Psychology

Psychology

Overview
Psychology is the study of the mind
Mind
The concept of mind is understood in many different ways by many different traditions, ranging from panpsychism and animism to traditional and organized religious views, as well as secular and materialist philosophies. Most agree that minds are constituted by conscious experience and intelligent...

 and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society. In this field, a professional practitioner
Practitioner
A practitioner is someone who engages in an occupation, profession, religion, or way of life.Practitioner may refer to:* Medical practitioner* Justice practitioner* Solitary practitioner, in Wicca and Paganism...

 or researcher is called a psychologist
Psychologist
Psychologist is a professional or academic title used by individuals who are either:* Clinical professionals who work with patients in a variety of therapeutic contexts .* Scientists conducting psychological research or teaching psychology in a college...

, and can be classified as a social scientist
Social Scientist
Social Scientist is a New Delhi based journal in social sciences and humanities published since 1972....

, behavioral scientist, or cognitive scientist. Psychologists attempt to understand the role of mental function
Mental function
Mental processes, mental functions and cognitive processes are terms often used interchangeably to mean such functions or processes as perception, introspection, memory, creativity, imagination, conception, belief, reasoning, volition, and emotion—in...

s in individual and social behavior
Social behavior
In physics, physiology and sociology, social behavior is behavior directed towards society, or taking place between, members of the same species. Behavior such as predation which involves members of different species is not social...

, while also exploring the physiological and neurobiological
Neuroscience
Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system. Traditionally, neuroscience has been seen as a branch of biology. However, it is currently an interdisciplinary science that collaborates with other fields such as chemistry, computer science, engineering, linguistics, mathematics,...

 processes that underlie certain functions and behaviors.

Psychologists explore such concepts as perception
Perception
Perception is the process of attaining awareness or understanding of the environment by organizing and interpreting sensory information. All perception involves signals in the nervous system, which in turn result from physical stimulation of the sense organs...

, cognition
Cognition
In science, cognition refers to mental processes. These processes include attention, remembering, producing and understanding language, solving problems, and making decisions. Cognition is studied in various disciplines such as psychology, philosophy, linguistics, and computer science...

, attention
Attention
Attention is the cognitive process of paying attention to one aspect of the environment while ignoring others. Attention is one of the most intensely studied topics within psychology and cognitive neuroscience....

, emotion
Emotion
Emotion is a complex psychophysiological experience of an individual's state of mind as interacting with biochemical and environmental influences. In humans, emotion fundamentally involves "physiological arousal, expressive behaviors, and conscious experience." Emotion is associated with mood,...

, phenomenology
Phenomenology (psychology)
Phenomenology is an approach to psychological subject matter that has its roots in the philosophical work of Edmund Husserl. Early phenomenologists such as Husserl, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty conducted their own psychological investigations in the early 20th century...

, motivation
Motivation
Motivation is the driving force by which humans achieve their goals. Motivation is said to be intrinsic or extrinsic. The term is generally used for humans but it can also be used to describe the causes for animal behavior as well. This article refers to human motivation...

, brain functioning, personality
Personality psychology
Personality psychology is a branch of psychology that studies personality and individual differences. Its areas of focus include:* Constructing a coherent picture of the individual and his or her major psychological processes...

, behavior
Behavior
Behavior or behaviour refers to the actions and mannerisms made by organisms, systems, or artificial entities in conjunction with its environment, which includes the other systems or organisms around as well as the physical environment...

, and interpersonal relationships
Interpersonal relationship
An interpersonal relationship is an association between two or more people that may range from fleeting to enduring. This association may be based on limerence, love, solidarity, regular business interactions, or some other type of social commitment. Interpersonal relationships are formed in the...

.
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Encyclopedia
Psychology is the study of the mind
Mind
The concept of mind is understood in many different ways by many different traditions, ranging from panpsychism and animism to traditional and organized religious views, as well as secular and materialist philosophies. Most agree that minds are constituted by conscious experience and intelligent...

 and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society. In this field, a professional practitioner
Practitioner
A practitioner is someone who engages in an occupation, profession, religion, or way of life.Practitioner may refer to:* Medical practitioner* Justice practitioner* Solitary practitioner, in Wicca and Paganism...

 or researcher is called a psychologist
Psychologist
Psychologist is a professional or academic title used by individuals who are either:* Clinical professionals who work with patients in a variety of therapeutic contexts .* Scientists conducting psychological research or teaching psychology in a college...

, and can be classified as a social scientist
Social Scientist
Social Scientist is a New Delhi based journal in social sciences and humanities published since 1972....

, behavioral scientist, or cognitive scientist. Psychologists attempt to understand the role of mental function
Mental function
Mental processes, mental functions and cognitive processes are terms often used interchangeably to mean such functions or processes as perception, introspection, memory, creativity, imagination, conception, belief, reasoning, volition, and emotion—in...

s in individual and social behavior
Social behavior
In physics, physiology and sociology, social behavior is behavior directed towards society, or taking place between, members of the same species. Behavior such as predation which involves members of different species is not social...

, while also exploring the physiological and neurobiological
Neuroscience
Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system. Traditionally, neuroscience has been seen as a branch of biology. However, it is currently an interdisciplinary science that collaborates with other fields such as chemistry, computer science, engineering, linguistics, mathematics,...

 processes that underlie certain functions and behaviors.

Psychologists explore such concepts as perception
Perception
Perception is the process of attaining awareness or understanding of the environment by organizing and interpreting sensory information. All perception involves signals in the nervous system, which in turn result from physical stimulation of the sense organs...

, cognition
Cognition
In science, cognition refers to mental processes. These processes include attention, remembering, producing and understanding language, solving problems, and making decisions. Cognition is studied in various disciplines such as psychology, philosophy, linguistics, and computer science...

, attention
Attention
Attention is the cognitive process of paying attention to one aspect of the environment while ignoring others. Attention is one of the most intensely studied topics within psychology and cognitive neuroscience....

, emotion
Emotion
Emotion is a complex psychophysiological experience of an individual's state of mind as interacting with biochemical and environmental influences. In humans, emotion fundamentally involves "physiological arousal, expressive behaviors, and conscious experience." Emotion is associated with mood,...

, phenomenology
Phenomenology (psychology)
Phenomenology is an approach to psychological subject matter that has its roots in the philosophical work of Edmund Husserl. Early phenomenologists such as Husserl, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty conducted their own psychological investigations in the early 20th century...

, motivation
Motivation
Motivation is the driving force by which humans achieve their goals. Motivation is said to be intrinsic or extrinsic. The term is generally used for humans but it can also be used to describe the causes for animal behavior as well. This article refers to human motivation...

, brain functioning, personality
Personality psychology
Personality psychology is a branch of psychology that studies personality and individual differences. Its areas of focus include:* Constructing a coherent picture of the individual and his or her major psychological processes...

, behavior
Behavior
Behavior or behaviour refers to the actions and mannerisms made by organisms, systems, or artificial entities in conjunction with its environment, which includes the other systems or organisms around as well as the physical environment...

, and interpersonal relationships
Interpersonal relationship
An interpersonal relationship is an association between two or more people that may range from fleeting to enduring. This association may be based on limerence, love, solidarity, regular business interactions, or some other type of social commitment. Interpersonal relationships are formed in the...

. Some, especially depth psychologists, also consider the unconscious mind
Unconscious mind
The unconscious mind is a term coined by the 18th century German romantic philosopher Friedrich Schelling and later introduced into English by the poet and essayist Samuel Taylor Coleridge...

. Psychologists employ empirical method
Empirical method
The empirical method is generally taken to mean the approach of using a collection of data to base a theory or derive a conclusion in science...

s to infer causal and correlational relationships between psychosocial variables
Dependent and independent variables
The terms "dependent variable" and "independent variable" are used in similar but subtly different ways in mathematics and statistics as part of the standard terminology in those subjects...

. In addition
Eclecticism
Eclecticism is a conceptual approach that does not hold rigidly to a single paradigm or set of assumptions, but instead draws upon multiple theories, styles, or ideas to gain complementary insights into a subject, or applies different theories in particular cases.It can sometimes seem inelegant or...

, or in opposition
Antipositivism
Antipositivism is the view in social science that the social realm may not be subject to the same methods of investigation as the natural world; that academics must reject empiricism and the scientific method in the conduct of research...

, to employing empirical
Empirical
The word empirical denotes information gained by means of observation or experimentation. Empirical data are data produced by an experiment or observation....

 and deductive methods, some—especially clinical
Clinical psychology
Clinical psychology is an integration of science, theory and clinical knowledge for the purpose of understanding, preventing, and relieving psychologically-based distress or dysfunction and to promote subjective well-being and personal development...

 and counseling
Counseling psychology
Counseling psychology is a psychological specialty that encompasses research and applied work in several broad domains: counseling process and outcome; supervision and training; career development and counseling; and prevention and health...

 psychologists—at times rely upon symbolic interpretation and other inductive
Inductive reasoning
Inductive reasoning, also known as induction or inductive logic, is a kind of reasoning that constructs or evaluates propositions that are abstractions of observations. It is commonly construed as a form of reasoning that makes generalizations based on individual instances...

 techniques. Psychology incorporates research from the social sciences
Social sciences
Social science is the field of study concerned with society. "Social science" is commonly used as an umbrella term to refer to a plurality of fields outside of the natural sciences usually exclusive of the administrative or managerial sciences...

, natural sciences, and humanities
Humanities
The humanities are academic disciplines that study the human condition, using methods that are primarily analytical, critical, or speculative, as distinguished from the mainly empirical approaches of the natural sciences....

