1. Psychology Is the Study of the Mind and Behavior
Psychology is the study of the mental processes and behavior. The term psychology comes from the Greek word psyche meaning "breath, spirit, soul" and the logia meaning "study of." Psychology emerged from biology and philosophy and is closely linked to other disciplines including sociology, medicine, linguistics and anthropology.
2. Psychology Uses Scientific Methods
One of the most common myths about psychology is that it is just "common sense." Unlike common sense, psychology relies on scientific methods to investigate questions and arrive at conclusions. Psychologists use a range of techniques to study the human mind and behavior, including naturalistic observation, experiments, case studies and questionnaires.
- Introduction to Psychology Research Methods
- The Scientific Method
- The Simple Experiment
3. Psychologists Take Many Different Perspectives
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 factors like culture, family relationships, social pressure and situational variables influence violence. Some of the major perspectives in psychology include the:
- Biological perspective
- Cognitive perspective
- Behavioral perspective
- Evolutionary perspective
- Humanistic perspective
4. Psychology Has a Many Subfields
There are many different branches of psychology. Introductory students often explore the basics of these various specialty areas, but further exploration of each individual field may depend on what course of study you select. Some of the biggest subfields within psychology are clinical psychology, personality psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology and social psychology.
5. Psychology Is Not Just About Therapy
When you think of psychology, do you envision a therapist with a notepad jotting down ideas 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. Psychology encompasses other areas including teaching, research and consulting. Psychologists work in a wide variety of settings, including:
- Colleges and universities
- Private corporations
- K-12 Schools
- Government offices
6. Psychology Is All Around You
Psychology is not just an academic subject that exists only in classrooms, research labs and mental health offices. The principles of psychology can be seen all around you in everyday situations. The television commercials and print ads you see everyday rely on psychology to develop marketing messages that influence and persuade people to purchase the advertised products. The websites you visit on a regular basis utilize psychology to understand how people read, use and interpret online information.
7. Psychology Explores Both Real-World and Theoretical IssuesAs you begin your study of psychology, it might seem like some of the theories and research you learn about do not really apply to real-life problems. It is important to remember, however, that psychology is both and applied and theoretical subject. Some researchers focus on adding information to our overall body of knowledge about the human mind and behavior (known as basic research), while other concentrate directly on solving problems and applying psychological problems to real-world situations (known as applied research).
8. Psychology Offers a Wide Range of Career Options
9. Psychology Studies Both Normal and Abnormal Behavior
When many people think about psychology, they immediately think about the diagnosis and treatment of abnormal behavior. However, it is important to remember that psychology studies normal behavior as well.
10. Psychology Seeks to Describe, Explain, Predict, Modify and Improve Behaviors
There are four major goals of psychology:
- To describe human thought and behavior
- To explain why these behaviors occur
- To predict how, why and when these behaviors will occur again in the future
- To modify and improve behaviors to better the lives of individuals and society as a whole