Today, psychologists prefer to use more objective scientific methods to understand, explain, and predict human behavior. Psychological studies are highly structured, beginning with a hypothesis that is then empirically tested. The discipline has two major areas of focus: academic psychology and applied psychology. Academic psychology focuses on the study of different sub-topics within psychology including personality, social behavior and human development. These psychologists conduct basic research that seeks to expand our theoretical knowledge, while other researchers conduct applied research that seeks to solve everyday problems.
Applied psychology focuses on the use of different psychological principles to solve real world problems. Examples of applied areas of psychology include forensic psychology, ergonomics, and industrial-organizational psychology. Many other psychologists work as therapists, helping people overcome mental, behavioral, and emotional disorders.
Psychology Research Methods
As psychology moved away from its philosophical roots, psychologists began to employ more and more scientific methods to study human behavior. Contemporary researchers employ a variety of scientific techniques including experiments, correlational studies longitudinal research, and others to test, explain, and predict behavior.
Areas of Psychology
Psychology is a broad and diverse field. A number of different subfields and specialty areas have emerged. The following are some of the major areas of research and application within psychology:
• Abnormal Psychology is the study of abnormal behavior and psychopathology. This specialty area is focused on research and treatment of a variety of mental disorders and is linked to psychotherapy, and clinical psychology.
• Biological Psychology, also known as biopsychology, studies how biological processes influence the mind and behavior.