, such as philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

.
While psychological knowledge
Knowledge
Knowledge is a familiarity with someone or something unknown, which can include information, facts, descriptions, or skills acquired through experience or education. It can refer to the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject...

 is often applied
Applied science
Applied science is the application of scientific knowledge transferred into a physical environment. Examples include testing a theoretical model through the use of formal science or solving a practical problem through the use of natural science....

 to the assessment and treatment
Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy is a general term referring to any form of therapeutic interaction or treatment contracted between a trained professional and a client or patient; family, couple or group...

 of mental health
Mental health
Mental health describes either a level of cognitive or emotional well-being or an absence of a mental disorder. From perspectives of the discipline of positive psychology or holism mental health may include an individual's ability to enjoy life and procure a balance between life activities and...

 problems
Psychopathology
Psychopathology is the study of mental illness, mental distress, and abnormal/maladaptive behavior. The term is most commonly used within psychiatry where pathology refers to disease processes...

, it is also applied to understanding and solving problems in many different spheres of human activity
Human behavior
Human behavior refers to the range of behaviors exhibited by humans and which are influenced by culture, attitudes, emotions, values, ethics, authority, rapport, hypnosis, persuasion, coercion and/or genetics....

. Although the majority of psychologists are involved in some kind of therapeutic role (clinical, counseling
Counseling psychology
Counseling psychology is a psychological specialty that encompasses research and applied work in several broad domains: counseling process and outcome; supervision and training; career development and counseling; and prevention and health...

, and school
School psychology
School psychology is a field that applies principles of clinical psychology and educational psychology to the diagnosis and treatment of children's and adolescents' behavioral and learning problems...

 positions), many do scientific research on a wide range of topics related to mental processes and behavior (typically in university psychology departments) or teach such knowledge in academic settings; and some are employed in industrial and organizational
Industrial and organizational psychology
Industrial and organizational psychology is the scientific study of employees, workplaces, and organizations. Industrial and organizational psychologists contribute to an organization's success by improving the performance and well-being of its people...

 settings, and in other areas such as human development and aging
Developmental psychology
Developmental psychology, also known as human development, is the scientific study of systematic psychological changes, emotional changes, and perception changes that occur in human beings over the course of their life span. Originally concerned with infants and children, the field has expanded to...

, sports
Sport psychology
Sport psychology is an interdisciplinary science that draws on knowledge from the fields of kinesiology and psychology. It involves the study of how psychological factors affect performance and how participation in sport and exercise affect psychological and physical factors...

, health
Health psychology
Health psychology is concerned with understanding how biological, psychological, environmental, and cultural factors are involved in physical health and illness. Health psychologists work alongside other medical professionals in clinical settings, work on behavior change in public health promotion,...

, the media
Media Psychology
Media Psychology seeks an understanding of how people perceive, interpret, use, and respond to a media-rich world. In doing so, media psychologists can identify potential benefits and problems and promote the development of positive media ....

, law
Legal psychology
Legal psychology involves empirical, psychological research of the law, legal institutions, and people who come into contact with the law. Legal psychologists typically take basic social and cognitive principles and apply them to issues in the legal system such as eyewitness memory, jury...

, and forensics
Forensic psychology
Forensic psychology is the intersection between psychology and the criminal justice system. It involves understanding criminal law in the relevant jurisdictions in order to be able to interact appropriately with judges, attorneys and other legal professionals...

.

Etymology


The word psychology literally means, "the study of the soul" (ψυχή, psukhē, meaning "breath", "spirit", or "soul"; and -λογία -logia, translated as "study of" or "research"). The Latin word psychologia was first used by the Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

n humanist
Humanism
Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, world view or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. In philosophy and social science, humanism is a perspective which affirms some notion of human nature, and is contrasted with anti-humanism....

 and Latinist
Croatian latinistic literature
Croatian Latinism or Croatian Latin literature is a term that refers to the literary works written in the Latin language, which evolved on present-day Croatia since the 9th century. Since that time, both public and private documents have been written in a local variant of medieval Latin...

 Marko Marulić
Marko Marulic
Marko Marulić |Split]], 18 August 1450 – Split, 5 January 1524) was a Croatian national poet and Christian humanist, known as the Crown of the Croatian Medieval Age and the father of the Croatian Renaissance. He signed his works as Marko Marulić Splićanin , Marko Pečenić, Marcus Marulus ...

 in his book, Psichiologia de ratione animae humanae in the late 15th century or early 16th century. The earliest known reference to the word psychology in English was by Steven Blankaart
Steven Blankaart
Steven Blankaart , was a Dutch physician, Iatrochemist, and entomologist, who worked on the same field as Jan Swammerdam. Blankaart proved the existence of a capillary system, as had been suggested by Leonardo da Vinci, by spouting up bloodvessels, though he failed to realize the true significance...

 in 1694 in The Physical Dictionary which refers to "Anatomy, which treats of the Body, and Psychology, which treats of the Soul."

History




The study of psychology in a philosophical context dates back to the ancient civilizations of Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

, Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

, China
History of China
Chinese civilization originated in various regional centers along both the Yellow River and the Yangtze River valleys in the Neolithic era, but the Yellow River is said to be the Cradle of Chinese Civilization. With thousands of years of continuous history, China is one of the world's oldest...

, India
History of India
The history of India begins with evidence of human activity of Homo sapiens as long as 75,000 years ago, or with earlier hominids including Homo erectus from about 500,000 years ago. The Indus Valley Civilization, which spread and flourished in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent from...

, and Persia. Historians point to the writings of ancient Greek philosophers, such as Thales
Thales
Thales of Miletus was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher from Miletus in Asia Minor, and one of the Seven Sages of Greece. Many, most notably Aristotle, regard him as the first philosopher in the Greek tradition...

, Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

, and Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 (especially in his De Anima
On the Soul
On the Soul is a major treatise by Aristotle on the nature of living things. His discussion centres on the kinds of souls possessed by different kinds of living things, distinguished by their different operations...

treatise), as the first significant body of work in the West to be rich in psychological thought.

Structuralism



German physician Wilhelm Wundt
Wilhelm Wundt
Wilhelm Maximilian Wundt was a German physician, psychologist, physiologist, philosopher, and professor, known today as one of the founding figures of modern psychology. He is widely regarded as the "father of experimental psychology"...

 is credited with introducing psychological discovery into a laboratory
Laboratory
A laboratory is a facility that provides controlled conditions in which scientific research, experiments, and measurement may be performed. The title of laboratory is also used for certain other facilities where the processes or equipment used are similar to those in scientific laboratories...

 setting. Known as the "father of experimental psychology
Experimental psychology
Experimental psychology is a methodological approach, rather than a subject, and encompasses varied fields within psychology. Experimental psychologists have traditionally conducted research, published articles, and taught classes on neuroscience, developmental psychology, sensation, perception,...

", he founded the first psychological laboratory, at Leipzig University, in 1879. Wundt focused on breaking down mental processes into the most basic components. Although not himself a structuralist, his student Edward Titchener, a major figure in early American psychology, was a structuralist thinker opposed to functionalist approaches.

Functionalism



Functionalism formed as a reaction to the theories of the structuralist school of thought and was heavily influenced by the work of the American philosopher, scientist and psychologist William James
William James
William James was a pioneering American psychologist and philosopher who was trained as a physician. He wrote influential books on the young science of psychology, educational psychology, psychology of religious experience and mysticism, and on the philosophy of pragmatism...

. James felt that psychology should have practical value, and that psychologists should find out how the mind can function to a person's benefit. In his book, Principles of Psychology
Principles of Psychology
The Principles of Psychology is a monumental text in the history of psychology, written by William James and published in 1890.There were four methods in James' psychology: analysis , introspection , experiment The Principles of Psychology is a monumental text in the history of psychology, written...

, published in 1890, he laid the foundations for many of the questions that psychologists would explore for years to come. Other major functionalist thinkers included John Dewey
John Dewey
John Dewey was an American philosopher, psychologist and educational reformer whose ideas have been influential in education and social reform. Dewey was an important early developer of the philosophy of pragmatism and one of the founders of functional psychology...

 and Harvey Carr.

Other 19th-century contributors to the field include the German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus
Hermann Ebbinghaus
Hermann Ebbinghaus was a German psychologist who pioneered the experimental study of memory, and is known for his discovery of the forgetting curve and the spacing effect. He was also the first person to describe the learning curve...

, a pioneer in the experimental study of memory
Memory
In psychology, memory is an organism's ability to store, retain, and recall information and experiences. Traditional studies of memory began in the fields of philosophy, including techniques of artificially enhancing memory....

, who developed quantitative models of learning and forgetting at the University of Berlin; and the Russian-Soviet physiologist Ivan Pavlov
Ivan Pavlov
Ivan Petrovich Pavlov was a famous Russian physiologist. Although he made significant contributions to psychology, he was not in fact a psychologist himself but was a mathematician and actually had strong distaste for the field....

, who discovered in dogs a learning process that was later termed "classical conditioning
Classical conditioning
Classical conditioning is a form of conditioning that was first demonstrated by Ivan Pavlov...

" and applied to human beings.

Starting in the 1950s, the experimental techniques set forth by Wundt, James, Ebbinghaus, and others would be reiterated as experimental psychology became increasingly cognitive—concerned with information
Information
Information in its most restricted technical sense is a message or collection of messages that consists of an ordered sequence of symbols, or it is the meaning that can be interpreted from such a message or collection of messages. Information can be recorded or transmitted. It can be recorded as...

 and its processing
Information processing
Information processing is the change of information in any manner detectable by an observer. As such, it is a process which describes everything which happens in the universe, from the falling of a rock to the printing of a text file from a digital computer system...

—and, eventually, constituted a part of the wider cognitive science
Cognitive science
Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary scientific study of mind and its processes. It examines what cognition is, what it does and how it works. It includes research on how information is processed , represented, and transformed in behaviour, nervous system or machine...

. In its early years, this development had been seen as a "revolution
Cognitive revolution
The cognitive revolution is the name for an intellectual movement in the 1950s that began what are known collectively as the cognitive sciences. It began in the modern context of greater interdisciplinary communication and research...

