Wednesday, 12 October 2011

What is Psychology and Why it is Important

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What is Psychology and Why it is Important

The word psychology comes from two words, psyche and logos. The first, psyche, can be translated from Greek into “breath of life”, while logos means knowledge or study. Therefore psychology was originally understood as the study of the mind. Behaviorists such as B.F. Skinner and H.B. Watson stated that it was impossible to study the mind, and “even trying to define ‘mind’ is very difficult” (Benson 4). Modern psychologists choose to “concentrate on what is observable and measurable in a persons behavior...thus, a commonly accepted ‘working definition’ is psychology is the study of the mind and behavior of humans and animals” (Benson 5).

Because psychology is such a broad science, there are several sub-levels, including clinical psychology, developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, and social psychology (Wu 1), each concentrating on the various areas of the science.

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The common question “Is psychology a science?” is frequently asked. Scientists are known for working with the scientific method, creating experiments and studying the causes and effects of the situation, however the practice of performing experiments in a lab is not convenient when your subject is the brain of another human being. “In general, Psychologists can’t research on human beings in the same way that, for example, a Chemist researches chemicals” (Benson ).

Therefore Psychologists must approach the task of studying their science with an alternative method called methodology. “In practice, there are 5 methods of research that a Psychologist can choose from, experiment, observation, survey, case study, and correlation” (Benson 10).

The magazine I removed from the school to write this essay is titled Psychology Today. Just by glancing at the table of contents it is clear how extensive the science is. Articles ranging from the brain and how people could be hard wired to overeat, education and how a clean house produces smart kids, inner peace and how society is disconnected from its natural roots. The benefits of brain food, understanding teen sexuality, and marriage therapy are all small segments in the vast world of psychology. So, aside from the obvious repairing of mental illnesses, psychology is used in sections of everyday life (Epstein 1, ).

One of the reasons I am so attracted to psychology is to find out what makes us special as humans. We are all unique and what motivates us differs from one life to the next. To be curious, to attempt to understand who we are is to wonder we all attempt to grasp at some point or another. I find it my duty to take this class and hopefully someday when revealing the complexities of the mind I may discover who I am.

Work Cited

Benson, Nigel C.. Introducing Psychology. New York Totem Books, 1.

Epstein, Robert. Psychology Today July/August 001 1, .

Wu, Shelley. About Psychology About.com About, Inc.. 0 Feb. 00 http//psychology.about.com/library/weekly/aa010100a.htm

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