Is it not amazing how humans behave? We do and say the most weird things, you would even wonder if we are of this world. You would agree with me that psychology is an interesting topic and a diverse one for that matter.
Now, I and many people who have taken the course psychology that it carries a lot of misconceptions, my favorite being that Psychologists read peoples minds and know exactly what they are thinking, and for sure many times when I reveal that I have studied psychology the first thing people say is “So you can tell what am thinking about now?”, “ I am not going to be found with you cause you will be reading my mind.” And at times to just scare them a little I agree to what they think, then tell them the truth after some time. The premise that Psychologists can read your mind is not accurate, they just have extra knowledge about human behavior which allows them to predict behavior to a certain degree.
Let me be quick to mention that Psychology cannot be separated from philosophy as a vast history of psychology is rooted in it, yet that is another topic on its own. The word psychology comes from two Greek words, Psyche= meaning soul and Logos= meaning to study. Through its organization, psychology has been defined in many ways yet I seek that we define it as the scientific study of mental processes and human behavior. This basically means that psychology seeks to know why people think the way the think and why they do the things that they do. It also looks at things like attention, cognition, decision making, learning, language, taste inclusive of all the senses. These collectively are referred to as mental processes. Behavior is defined as expressions of an individual’s experience. They may be outwardly expressed (Overt behavior) such as anger, fear, and disgust or be inwardly expressed and felt such as love, hostility, and anxiety. The study of psychology helps us to better understand the world. We can understand the cause of events and behaviors and we can understand how and why people are so different from each other.
When we talk about studying mental processes and behavior, we attest that this is broad filed because we are saying that psychology is connected to everything we do, and anything you are interested in, psychology can help you understand. Because its so broad, it will be good for us to break it down to its sub-fields. Lets begin by looking at Cognitive psychology which focuses on cognition or in other terms thoughts. It looks at questions like how do thoughts influence us? How do they influence our emotional state or our decision making or our behavior?
We also have evolutionary psychology. Psychologists in this subfield want to know how our thinking and behavior has been shaped over billions and millions of years of evolution or how certain patterns have been selected for over time.
Developmental psychology wants to know how we change over time (grow) but they look at a much more shorter period than evolutionary psychologists. They look at changes from infancy to adolescence or from adolescence to adulthood. It basically looks at the human life span.
We also have neuro science and it is focused on studying the brain and brain activity. This is obviously connected to our thinking so psychologists in this field look at brain waves and how they connect to thought and this would be placed under cognitive neuroscience. The focus can also be placed on behavior and brain activity and that would be called behavioral neuroscience.
Many of the aforementioned approaches focus on individuals but we can also consider how a group affects our thoughts and behavior. This is where the field of social psychology comes in to examine how and why our thoughts are influenced by a group.
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And lastly, though this is not an exhaustive list and presented in no particular order of importance, we have abnormal psychology and this is the field most people associate psychology with. This field seeks to study thoughts and behavior that are considered abnormal (not normal).
The subfields are placed into two main branches which are experimental psychology and applied psychology. Experimental psychology deals with research and answers the questions “why?” and “what?”. As the word suggests, applied psychology applies the research from experimental psychology and answers the question “how?” How can I make the world a better place. This is where you find counselors, clinical psychologists, therapists, behavioral analysts to mention a few.
As you can see psychology goes into many different directions and psychology with Muna will endeavor to tackle as much ground as possible. You expect to learn about mental health, memory and how to improve it, study tips and many other interesting psychology topics. Let me conclude with the words of Job in Job 38:36 “ Who has put wisdom in the mind? Or who has given understanding to the heart? “ Let us seek to have wisdom in the working of the mind.