", as it both responded to and reacted against strains of thought—including psychodynamics
Psychodynamics
Psychodynamics is the theory and systematic study of the psychological forces that underlie human behavior, especially the dynamic relations between conscious motivation and unconscious motivation...

 and behaviorism
Behaviorism
Behaviorism , also called the learning perspective , is a philosophy of psychology based on the proposition that all things that organisms do—including acting, thinking, and feeling—can and should be regarded as behaviors, and that psychological disorders are best treated by altering behavior...

—that had developed in the meantime.

Psychoanalysis



From the 1890s until his death in 1939, the Austrian physician Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...

 developed psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis is a psychological theory developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud. Psychoanalysis has expanded, been criticized and developed in different directions, mostly by some of Freud's former students, such as Alfred Adler and Carl Gustav...

, a method of investigation of the mind and the way one thinks; a systematized set of theories about human behavior; and a form of psychotherapy
Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy is a general term referring to any form of therapeutic interaction or treatment contracted between a trained professional and a client or patient; family, couple or group...

 to treat psychological or emotional distress, especially unconscious conflict. Freud's psychoanalytic theory was largely based on interpretive methods, introspection
Introspection
Introspection is the self-observation and reporting of conscious inner thoughts, desires and sensations. It is a conscious and purposive process relying on thinking, reasoning, and examining one's own thoughts, feelings, and, in more spiritual cases, one's soul...

 and clinical observations. It became very well known, largely because it tackled subjects such as sexuality
Human sexuality
Human sexuality is the awareness of gender differences, and the capacity to have erotic experiences and responses. Human sexuality can also be described as the way someone is sexually attracted to another person whether it is to opposite sexes , to the same sex , to either sexes , or not being...

, repression
Psychological repression
Psychological repression, also psychic repression or simply repression, is the psychological attempt by an individual to repel one's own desires and impulses towards pleasurable instincts by excluding the desire from one's consciousness and holding or subduing it in the unconscious...

, and the unconscious mind
Unconscious mind
The unconscious mind is a term coined by the 18th century German romantic philosopher Friedrich Schelling and later introduced into English by the poet and essayist Samuel Taylor Coleridge...

 as general aspects of psychological development. These were largely considered taboo
Taboo
A taboo is a strong social prohibition relating to any area of human activity or social custom that is sacred and or forbidden based on moral judgment, religious beliefs and or scientific consensus. Breaking the taboo is usually considered objectionable or abhorrent by society...

 subjects at the time, and Freud provided a catalyst for them to be openly discussed in polite society. Clinically, Freud helped to pioneer the method of free association
Free association (psychology)
Free association is a technique used in psychoanalysis which was originally devised by Sigmund Freud out of the hypnotic method of his mentor and coworker, Josef Breuer....

 and a therapeutic interest in dream interpretation
Dream interpretation
Dream interpretation is the process of assigning meaning to dreams. In many ancient societies, such as those of Egypt and Greece, dreaming was considered a supernatural communication or a means of divine intervention, whose message could be unravelled by people with certain powers...

.


Freud had a significant influence on Swiss psychiatrist
Psychiatry
Psychiatry is the medical specialty devoted to the study and treatment of mental disorders. These mental disorders include various affective, behavioural, cognitive and perceptual abnormalities...

 Carl Jung
Carl Jung
Carl Gustav Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist and the founder of Analytical Psychology. Jung is considered the first modern psychiatrist to view the human psyche as "by nature religious" and make it the focus of exploration. Jung is one of the best known researchers in the field of dream analysis and...

, whose analytical psychology
Analytical psychology
Analytical psychology is the school of psychology originating from the ideas of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung. His theoretical orientation has been advanced by his students and other thinkers who followed in his tradition. Though they share similarities, analytical psychology is distinct from...

 became an alternative form of depth psychology
Depth psychology
Historically, depth psychology, from a German term , was coined by Eugen Bleuler to refer to psychoanalytic approaches to therapy and research that take the unconscious into account. The term has come to refer to the ongoing development of theories and therapies pioneered by Pierre Janet, William...

. Other well-known psychoanalytic scholars of the mid-20th century included psychoanalysts, psychologists, psychiatrists, and philosophers. Among these thinkers were Erik Erikson
Erik Erikson
Erik Erikson was a Danish-German-American developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst known for his theory on social development of human beings. He may be most famous for coining the phrase identity crisis. His son, Kai T...

, Melanie Klein
Melanie Klein
Melanie Reizes Klein was an Austrian-born British psychoanalyst who devised novel therapeutic techniques for children that had an impact on child psychology and contemporary psychoanalysis...

, D.W. Winnicott
Donald Winnicott
Donald Woods Winnicott was an English paediatrician and psychoanalyst who was especially influential in the field of object relations theory. He was a leading member of the British Independent Group of the British Psychoanalytic Society, and a close associate of Marion Milner...

, Karen Horney
Karen Horney
Karen Horney born Danielsen was a German-American psychoanalyst. Her theories questioned some traditional Freudian views, particularly his theory of sexuality, as well as the instinct orientation of psychoanalysis and its genetic psychology...

, Erich Fromm
Erich Fromm
Erich Seligmann Fromm was a Jewish German-American social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, humanistic philosopher, and democratic socialist. He was associated with what became known as the Frankfurt School of critical theory.-Life:Erich Fromm was born on March 23, 1900, at Frankfurt am...

, John Bowlby
John Bowlby
Edward John Mostyn "John" Bowlby was a British psychologist, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, notable for his interest in child development and for his pioneering work in attachment theory.- Family background :...

, and Sigmund Freud's daughter, Anna Freud
Anna Freud
Anna Freud was the sixth and last child of Sigmund and Martha Freud. Born in Vienna, she followed the path of her father and contributed to the newly born field of psychoanalysis...

. Throughout the 20th century, psychoanalysis evolved into diverse schools of thought, most of which may be classed as Neo-Freudian
Neo-Freudian
The Neo-Freudian psychiatrists and psychologists were a group of loosely linked American theorists of the mid-twentieth century, who were all influenced by Sigmund Freud, but who extended his theories, often in social or cultural directions...

.

Psychoanalytic theory and therapy were criticized by psychologists such as Hans Eysenck
Hans Eysenck
Hans Jürgen Eysenck was a German-British psychologist who spent most of his career in Britain, best remembered for his work on intelligence and personality, though he worked in a wide range of areas...

, and by philosophers including Karl Popper
Karl Popper
Sir Karl Raimund Popper, CH FRS FBA was an Austro-British philosopher and a professor at the London School of Economics...

. Popper, a philosopher of science, argued that psychoanalysis had been misrepresented as a scientific discipline, whereas Eysenck said that psychoanalytic tenets had been contradicted by experiment
Experiment
An experiment is a methodical procedure carried out with the goal of verifying, falsifying, or establishing the validity of a hypothesis. Experiments vary greatly in their goal and scale, but always rely on repeatable procedure and logical analysis of the results...

al data. By the 20th century, psychology departments in American universities had become scientifically oriented
Positivism
Positivism is a a view of scientific methods and a philosophical approach, theory, or system based on the view that, in the social as well as natural sciences, sensory experiences and their logical and mathematical treatment are together the exclusive source of all worthwhile information....

, marginalizing Freudian theory and dismissing it as a "desiccated and dead" historical artifact. Meanwhile, however, researchers in the emerging field of neuro-psychoanalysis
Neuro-Psychoanalysis
Neuro-psychoanalysis is a movement within neuroscience and psychoanalysis to combine the insights of both disciplines for a better understanding of mind and brain.-Theoretical Base: Dual Aspect Monism:...

 defended some of Freud's ideas on scientific grounds, while scholars of the humanities
Humanities
The humanities are academic disciplines that study the human condition, using methods that are primarily analytical, critical, or speculative, as distinguished from the mainly empirical approaches of the natural sciences....

 maintained that Freud was not a "scientist at all, but ... an interpreter."

Behaviorism




In the United States, behaviorism became the dominant school of thought during the 1950s. Behaviorism is a discipline that was established in the early 20th century by John B. Watson
John B. Watson
John Broadus Watson was an American psychologist who established the psychological school of behaviorism. Watson promoted a change in psychology through his address Psychology as the Behaviorist Views it which was given at Columbia University in 1913...

, and embraced and extended by Edward Thorndike
Edward Thorndike
Edward Lee "Ted" Thorndike was an American psychologist who spent nearly his entire career at Teachers College, Columbia University. His work on animal behavior and the learning process led to the theory of connectionism and helped lay the scientific foundation for modern educational psychology...

, Clark L. Hull
Clark L. Hull
Clark Leonard Hull was an influential American psychologist who sought to explain learning and motivation by scientific laws of behavior. Born in Akron, New York, Hull obtained bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Michigan, and in 1918 a PhD from the University of...

, Edward C. Tolman
Edward C. Tolman
Edward Chace Tolman was an American psychologist. He was most famous for his studies on behavioral psychology....

, and later B.F. Skinner. Theories of learning emphasized the ways in which people might be predisposed, or conditioned, by their environments to behave in certain ways.

Classical conditioning
Classical conditioning
Classical conditioning is a form of conditioning that was first demonstrated by Ivan Pavlov...

 was an early behaviorist model. It posited that behavioral tendencies are determined by immediate associations between various environmental stimuli and the degree of pleasure or pain that follows. Behavioral patterns, then, were understood to consist of organisms' conditioned responses to the stimuli in their environment. The stimuli were held to exert influence in proportion to their prior repetition or to the previous intensity of their associated pain
Pain
Pain is an unpleasant sensation often caused by intense or damaging stimuli such as stubbing a toe, burning a finger, putting iodine on a cut, and bumping the "funny bone."...

 or pleasure
Pleasure
Pleasure describes the broad class of mental states that humans and other animals experience as positive, enjoyable, or worth seeking. It includes more specific mental states such as happiness, entertainment, enjoyment, ecstasy, and euphoria...

