The word Psychology comes from Greek work ‘Psych’ which means ‘soul, spirit’ and Greek word logia means detail study of something. So, psychology means study of the spirit or soul. There are various definitions of psychology given by different psychologists as per their understanding and research in this discipline. Psychology is considered the scientific study of the human mind, mental processes and human behavior.
Psychology has not been a separate discipline until late 1800s, when a German Physiologist named Wilhelm Wundt was using scientific research methods to investigate variation in the reaction times of people through observations. He opened the world’s first Psychology lab in 1879 at University of Leipzig. After the establishment of lab, psychology was considered as a separate discipline and studied accordingly. Wundt perceived psychology as the study of human consciousness and his method like introspection which may not sound scientific today, helped setting the stage for further research in this discipline.
Sigmund Freud was one of the most influential psychologists in twenties. He has given a major contribution in this field. His famous psychoanalytic theory of personality describes that any personality has three elements namely Ego, Superego and Id. And presence of all these 3 elements and their interaction is responsible for the complex behaviors of humans. I will explain this theory in my upcoming articles.
Psychology is a very vast field including many branches. Branches of psychology are broadly classified into two types namely:
- Basic Psychology
- Applied Psychology
Basic Psychology aims at knowing through observing and analyzing the behavior of the person. It is further divided into many sub-branches such as follows:
- Developmental psychology
- Physiological psychology
- Social psychology
- Experimental psychology
- Abnormal psychology
- Cognitive psychology
- Personality psychology
- Psychometric psychology
Applied psychology uses basic psychology as a base in order to improve the quality of life of human being. It includes the following sub-fields:
- Clinical psychology
- Organizational psychology
- Health psychology
- Forensic psychology
- Environmental psychology
- Educational psychology
- Sports and exercise psychology
- Counseling psychology
- Psychology of woman psychology
There are various methods of research to gather the data and facts for the use of the psychologists. They are described as follows:
- Introspection Method: It is the method where the person himself carefully observes his own behavior, feelings, thoughts and emotions. Introspection is many times based on analyzing the current behavior with the help of past experiences in a person’s life. This method is helpful for self observations but cannot be verified by others.
- Descriptive Research Method: It includes 3 methods namely Naturalistic observation where the object is observed in its natural environment, unobstructed by the observer; Case study method where the object is studied in detail and any behavioral data obtained from the object is used to identify the issue with the object; Survey method where questionnaire or interview responses and collected from random sample data and then it is analyzed to identify the behavior, beliefs, opinion of the people.
- Experimental Method: Cause and effect relation is established where the researcher controls the condition and the relation with the variables is observed.
- Developmental Method: It is used to analyze change, growth and consistency throughout the lifespan in which social, moral, physical, emotional characteristics are observed throughout the life of a person.
I will be explaining more in detail about the various theories and fields involved in psychology in my upcoming articles.