What Is Psychology?
Psychology is the study of mind and behavior. It encompasses the biological influences, social pressures, and environmental factors that affect how people think, act, and feel.
Gaining a richer and deeper understanding of psychology can help people achieve insights into their own actions as well as a better understanding of other people.
Types of Psychology
Psychology is a broad and diverse field that encompasses the study of human thought, behavior, development, personality, emotion, motivation, and more. As a result, some 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 (biopsychology)
studies how biological processes influence the mind and behavior. This area is closely linked to neuroscience and utilizes tools such as MRI and PET scans to look at brain injury or brain abnormalities.
- Clinical psychology
is focused on the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of mental disorders.
- Cognitive psychology
is the study of human thought processes including attention, memory, perception, decision-making, problem-solving, and language acquisition.
- Comparative psychology
is the branch of psychology concerned with the study of animal behavior.
- Developmental psychology
is an area that looks at human growth and development over the lifespan including cognitive abilities, morality, social functioning, identity, and other life areas.
- Forensic psychology
is an applied field focused on using psychological research and principles in the legal and criminal justice system.
- Industrial-organizational psychology
is a field that uses psychological research to enhance work performance and select employees.
- Personality psychology
focuses on understanding how personality develops as well as the patterns of thoughts, behaviors, and characteristics that make each individual unique.
- Social psychology
focuses on group behavior, social influences on individual behavior, attitudes, prejudice, conformity, aggression, and related topics.
Impact of Psychology
Psychology is both an applied and academic field that benefits both individuals and society as a whole. A large part of psychology is devoted to the diagnosis and treatment of mental health issues, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the impact of psychology.
Some of the ways that psychology contributes to individuals and society include:
- Improving our understanding of why people behave as they do as well
- Understanding the different factors that can impact the human mind and behavior
- Understanding issues that impact health, daily life, and well-being
- Improving ergonomics to improve product design
- Creating safer and more efficient workspaces
- Helping motivate people to achieve their goals
- Improving productivity