. Much research consisted of laboratory-based animal experimentation, which was increasing in popularity as physiology
Physiology
Physiology is the science of the function of living systems. This includes how organisms, organ systems, organs, cells, and bio-molecules carry out the chemical or physical functions that exist in a living system. The highest honor awarded in physiology is the Nobel Prize in Physiology or...

 grew more sophisticated.

Skinner's behaviorism shared with its predecessors a philosophical inclination toward positivism
Positivism
Positivism is a a view of scientific methods and a philosophical approach, theory, or system based on the view that, in the social as well as natural sciences, sensory experiences and their logical and mathematical treatment are together the exclusive source of all worthwhile information....

 and determinism
Determinism
Determinism is the general philosophical thesis that states that for everything that happens there are conditions such that, given them, nothing else could happen. There are many versions of this thesis. Each of them rests upon various alleged connections, and interdependencies of things and...

. He believed that the contents of the mind were not open to scientific scrutiny and that scientific psychology should emphasize the study of observable behavior. He focused on behavior–environment relations and analyzed overt and covert (i.e., private) behavior as a function of the organism interacting with its environment. Behaviorists usually rejected or deemphasized dualistic
Dualism (philosophy of mind)
In philosophy of mind, dualism is a set of views about the relationship between mind and matter, which begins with the claim that mental phenomena are, in some respects, non-physical....

 explanations such as "mind" or "consciousness"; and, in lieu of probing an "unconscious mind" that underlies unawareness, they spoke of the "contingency-shaped behaviors" in which unawareness becomes outwardly manifest.

Among the behaviorists' most famous creations are John B. Watson's Little Albert experiment
Little Albert experiment
The Little Albert experiment was a case study showing empirical evidence of classical conditioning in humans. This study was also an example of stimulus generalization. It was conducted in 1920 by John B. Watson along with his assistant Rosalie Rayner. The study was done at Johns Hopkins...

, which applied classical conditioning to the developing human child, and Skinner's notion of operant conditioning
Operant conditioning
Operant conditioning is a form of psychological learning during which an individual modifies the occurrence and form of its own behavior due to the association of the behavior with a stimulus...

, which acknowledged that human agency could affect patterns and cycles of environmental stimuli and behavioral responses.

Linguist Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky
Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, and activist. He is an Institute Professor and Professor in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT, where he has worked for over 50 years. Chomsky has been described as the "father of modern linguistics" and...

's critique of the behaviorist model of language acquisition
Language acquisition
Language acquisition is the process by which humans acquire the capacity to perceive, produce and use words to understand and communicate. This capacity involves the picking up of diverse capacities including syntax, phonetics, and an extensive vocabulary. This language might be vocal as with...

 is widely regarded as a key factor in the decline of behaviorism's prominence. Martin Seligman
Martin Seligman
Martin E. P. "Marty" Seligman is an American psychologist, educator, and author of self-help books. His theory of "learned helplessness" is widely respected among scientific psychologists....

 and colleagues discovered that the conditioning of dogs led to outcomes ("learned helplessness
Learned helplessness
Learned helplessness, as a technical term in animal psychology and related human psychology, means a condition of a human person or an animal in which it has learned to behave helplessly, even when the opportunity is restored for it to help itself by avoiding an unpleasant or harmful circumstance...

") that opposed the predictions of behaviorism. But Skinner's behaviorism did not die, perhaps in part because it generated successful practical applications. The fall of behaviorism as an overarching model in psychology, however, gave way to a new dominant paradigm: cognitive approaches.

Humanism




Humanistic psychology
Humanistic psychology
Humanistic psychology is a psychological perspective which rose to prominence in the mid-20th century, drawing on the work of early pioneers like Carl Rogers and the philosophies of existentialism and phenomenology...

 was developed in the 1950s in reaction to both behaviorism
Behaviorism
Behaviorism , also called the learning perspective , is a philosophy of psychology based on the proposition that all things that organisms do—including acting, thinking, and feeling—can and should be regarded as behaviors, and that psychological disorders are best treated by altering behavior...

 and psychoanalysis. By using phenomenology
Phenomenology (psychology)
Phenomenology is an approach to psychological subject matter that has its roots in the philosophical work of Edmund Husserl. Early phenomenologists such as Husserl, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty conducted their own psychological investigations in the early 20th century...

, intersubjectivity
Intersubjectivity
Intersubjectivity is a term used in philosophy, psychology, sociology and anthropology to describe a condition somewhere between subjectivity and objectivity, one in which a phenomenon is personally experienced but by more than one subject....

 and first-person categories, the humanistic approach sought to glimpse the whole person—not just the fragmented parts of the personality or cognitive functioning. Humanism focused on fundamentally and uniquely human issues, such as individual free will, personal growth, self-actualization, self-identity
Self-concept
Self-concept is a multi-dimensional construct that refers to an individual's perception of "self" in relation to any number of characteristics, such as academics , gender roles and sexuality, racial identity, and many others. Each of these characteristics is a research domain Self-concept (also...

, death
Death
Death is the permanent termination of the biological functions that sustain a living organism. Phenomena which commonly bring about death include old age, predation, malnutrition, disease, and accidents or trauma resulting in terminal injury....

, aloneness, freedom
Free will
"To make my own decisions whether I am successful or not due to uncontrollable forces" -Troy MorrisonA pragmatic definition of free willFree will is the ability of agents to make choices free from certain kinds of constraints. The existence of free will and its exact nature and definition have long...

, and meaning
Meaning (existential)
In existentialism, meaning is understood as the worth of life. Meaning in existentialism is unlike typical conceptions of "the meaning of life", because it is descriptive. Due to the method of existentialism, prescriptive or declarative statements about meaning are unjustified. Meaning is only...

. The humanistic approach was distinguished by its emphasis on subjective meaning, rejection of determinism, and concern for positive growth rather than pathology. Some of the founders of the humanistic school of thought were American psychologists Abraham Maslow
Abraham Maslow
Abraham Harold Maslow was an American professor of psychology at Brandeis University, Brooklyn College, New School for Social Research and Columbia University who created Maslow's hierarchy of needs...

, who formulated a hierarchy of human needs
Maslow's hierarchy of needs
Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology, proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper A Theory of Human Motivation. Maslow subsequently extended the idea to include his observations of humans' innate curiosity...

, and Carl Rogers
Carl Rogers
Carl Ransom Rogers was an influential American psychologist and among the founders of the humanistic approach to psychology...

, who created and developed client-centered therapy. Later, positive psychology
Positive psychology
Positive psychology is a recent branch of psychology whose purpose was summed up in 1998 by Martin Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: "We believe that a psychology of positive human functioning will arise, which achieves a scientific understanding and effective interventions to build thriving in...

 opened up humanistic themes to scientific modes of exploration.

Gestalt



Wolfgang Kohler
Wolfgang Köhler
Wolfgang Köhler was a German psychologist and phenomenologist who, like Max Wertheimer, and Kurt Koffka, contributed to the creation of Gestalt psychology.-Early life:...

, Max Wertheimer
Max Wertheimer
- External links :* * * * *...

 and Kurt Koffka
Kurt Koffka
Kurt Koffka was a German psychologist. He was born and educated in Berlin and earned his PhD there in 1909 as a student of Carl Stumpf...

 co-founded the school of Gestalt psychology
Gestalt psychology
Gestalt psychology or gestaltism is a theory of mind and brain of the Berlin School; the operational principle of gestalt psychology is that the brain is holistic, parallel, and analog, with self-organizing tendencies...

. This approach is based upon the idea that individuals experience things as unified wholes. This approach to psychology began in Germany and Austria during the late 19th century in response to the molecular approach of structuralism. Rather than breaking down thoughts and behavior to their smallest element, the Gestalt position maintains that the whole of experience is important, and the whole is different than the sum of its parts.

Gestalt psychology should not be confused with the Gestalt therapy
Gestalt therapy
Gestalt therapy is an existential/experiential form of psychotherapy that emphasizes personal responsibility, and that focuses upon the individual's experience in the present moment, the therapist-client relationship, the environmental and social contexts of a person's life, and the self-regulating...

 of Fritz Perls
Fritz Perls
Friedrich Salomon Perls , better known as Fritz Perls, was a noted German-born psychiatrist and psychotherapist of Jewish descent....

, which is only peripherally linked to Gestalt psychology.

Existentialism



In the 1950s and 1960s, largely influenced by the work of German
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

 philosopher Martin Heidegger
Martin Heidegger
Martin Heidegger was a German philosopher known for his existential and phenomenological explorations of the "question of Being."...

 and Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard
Søren Kierkegaard
Søren Aabye Kierkegaard was a Danish Christian philosopher, theologian and religious author. He was a critic of idealist intellectuals and philosophers of his time, such as Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling and Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel...

, psychoanalytically trained American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 psychologist Rollo May
Rollo May
Rollo May was an American existential psychologist. He authored the influential book Love and Will during 1969. He is often associated with both humanistic psychology and existentialist philosophy. May was a close friend of the theologian Paul Tillich...

 pioneered an existential branch of psychology, which included existential psychotherapy
Existential therapy
Existential psychotherapy is a philosophical method of therapy that operates on the belief that inner conflict within a person is due to that individual's confrontation with the givens of existence. These givens, as noted by Irvin D...

, a method of therapy that operates on the belief that inner conflict within a person is due to that individual's confrontation with the givens of existence.

Existential psychologists differed from others often classified as humanistic in their comparatively neutral view of human nature
Human nature
Human nature refers to the distinguishing characteristics, including ways of thinking, feeling and acting, that humans tend to have naturally....

 and in their relatively positive assessment of anxiety
Anxiety
Anxiety is a psychological and physiological state characterized by somatic, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral components. The root meaning of the word anxiety is 'to vex or trouble'; in either presence or absence of psychological stress, anxiety can create feelings of fear, worry, uneasiness,...

