosophy, but currently after the great revolution in psychological thoughts, it is defined as “the science of behavior”. These psychologists explains that, psychology is a science because is a systematic body of knowledge which may be verified by different individuals under given conditions. Psychology as a science applies all the characteristics of science such as scientific methods of collecting data; it also attempts to find new truths, deals with observable behavior and establishes facts. For example, psychological research uses scientific methods to study human behavior and hence helps to understand, control, and predict behavior by using experimental method. The term behavior” to them, is defined as “an action which can be seen and observed in an objective way” and this involves both external and internal responses to stimulation, observed and measured in objective way.

According to Omari I.M (2006),”psychology is a science of behavior and experience”. According to him, psychology is the study of human behaviors, mental processes, feelings, emotions, and motivations, both conscious and unconscious behaviors. He also explains that psychology is a “science because it regularly use and apply scientific research methods and standards of rigour, ethics, and rules of evidence. In psychology, most of the data are collected through observation, recording and classification of human behaviors in different situations, places and times. Psychologists also conduct experiments in laboratories using scientific methods.

Passer M.W (2007), defines psychology as “the scientific study of behavior and the factors that influence it” .He explains that, the term “behavior” refers both actions that we can directly observe and to the inner processes such as thoughts, feelings, images and physiological reactions, and that, it is a science because it explores the nature and causes of our behavior and feelings, motives and thoughts through a variety of research methods by testing theories, just as how scientists do.

(b)Identify four roles functions of psychology as delineated in the works you have consulted in 1(a) above.

Just like other disciplines, psychology has different role functions in dealing with human behaviors and mental processes. Psychologists describe, explain, predict, and control human behaviors, as explained below:

To begin with describing; Psychology plays a role in identifying and classifying behaviors and mental processes as accurately as possible. Psychologists do this through vivid and accurate descriptions and insights (Passer 2007). This helps to know a certain behavior.

Secondly; psychology plays a role in explaining behavior. Psychologists are able to propose reasons for behaviors and certain mental processes. In psychology, it is done through addressing questions as to why or how comes that people behave in the way they do. It can be taken as an example from “social learning Theory by Bandura.A

Thirdly; psychology has also a role in predicting behaviors whereby, psychologists offers hypothesis about how a given condition or set of conditions will affect behaviors and mental processes. However, prediction can have important practical uses that do not require a complete understanding of why some behavior occurs (Passer 2007). Thus psychologists are able to say what can happen to a certain person after a certain condition.The theories of Classical and Operant Conditioning can be used as good examples as they explain how people can learn or unlearn a behavior through certain stimulus they are exposed to.

Lastly; controlling behavior is the other role of psychology. By using the results of a certain research psychologists can solve practical problems that involve behavior and mental processes. This can be done through shaping using reinforcement, guidance and counseling.

However; the discussed functions are related to one another in that, you cannot understand human behavior before you have described the circumstances surrounding its occurrence. Likewise; you cannot predict human behavior before you have described and explained them. (Passer 2007), Therefore, psychologists cannot control human behaviors without being able to predict the results of the action.

The drawing hereunder, shows how these functions are related to one another:

Modified from Omari 2006

c) Identify five areas/fields in Tanzania where psychology could be strongly applied in addressing the associated issues

The fact that psychology is useful in our everyday life, leads to the occurrence of different fields of psychology to deal with specific issues within the study of the mind, brain and behavior. Psychology can be applied in educational settings. It helps to the study the ways of improving learning, teaching, human performance and motivation. It includes things like students outcomes, the instructional process, individual differences in learning, gifted learners and learning disabilities. Therefore in this area psychology is useful in the study of how people learn.

Psychology is also useful in different social issues by looking at social influences such as group behavior, leadership, aggression, social perception and social interaction. In line with this psychology studies social conditions that influence intrapersonal and interpersonal relations, in this way psychology helps to understand behaviors through social perception and social interactions. This can be exemplified by the B.F Skinner’s Behavioral theory

In the industries and/ or organizations is the other area in which psychology can be useful whereby, through the application of different psychological theories and principles can increase productivity and the physical and mental wellbeing of the employees. This can be done by studying workers attitudes and behavior, evaluating companies and leadership training.

Psychology also is useful in conducting different experiments it is used to utilize scientific methods to research the minds and behaviors of the people. This helps psychologist to compare human and animal behavior across species and cultures.

Lastly, psychology is used in sports and games. It helps to influence sports whereby some psychologists work with professional coaches and players to improve performance and increase motivation. Therefore, because psychology can be applied or used in different areas, this brings about different branches of psychology such as Educational Psychology, social psychology, industrial psychology, experimental psychology and sports psychology.


Frank O.Ingule, Ruthie C.Rono and Philomena W. Ndambuki (2011).Introduction to

Educational Psychology. Nairobi East African: Educational Publisher.

Michael W.Passer & Ronald E. (2007).Psychology.Washington: McGraw Hill. International


Omari I.M (2006).Educational Psychology for Teachers.Dar es Salaam: DUP 2006(2)

Robert S.Feldman (2009).Understanding Psychology.Newyork: McGraw Hill Companies Inc.

WEBSITES: on 1/11/2012 at 13:15) (Retrieved on 2/11/2012 at














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