Psychology is the study of people’s behavior, performance, mind and mental health. The term ‘psychology” consists of the greek words psyche, meaning soul, and logos, meaning science or study. Greek philosophers therefore defined psychology as study of mind. This definition however, was rejected by later philosophers and psychologists, as it stressed too strongly on the ‘soul’, an arbitrary concept which was too obscure and subjective to be understood as a science. Over the years, psychology has gained credence and popularity, becoming an important subject of today. When people are asked what they think of psychology, most of them respond with terms like mind reading, behavioral manipulation, neuroscience, and so on, but little do they know that psychology is a part daily life; it deals with problems faced by everyone.
The mind operates based on perception and impulsion, and most of its functions take place without our conscious realisation or effort. To control the mind, one has to go deep into the subconscious mind, and master our id and superego. Being learned in psychology, thus, helps us gain control of everything we do, our impulses, response to stressful situations, and so on. It help us understand everything that we decide consciously or subconsciously; from the color of clothes we wear, the food we eat, to the way feel about a person, psychology is a part of our day to day lives. Even at a brief glance, one can evince the need of psychology in routine situations. In the workspace, one needs to understand the psychology of the organisation and get along with one’s colleagues. In the personal sphere, one needs to navigate complex family and social dynamics. These can all be achieved by understanding the basic behaviour of the people around us, and applying critical thinking skills that one learns through psychology. These also help one stay motivated, move on from failure, handle stressful situations, and be more productive.
To understand human psychology, one first needs to understand human behavior. Behavior is a broad concept. It can be any action which can be seen or observed in an objective way. It not only refers to physical activities such as walking, dancing, fighting, talking, writing, but also mental activities such as thinking, reasoning, remembering, imagining, and emotional activities such as feeling love, joy, anger, sympathy, hate and fear. Psychology enables us to discover the root cause of our behaviour, which allows us to optimise our goals, improve ourselves, and build better relationships with others.
Psychologists study the mind and the behavior through observation, scientific method and principles. They apply their knowledge in various areas such as education, law, health and sports, and can specialize in various branches of psychology. Clinical psychology deals with the therapeutic aspect of mental disorders, and promotes adaptation, adjustment, and personal development while cognitive psychology focuses on the individual’s internal mental state, and deals with how people think, learn and remember. Developmental psychology focuses on how people change and grow, encompassing the areas of physical growth, intellectual development, emotional changes, and social growth. A relatively more uncommon field of application is forensic psychology, which deals with the issues related to psychology and law, studying criminal behavior and works with the courts. In contrast, neuropsychology is the most evident area of practice, and studies the structure and function of the brain in relation to behaviors and psychological processes, and social psychology, that uses scientific methods to understand how social influences impact humans. It observes the effect of diverse behavior such as group behavior, social interactions, leadership, nonverbal communications and social influences on decision making.
Due to the widespread ambit of the functions of psychology, it is no surprise that the employment rate and demand for psychologists has risen rapidly over the last few decades. While most parents encourage pursuit of professional endeavours in fields of law, medicine and engineering, turning to real-life applications of social sciences can now have promising prospects.
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