. Existential psychologists emphasized the humanistic themes of death, free will, and meaning, suggesting that meaning can be shaped by myths, or narrative patterns, and that it can be encouraged by an acceptance of the free will requisite to an authentic
Authenticity (philosophy)
Authenticity is a technical term in existentialist philosophy, and is also used in the philosophy of art and psychology. In philosophy, the conscious self is seen as coming to terms with being in a material world and with encountering external forces, pressures and influences which are very...

, albeit often anxious, regard for death and other future prospects.

Austrian existential psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl
Viktor Frankl
Viktor Emil Frankl M.D., Ph.D. was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor. Frankl was the founder of logotherapy, which is a form of Existential Analysis, the "Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy"...

 drew evidence of meaning's therapeutic power from reflections garnered from his own internment
Internment
Internment is the imprisonment or confinement of people, commonly in large groups, without trial. The Oxford English Dictionary gives the meaning as: "The action of 'interning'; confinement within the limits of a country or place." Most modern usage is about individuals, and there is a distinction...

, and he created a variety of existential psychotherapy called logotherapy
Logotherapy
Logotherapy was developed by neurologist and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl. It is considered the "Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy" after Freud's psychoanalysis and Adler's individual psychology. It is a type of existentialist analysis that focuses on a will to meaning as opposed to Adler's...

, a type of existentialist
Existentialism
Existentialism is a term applied to a school of 19th- and 20th-century philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences, shared the belief that philosophical thinking begins with the human subject—not merely the thinking subject, but the acting, feeling, living human individual...

 analysis that focuses on a will to meaning
Meaning (existential)
In existentialism, meaning is understood as the worth of life. Meaning in existentialism is unlike typical conceptions of "the meaning of life", because it is descriptive. Due to the method of existentialism, prescriptive or declarative statements about meaning are unjustified. Meaning is only...

(in one's life), as opposed to Adler's Nietzschean doctrine of will to power
Will to power
The will to power is widely seen as a prominent concept in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. The will to power describes what Nietzsche may have believed to be the main driving force in man; achievement, ambition, the striving to reach the highest possible position in life; these are all...

or Freud's will to pleasure
Pleasure principle (psychology)
In Freudian psychology, the pleasure principle is the psychoanalytic concept describing people seeking pleasure and avoiding suffering in order to satisfy their biological and psychological needs...

.

In addition to May and Frankl, Swiss psychoanalyst Ludwig Binswanger
Ludwig Binswanger
Ludwig Binswanger was a Swiss psychiatrist and pioneer in the field of existential psychology...

 and American psychologist George Kelly
George Kelly (psychologist)
George Kelly or George Kelley was an American psychologist, therapist and educator. He was best known for developing Personal Construct Psychology.- Biography :...

 may be said to belong to the existential school.

Cognitivism



Cognitive psychology is the branch of psychology that studies mental processes including how people think, perceive, remember, and learn. As part of the larger field of cognitive science, this branch of psychology is related to other disciplines including neuroscience, philosophy, and linguistics.

Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky
Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, and activist. He is an Institute Professor and Professor in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT, where he has worked for over 50 years. Chomsky has been described as the "father of modern linguistics" and...

 helped to ignite a "cognitive revolution
Cognitive revolution
The cognitive revolution is the name for an intellectual movement in the 1950s that began what are known collectively as the cognitive sciences. It began in the modern context of greater interdisciplinary communication and research...

" in psychology when he criticized the behaviorists' notions of "stimulus", "response", and "reinforcement", arguing that such ideas—which Skinner had borrowed from animal experiments in the laboratory—could be applied to complex human behavior, most notably language acquisition, in only a superficial and vague manner. The postulation that humans are born with the instinct or "innate facility
Language acquisition device
The Language Acquisition Device is a postulated "organ" of the brain that is supposed to function as a congenital device for learning symbolic language . First proposed by Noam Chomsky, the LAD concept is an instinctive mental capacity which enables an infant to acquire and produce language. It is...

" for acquiring language posed a challenge to the behaviorist position that all behavior, including language, is contingent upon learning and reinforcement. Social learning theorists, such as Albert Bandura
Albert Bandura
Albert Bandura is a psychologist and the David Starr Jordan Professor Emeritus of Social Science in Psychology at Stanford University...

, argued that the child's environment could make contributions of its own to the behaviors of an observant subject.


Meanwhile, accumulating technology
Technology
Technology is the making, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or perform a specific function. It can also refer to the collection of such tools, machinery, and procedures. The word technology comes ;...

 helped to renew interest and belief in the mental states and representations—i.e., the cognition
Cognition
In science, cognition refers to mental processes. These processes include attention, remembering, producing and understanding language, solving problems, and making decisions. Cognition is studied in various disciplines such as psychology, philosophy, linguistics, and computer science...

—that had fallen out of favor with behaviorists. English neuroscientist Charles Sherrington and Canadian psychologist Donald O. Hebb used experimental methods to link psychological phenomena with the structure and function of the brain
Human brain
The human brain has the same general structure as the brains of other mammals, but is over three times larger than the brain of a typical mammal with an equivalent body size. Estimates for the number of neurons in the human brain range from 80 to 120 billion...

. With the rise of computer science
Computer science
Computer science or computing science is the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and of practical techniques for their implementation and application in computer systems...

 and artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence is the intelligence of machines and the branch of computer science that aims to create it. AI textbooks define the field as "the study and design of intelligent agents" where an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its...

, analogies were drawn between the processing of information by humans and information processing
Information processing
Information processing is the change of information in any manner detectable by an observer. As such, it is a process which describes everything which happens in the universe, from the falling of a rock to the printing of a text file from a digital computer system...

 by machines. Research in cognition had proven practical since World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, when it aided in the understanding of weapons operation. By the late 20th century, though, cognitivism
Cognitivism (psychology)
In psychology, cognitivism is a theoretical framework for understanding the mind that came into usage in the 1950s. The movement was a response to behaviorism, which cognitivists said neglected to explain cognition...

 had become the dominant paradigm
Paradigm
The word paradigm has been used in science to describe distinct concepts. It comes from Greek "παράδειγμα" , "pattern, example, sample" from the verb "παραδείκνυμι" , "exhibit, represent, expose" and that from "παρά" , "beside, beyond" + "δείκνυμι" , "to show, to point out".The original Greek...

 of mainstream psychology, and cognitive psychology
Cognitive psychology
Cognitive psychology is a subdiscipline of psychology exploring internal mental processes.It is the study of how people perceive, remember, think, speak, and solve problems.Cognitive psychology differs from previous psychological approaches in two key ways....

 emerged as a popular branch.

Assuming both, that the covert mind should be studied and that the scientific method should be used to study it, cognitive psychologists set such concepts as subliminal processing and implicit memory
Implicit memory
Implicit memory is a type of memory in which previous experiences aid in the performance of a task without conscious awareness of these previous experiences. Evidence for implicit memory arises in priming, a process whereby subjects show improved performance on tasks for which they have been...

in place of the psychoanalytic unconscious mind or the behavioristic contingency-shaped behaviors. Elements of behaviorism and cognitive psychology were synthesized to form the basis of cognitive behavioral therapy, a form of psychotherapy modified from techniques developed by American psychologist Albert Ellis and American psychiatrist Aaron T. Beck
Aaron T. Beck
Aaron Temkin Beck is an American psychiatrist and a professor emeritus in the department of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. He is widely regarded as the father of cognitive therapy, and his pioneering theories are widely used in the treatment of clinical depression...

. Cognitive psychology was subsumed along with other disciplines, such as philosophy of mind
Philosophy of mind
Philosophy of mind is a branch of philosophy that studies the nature of the mind, mental events, mental functions, mental properties, consciousness and their relationship to the physical body, particularly the brain. The mind-body problem, i.e...

, computer science, and neuroscience
Neuroscience
Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system. Traditionally, neuroscience has been seen as a branch of biology. However, it is currently an interdisciplinary science that collaborates with other fields such as chemistry, computer science, engineering, linguistics, mathematics,...

, under the cover discipline of cognitive science
Cognitive science
Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary scientific study of mind and its processes. It examines what cognition is, what it does and how it works. It includes research on how information is processed , represented, and transformed in behaviour, nervous system or machine...

.

Biopsychosocial model



The biopsychosocial model is an integrated perspective toward understanding consciousness, behavior, and social interaction. It assumes that any given behavior or mental process affects and is affected by dynamically interrelated biological, psychological, and social factors. The psychological aspect refers to the role that cognition and emotions play in any given psychological phenomenon—for example, the effect of mood or beliefs and expectations on an individual's reactions to an event. The biological aspect refers to the role of biological factors in psychological phenomena—for example, the effect of the prenatal environment on brain development and cognitive abilities, or the influence of genes on individual dispositions. The socio-cultural aspect refers to the role that social and cultural environments play in a given psychological phenomenon—for example, the role of parental or peer influence in the behaviors or characteristics of an individual.

Discursive psychology



Discursive psychology was developed in the 1990s by Jonathan Potter and Derek Edwards. It examines how psychological phenomena are created, made relevant and put to use in discourse, verbal interaction and everyday talk. It is opposed to cognitivist approaches.

Critical psychology



Critical psychology is aimed at evaluating mainstream psychology and attempts to apply psychology in more progressive ways, often looking towards social change as a means of preventing and treating psychopathology. One of critical psychology's main criticisms of conventional psychology is how it ignores the way power differences between social classes and groups can affect the mental and physical well-being of individuals or groups of people. Contributors to the field include Klaus Holzkamp
Klaus Holzkamp
Klaus Holzkamp was a German psychologist. He worked as a professor at the Free University of Berlin. He took a central role in defining critical psychology based on the works of Karl Marx...

 and Ian Parker
Ian Parker (psychologist)
Ian Parker is a British psychologist who has been a principal exponent of three quite diverse critical traditions inside the discipline...

. Key elements within critical psychology include the study of power relations, situated knowledge, and the dualisms of the self and the agency, and the individual and the social.

Subfields


Psychology encompasses a vast domain, and includes many different approaches to the study of mental processes and behavior.

Biological




Biological psychology or behavioral neuroscience
Behavioral neuroscience
Behavioral neuroscience, also known as biological psychology, biopsychology, or psychobiology is the application of the principles of biology , to the study of physiological, genetic, and developmental mechanisms of behavior in human and non-human animals...

 is the study of the biological substrates of behavior and mental processes. There are different specialties within behavioral neuroscience. For example, physiological psychologists use animal models, typically rats, to study the neural, genetic, and cellular mechanisms that underlie specific behaviors such as learning and memory and fear responses. Cognitive neuroscientists investigate the neural correlates of psychological processes in humans using neural imaging tools, and neuropsychologists conduct psychological assessments to determine, for instance, specific aspects and extent of cognitive deficit caused by brain damage or disease.

Clinical




Clinical psychology
Clinical psychology
Clinical psychology is an integration of science, theory and clinical knowledge for the purpose of understanding, preventing, and relieving psychologically-based distress or dysfunction and to promote subjective well-being and personal development...

 includes the study and application of psychology for the purpose of understanding, preventing, and relieving psychologically-based distress or dysfunction
Mental illness
A mental disorder or mental illness is a psychological or behavioral pattern generally associated with subjective distress or disability that occurs in an individual, and which is not a part of normal development or culture. Such a disorder may consist of a combination of affective, behavioural,...

 and to promote subjective well-being
Mental health
Mental health describes either a level of cognitive or emotional well-being or an absence of a mental disorder. From perspectives of the discipline of positive psychology or holism mental health may include an individual's ability to enjoy life and procure a balance between life activities and...

 and personal development. Central to its practice are psychological assessment and psychotherapy
Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy is a general term referring to any form of therapeutic interaction or treatment contracted between a trained professional and a client or patient; family, couple or group...

, although clinical psychologists may also engage in research, teaching, consultation, forensic testimony, and program development and administration. Some clinical psychologists may focus on the clinical management of patients with brain injury
Brain damage
"Brain damage" or "brain injury" is the destruction or degeneration of brain cells. Brain injuries occur due to a wide range of internal and external factors...

—this area is known as clinical neuropsychology
Clinical neuropsychology
Clinical neuropsychology is a sub-field of psychology concerned with the cognitive function of individuals with neurological and psychiatric disorders. Neuropsychological assessment examines cognitive function in the broadest sense, including the behavioural, emotional, social and functional status...

. In many countries, clinical psychology is a regulated mental health profession.

The work performed by clinical psychologists tends to be influenced by various therapeutic approaches, all of which involve a formal relationship between professional and client (usually an individual, couple, family, or small group). The various therapeutic approaches and practices are associated with different theoretical perspectives and employ different procedures intended to form a therapeutic alliance, explore the nature of psychological problems, and encourage new ways of thinking, feeling, or behaving. Four major theoretical perspectives are psychodynamic
Psychodynamic psychotherapy
Psychodynamic psychotherapy is a form of depth psychology, the primary focus of which is to reveal the unconscious content of a client's psyche in an effort to alleviate psychic tension. In this way, it is similar to psychoanalysis. It also relies on the interpersonal relationship between client...

, cognitive behavioral, existential–humanistic
Humanistic psychology
Humanistic psychology is a psychological perspective which rose to prominence in the mid-20th century, drawing on the work of early pioneers like Carl Rogers and the philosophies of existentialism and phenomenology...

, and systems or family therapy
Family therapy
Family therapy, also referred to as couple and family therapy, family systems therapy, and family counseling, is a branch of psychotherapy that works with families and couples in intimate relationships to nurture change and development. It tends to view change in terms of the systems of...

. There has been a growing movement to integrate the various therapeutic approaches, especially with an increased understanding of issues regarding culture, gender, spirituality, and sexual-orientation. With the advent of more robust research findings regarding psychotherapy, there is evidence that most of the major therapies are about of equal effectiveness, with the key common element being a strong therapeutic alliance. Because of this, more training programs and psychologists are now adopting an eclectic therapeutic orientation
Integrative Psychotherapy
Integrative psychotherapy may involve the fusion of different schools of psychotherapy. The word 'integrative' in Integrative psychotherapy may also refer to integrating the personality and making it cohesive, and to the bringing together of the "affective, cognitive, behavioral, and physiological...

.

Cognitive



Purple Blue Purple
----
Blue Purple Red
Green Purple Green
----
The Stroop effect refers to the fact that naming the color of the first set of words is easier and quicker than the second.

Cognitive psychology studies cognition
Cognition
In science, cognition refers to mental processes. These processes include attention, remembering, producing and understanding language, solving problems, and making decisions. Cognition is studied in various disciplines such as psychology, philosophy, linguistics, and computer science...

, the mental processes
Mental function
Mental processes, mental functions and cognitive processes are terms often used interchangeably to mean such functions or processes as perception, introspection, memory, creativity, imagination, conception, belief, reasoning, volition, and emotion—in...

 underlying mental activity. Perception
Perception
Perception is the process of attaining awareness or understanding of the environment by organizing and interpreting sensory information. All perception involves signals in the nervous system, which in turn result from physical stimulation of the sense organs...

, attention
Attention
Attention is the cognitive process of paying attention to one aspect of the environment while ignoring others. Attention is one of the most intensely studied topics within psychology and cognitive neuroscience....

, reasoning, thinking, problem solving
Problem solving
Problem solving is a mental process and is part of the larger problem process that includes problem finding and problem shaping. Consideredthe most complex of all intellectual functions, problem solving has been defined as higher-order cognitive process that requires the modulation and control of...

, memory
Memory
In psychology, memory is an organism's ability to store, retain, and recall information and experiences. Traditional studies of memory began in the fields of philosophy, including techniques of artificially enhancing memory....

, learning
Learning
Learning is acquiring new or modifying existing knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences and may involve synthesizing different types of information. The ability to learn is possessed by humans, animals and some machines. Progress over time tends to follow learning curves.Human learning...

, language
Language
Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication...

 and emotion
Emotion
Emotion is a complex psychophysiological experience of an individual's state of mind as interacting with biochemical and environmental influences. In humans, emotion fundamentally involves "physiological arousal, expressive behaviors, and conscious experience." Emotion is associated with mood,...

 are areas of research. Classical cognitive psychology is associated with a school of thought known as cognitivism
Cognitivism (psychology)
In psychology, cognitivism is a theoretical framework for understanding the mind that came into usage in the 1950s. The movement was a response to behaviorism, which cognitivists said neglected to explain cognition...

, whose adherents argue for an information processing
Information processing
Information processing is the change of information in any manner detectable by an observer. As such, it is a process which describes everything which happens in the universe, from the falling of a rock to the printing of a text file from a digital computer system...

 model of mental function, informed by functionalism
Functionalism (philosophy of mind)
Functionalism is a theory of the mind in contemporary philosophy, developed largely as an alternative to both the identity theory of mind and behaviourism. Its core idea is that mental states are constituted solely by their functional role — that is, they are causal relations to other mental...

 and experimental psychology
Experimental psychology
Experimental psychology is a methodological approach, rather than a subject, and encompasses varied fields within psychology. Experimental psychologists have traditionally conducted research, published articles, and taught classes on neuroscience, developmental psychology, sensation, perception,...

.

On a broader level, cognitive science
Cognitive science
Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary scientific study of mind and its processes. It examines what cognition is, what it does and how it works. It includes research on how information is processed , represented, and transformed in behaviour, nervous system or machine...

 is an interdisciplinary enterprise of cognitive psychologists, cognitive neuroscientists, researchers in artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence is the intelligence of machines and the branch of computer science that aims to create it. AI textbooks define the field as "the study and design of intelligent agents" where an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its...

, linguists, human–computer interaction
Human–computer interaction
Human–computer Interaction is the study, planning, and design of the interaction between people and computers. It is often regarded as the intersection of computer science, behavioral sciences, design and several other fields of study...

, computational neuroscience
Computational neuroscience
Computational neuroscience is the study of brain function in terms of the information processing properties of the structures that make up the nervous system...

, logicians
Mathematical logic
Mathematical logic is a subfield of mathematics with close connections to foundations of mathematics, theoretical computer science and philosophical logic. The field includes both the mathematical study of logic and the applications of formal logic to other areas of mathematics...

 and social scientists
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

. Computational models
Computer simulation
A computer simulation, a computer model, or a computational model is a computer program, or network of computers, that attempts to simulate an abstract model of a particular system...

 are sometimes used to simulate phenomena of interest. Computational models provide a tool for studying the functional organization of the mind whereas neuroscience provides measures of brain activity.

Comparative




Comparative psychology refers to the study of the behavior and mental life of animal
Animal
Animals are a major group of multicellular, eukaryotic organisms of the kingdom Animalia or Metazoa. Their body plan eventually becomes fixed as they develop, although some undergo a process of metamorphosis later on in their life. Most animals are motile, meaning they can move spontaneously and...

s other than human beings. It is related to disciplines outside of psychology that study animal behavior such as ethology
Ethology
Ethology is the scientific study of animal behavior, and a sub-topic of zoology....

. Although the field of psychology is primarily concerned with humans, the behavior and mental processes of animal
Animal
Animals are a major group of multicellular, eukaryotic organisms of the kingdom Animalia or Metazoa. Their body plan eventually becomes fixed as they develop, although some undergo a process of metamorphosis later on in their life. Most animals are motile, meaning they can move spontaneously and...

s is also an important part of psychological research. This being either as a subject in its own right (e.g., animal cognition
Animal cognition
Animal cognition is the title given to the study of the mental capacities of non-human animals. It has developed out of comparative psychology, but has also been strongly influenced by the approach of ethology, behavioral ecology, and evolutionary psychology...

 and ethology) or with strong emphasis about evolutionary links, and somewhat more controversially, as a way of gaining an insight into human psychology. This is achieved by means of comparison or via animal models of emotional and behavior systems as seen in neuroscience of psychology (e.g., affective neuroscience
Affective neuroscience
Affective neuroscience is the study of the neural mechanisms of emotion. This interdisciplinary field combines neuroscience with the psychological study of personality, emotion, and mood.-Brain areas related to emotion:...

 and social neuroscience
Social neuroscience
Social neuroscience is an interdisciplinary field devoted to understanding how biological systems implement social processes and behavior, and to using biological concepts and methods to inform and refine theories of social processes and behavior. Humans are fundamentally a social species, rather...

).

Developmental


Mainly focusing on the development of the human mind through the life span, developmental psychology
Developmental psychology
Developmental psychology, also known as human development, is the scientific study of systematic psychological changes, emotional changes, and perception changes that occur in human beings over the course of their life span. Originally concerned with infants and children, the field has expanded to...

 seeks to understand how people come to perceive, understand, and act within the world and how these processes change as they age. This may focus on cognitive, affective, moral
Moral Development
Moral development focuses on the emergence, change, and understanding of morality from infancy to adulthood. In the field of moral development, morality is defined as principles for how individuals ought to treat one another, with respect to justice, others’ welfare, and rights...

, social, or neural development. Researchers who study children
Child
Biologically, a child is generally a human between the stages of birth and puberty. Some vernacular definitions of a child include the fetus, as being an unborn child. The legal definition of "child" generally refers to a minor, otherwise known as a person younger than the age of majority...

 use a number of unique research methods to make observations in natural settings or to engage them in experimental tasks. Such tasks often resemble specially designed games and activities that are both enjoyable for the child and scientifically useful, and researchers have even devised clever methods to study the mental processes of small infants. In addition to studying children, developmental psychologists also study aging and processes throughout the life span, especially at other times of rapid change (such as adolescence
Adolescence
Adolescence is a transitional stage of physical and mental human development generally occurring between puberty and legal adulthood , but largely characterized as beginning and ending with the teenage stage...

 and old age
Old age
Old age consists of ages nearing or surpassing the average life span of human beings, and thus the end of the human life cycle...

). Developmental psychologists draw on the full range of psychological theories to inform their research.

Educational and school




Educational psychology is the study of how humans learn in education
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

al settings, the effectiveness of educational interventions, the psychology of teaching, and the social psychology of school
School
A school is an institution designed for the teaching of students under the direction of teachers. Most countries have systems of formal education, which is commonly compulsory. In these systems, students progress through a series of schools...

s as organizations. The work of child psychologists such as Lev Vygotsky
Lev Vygotsky
Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky was a Soviet psychologist, the founder of cultural-historical psychology, and the leader of the Vygotsky Circle.-Biography:...

, Jean Piaget
Jean Piaget
Jean Piaget was a French-speaking Swiss developmental psychologist and philosopher known for his epistemological studies with children. His theory of cognitive development and epistemological view are together called "genetic epistemology"....

, Bernard Luskin and Jerome Bruner
Jerome Bruner
Jerome Seymour Bruner is an American psychologist who has contributed to cognitive psychology and cognitive learning theory in educational psychology, as well as to history and to the general philosophy of education. Bruner is currently a senior research fellow at the New York University School...

 has been influential in creating teaching methods and educational practices. Educational psychology is often included in teacher education programs, in places such as North America, Australia, and New Zealand.

School psychology combines principles from educational psychology
Educational psychology
Educational psychology is the study of how humans learn in educational settings, the effectiveness of educational interventions, the psychology of teaching, and the social psychology of schools as organizations. Educational psychology is concerned with how students learn and develop, often focusing...

 and clinical psychology
Clinical psychology
Clinical psychology is an integration of science, theory and clinical knowledge for the purpose of understanding, preventing, and relieving psychologically-based distress or dysfunction and to promote subjective well-being and personal development...

 to understand and treat students with learning disabilities; to foster the intellectual growth of gifted
Intellectual giftedness
Intellectual giftedness is an intellectual ability significantly higher than average. It is different from a skill, in that skills are learned or acquired behaviors...

 students; to facilitate prosocial behavior
Prosocial behavior
Prosocial behavior, or "voluntary behavior intended to benefit another", consists of actions which "benefit other people or society as a whole," "such as helping, sharing, donating, co- operating, and volunteering." These actions may be motivated by empathy and by concern about the welfare and...

s in adolescents; and otherwise to promote safe, supportive, and effective learning environments. School psychologists are trained in educational and behavioral assessment, intervention, prevention, and consultation, and many have extensive training in research.

Evolutionary



Evolutionary psychology examines psychological traits
Trait theory
In psychology, Trait theory is a major approach to the study of human personality. Trait theorists are primarily interested in the measurement of traits, which can be defined as habitual patterns of behavior, thought, and emotion. According to this perspective, traits are relatively stable over...

—such as memory
Memory
In psychology, memory is an organism's ability to store, retain, and recall information and experiences. Traditional studies of memory began in the fields of philosophy, including techniques of artificially enhancing memory....

, perception
Perception
Perception is the process of attaining awareness or understanding of the environment by organizing and interpreting sensory information. All perception involves signals in the nervous system, which in turn result from physical stimulation of the sense organs...

, or language
Language
Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication...

—from a modern evolutionary
Evolution
Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.Life on Earth...

 perspective. It seeks to identify which human psychological traits are evolved adaptation
Adaptation
An adaptation in biology is a trait with a current functional role in the life history of an organism that is maintained and evolved by means of natural selection. An adaptation refers to both the current state of being adapted and to the dynamic evolutionary process that leads to the adaptation....

s, that is, the functional products of natural selection
Natural selection
Natural selection is the nonrandom process by which biologic traits become either more or less common in a population as a function of differential reproduction of their bearers. It is a key mechanism of evolution....

 or sexual selection
Sexual selection
Sexual selection, a concept introduced by Charles Darwin in his 1859 book On the Origin of Species, is a significant element of his theory of natural selection...

. Evolutionary psychologists suggest that psychological adaptation
Psychological adaptation
A psychological adaptation, also called an Evolved psychological mechanism or EPM, is an aspect of a human or other animal's psychology that is the result of evolutionary pressures. It could serve a specific purpose, have served a purpose in the past , or be a side-effect of another EPM...

s evolved to solve recurrent problems in human ancestral environments. By focusing on the evolution of psychological traits and their adaptive functions, it offers complementary explanations for the mostly proximate or developmental explanations developed by other areas of psychology (that is, it focuses mostly on ultimate or "why?" questions, rather than proximate or "how?" questions).

Industrial–organizational



Industrial and organizational psychology (I–O) applies psychological concepts and methods to optimize human potential in the workplace. Personnel psychology, a subfield of I–O psychology, applies the methods and principles of psychology in selecting and evaluating workers. I–O psychology's other subfield, organizational psychology, examines the effects of work environments and management styles on worker motivation, job satisfaction, and productivity.

Personality



Personality psychology
Personality psychology
Personality psychology is a branch of psychology that studies personality and individual differences. Its areas of focus include:* Constructing a coherent picture of the individual and his or her major psychological processes...

 is concerned to enduring patterns of behavior
Behavior
Behavior or behaviour refers to the actions and mannerisms made by organisms, systems, or artificial entities in conjunction with its environment, which includes the other systems or organisms around as well as the physical environment...

, thought
Thought
"Thought" generally refers to any mental or intellectual activity involving an individual's subjective consciousness. It can refer either to the act of thinking or the resulting ideas or arrangements of ideas. Similar concepts include cognition, sentience, consciousness, and imagination...

, and emotion
Emotion
Emotion is a complex psychophysiological experience of an individual's state of mind as interacting with biochemical and environmental influences. In humans, emotion fundamentally involves "physiological arousal, expressive behaviors, and conscious experience." Emotion is associated with mood,...

 in individuals, commonly referred to as personality. Theories of personality vary across different psychological schools and orientations. They carry different assumptions about such issues as the role of the unconscious
Unconscious mind
The unconscious mind is a term coined by the 18th century German romantic philosopher Friedrich Schelling and later introduced into English by the poet and essayist Samuel Taylor Coleridge...

 and the importance of childhood experience. According to Freud, personality is based on the dynamic interactions of the id, ego, and super-ego
Id, ego, and super-ego
Id, ego and super-ego are the three parts of the psychic apparatus defined in Sigmund Freud's structural model of the psyche; they are the three theoretical constructs in terms of whose activity and interaction mental life is described...

. Trait theorists, in contrast, attempt to analyze personality in terms of a discrete number of key traits by the statistical method of factor analysis
Factor analysis
Factor analysis is a statistical method used to describe variability among observed, correlated variables in terms of a potentially lower number of unobserved, uncorrelated variables called factors. In other words, it is possible, for example, that variations in three or four observed variables...

. The number of proposed traits has varied widely. An early model proposed by Hans Eysenck
Hans Eysenck
Hans Jürgen Eysenck was a German-British psychologist who spent most of his career in Britain, best remembered for his work on intelligence and personality, though he worked in a wide range of areas...

 suggested that there are three traits that comprise human personality: extraversion–introversion
Extraversion and introversion
The trait of extraversion-introversion is a central dimension of human personality theories.Extraverts tend to be gregarious, assertive, and interested in seeking out external stimulus. Introverts, in contrast, tend to be introspective, quiet and less sociable. They are not necessarily loners but...

, neuroticism
Neuroticism
Neuroticism is a fundamental personality trait in the study of psychology. It is an enduring tendency to experience negative emotional states. Individuals who score high on neuroticism are more likely than the average to experience such feelings as anxiety, anger, guilt, and depressed mood...

, and psychoticism
Psychoticism
Psychoticism is one of the three traits used by the psychologist Hans Eysenck in his P-E-N model model of personality. Psychoticism refers to a personality pattern typified by aggressiveness and interpersonal hostility.High levels of this trait were believed by Eysenck to be linked to increased...

. Raymond Cattell
Raymond Cattell
Raymond Bernard Cattell was a British and American psychologist, known for his exploration of many areas in psychology...

 proposed a theory of 16 personality factors
16 Personality Factors
The 16 Personality Factors, measured by the 16PF Questionnaire, were derived using factor-analysis by psychologist Raymond Cattell.Below is a table outlining this model.- Raymond Cattell's 16 Personality Factors :-Relationship to the Big Five:...

. The "Big Five
Big Five personality traits
In contemporary psychology, the "Big Five" factors of personality are five broad domains or dimensions of personality which are used to describe human personality....

", or Five Factor Model, proposed by Lewis Goldberg
Lewis Goldberg
Lewis R. Goldberg is an American personality psychologist and a professor emeritus at the University of Oregon who is closely associated with the Big Five taxonomy of personality...

, currently has strong support among trait theorists.

Social



Social psychology is the study of how humans think about each other and how they relate to each other. Social psychologists study such topics as the influence of others on an individual's behavior (e.g. conformity, persuasion
Persuasion
Persuasion is a form of social influence. It is the process of guiding or bringing oneself or another toward the adoption of an idea, attitude, or action by rational and symbolic means.- Methods :...

), and the formation of beliefs, attitudes
Attitude (psychology)
An attitude is a hypothetical construct that represents an individual's degree of like or dislike for something. Attitudes are generally positive or negative views of a person, place, thing, or event— this is often referred to as the attitude object...

, and stereotype
Stereotype
A stereotype is a popular belief about specific social groups or types of individuals. The concepts of "stereotype" and "prejudice" are often confused with many other different meanings...

s about other people. Social cognition
Social cognition
Social cognition is the encoding, storage, retrieval, and processing, in the brain, of information relating to conspecifics, or members of the same species. At one time social cognition referred specifically to an approach to social psychology in which these processes were studied according to the...

 fuses elements of social and cognitive psychology in order to understand how people process, remember, or distort social information. The study of group dynamics
Group dynamics
Group dynamics refers to a system of behaviors and psychological processes that occur within a social group , or between social groups...

 reveals information about the nature and potential optimization of leadership, communication, and other phenomena that emerge at least at the microsocial
Microsociology
Microsociology is one of the main branches of sociology, concerning the nature of everyday human social interactions and agency on a small scale. Microsociology is based on interpretative analysis rather than statistical or empirical observation, and shares close association with the philosophy of...

 level. In recent years, many social psychologists have become increasingly interested in implicit
Implicit Association Test
The Implicit Association Test is a measure within social psychology designed to detect the strength of a person's automatic association between mental representations of objects in memory. The IAT was introduced in the scientific literature in 1998 by Anthony Greenwald, Debbie McGee, and Jordan...

 measures, mediational
Mediation (Statistics)
In statistics, a mediation model is one that seeks to identify and explicate the mechanism that underlies an observed relationship between an independent variable and a dependent variable via the inclusion of a third explanatory variable, known as a mediator variable...

 models, and the interaction of both person and social variables in accounting for behavior. The study of human society, is therefore a potentially valuable source of information about the causes of psychiatric disorder. Some of the sociological concepts applied to psychiatric disorders are the social role, sick role, social class, life event, culture, migration, social and total institution.

Positive



Positive psychology derives from Maslow's
Abraham Maslow
Abraham Harold Maslow was an American professor of psychology at Brandeis University, Brooklyn College, New School for Social Research and Columbia University who created Maslow's hierarchy of needs...

 humanistic psychology
Humanistic psychology
Humanistic psychology is a psychological perspective which rose to prominence in the mid-20th century, drawing on the work of early pioneers like Carl Rogers and the philosophies of existentialism and phenomenology...

. Positive psychology is a discipline that utilizes evidence-based scientific methods to study factors that contribute to human happiness
Happiness
Happiness is a mental state of well-being characterized by positive emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. A variety of biological, psychological, religious, and philosophical approaches have striven to define happiness and identify its sources....

 and strength. Different from clinical psychology
Clinical psychology
Clinical psychology is an integration of science, theory and clinical knowledge for the purpose of understanding, preventing, and relieving psychologically-based distress or dysfunction and to promote subjective well-being and personal development...

, positive psychology is concerned with improving the mental well-being of healthy clients. Positive psychological interventions now have received tentative support for their beneficial effects on clients. In 2010 Clinical Psychological Review published a special issue devoted to positive psychological interventions, such as gratitude journaling
Gratitude journal
A gratitude journal is a diary of things for which one is grateful. Gratitude journals are used by individuals who wish to focus their attention on the positive things in their lives....

 and the physical expression of gratitude
Gratitude
Gratitude, thankfulness, gratefulness, or appreciation is a feeling, emotion or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive. The experience of gratitude has historically been a focus of several world religions, and has been considered extensively by moral...

. There is, however, a need for further research on the effects of interventions. Positive psychological interventions have been limited in scope but their effects are thought to be superior to that of placebos
Placebo
A placebo is a simulated or otherwise medically ineffectual treatment for a disease or other medical condition intended to deceive the recipient...

, especially with regard to helping people with body image problems
Body dysmorphic disorder
Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a type of mental illness, a somatoform disorder, wherein the affected person is exclusively concerned with body image, manifested as excessive concern about and preoccupation with a perceived defect of his or her physical features...

.

Research methods


Psychology tends to be eclectic
Eclecticism
Eclecticism is a conceptual approach that does not hold rigidly to a single paradigm or set of assumptions, but instead draws upon multiple theories, styles, or ideas to gain complementary insights into a subject, or applies different theories in particular cases.It can sometimes seem inelegant or...

, drawing on knowledge from other fields to help explain and understand psychological phenomena. Additionally, psychologists make extensive use of the three modes of inference that were identified by C.S. Peirce: deduction
Deductive reasoning
Deductive reasoning, also called deductive logic, is reasoning which constructs or evaluates deductive arguments. Deductive arguments are attempts to show that a conclusion necessarily follows from a set of premises or hypothesis...

, induction
Inductive reasoning
Inductive reasoning, also known as induction or inductive logic, is a kind of reasoning that constructs or evaluates propositions that are abstractions of observations. It is commonly construed as a form of reasoning that makes generalizations based on individual instances...

, and abduction (hypothesis generation). While often employing deductive–nomological reasoning, they also rely on inductive reasoning
Inductive reasoning
Inductive reasoning, also known as induction or inductive logic, is a kind of reasoning that constructs or evaluates propositions that are abstractions of observations. It is commonly construed as a form of reasoning that makes generalizations based on individual instances...

 to generate explanation
Explanation
An explanation is a set of statements constructed to describe a set of facts which clarifies the causes, context, and consequencesof those facts....

s. For example, evolutionary psychologists attempt to explain psychological traits—such as memory, perception, or language—as adaptations, that is, as the functional products of natural selection
Natural selection
Natural selection is the nonrandom process by which biologic traits become either more or less common in a population as a function of differential reproduction of their bearers. It is a key mechanism of evolution....

 or sexual selection
Sexual selection
Sexual selection, a concept introduced by Charles Darwin in his 1859 book On the Origin of Species, is a significant element of his theory of natural selection...

.

Psychologists may conduct basic research
Basic Research
Basic Research is an herbal supplement and cosmetics manufacturer based in Salt Lake City, Utah that distributes products through a large number of subsidiaries. In addition, their products are sold domestically and internationally through a number of high-end retailers. Dennis Gay is the...

 aiming for further understanding in a particular area of interest in psychology, or conduct applied research to solve problems in the clinic, workplace or other areas. Masters level clinical programs aim to train students in both research methods and evidence-based practice. Professional associations have established guidelines for ethics, training, research methodology and professional practice. In addition, depending on the country, state or region, psychological services and the title "psychologist" may be governed by statute and psychologists who offer services to the public are usually required to be licensed.

Qualitative and quantitative research


Research in most areas of psychology is conducted in accord with the standards of the scientific method
Scientific method
Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of...

. Psychological researchers seek the emergence of theoretically interesting categories and hypotheses from data, using qualitative
Qualitative research
Qualitative research is a method of inquiry employed in many different academic disciplines, traditionally in the social sciences, but also in market research and further contexts. Qualitative researchers aim to gather an in-depth understanding of human behavior and the reasons that govern such...

 or quantitative
Quantitative research
In the social sciences, quantitative research refers to the systematic empirical investigation of social phenomena via statistical, mathematical or computational techniques. The objective of quantitative research is to develop and employ mathematical models, theories and/or hypotheses pertaining to...

 methods (or both).

Qualitative psychological research
Qualitative psychological research
In psychology, qualitative research has come to be defined as research whose findings are not arrived at by statistical or other quantitative procedures. Qualitative research is often said to be naturalistic. That is, its goal is to understand behaviour in a natural setting...

 methods include interview
Interview
An interview is a conversation between two people where questions are asked by the interviewer to obtain information from the interviewee.- Interview as a Method for Qualitative Research:"Definition" -...

s, first-hand observation, and participant observation
Participant observation
Participant observation is a type of research strategy. It is a widely used methodology in many disciplines, particularly, cultural anthropology, but also sociology, communication studies, and social psychology...

. Creswell (2003) identifies five main possibilities for qualitative research, including narrative, phenomenology
Phenomenology (psychology)
Phenomenology is an approach to psychological subject matter that has its roots in the philosophical work of Edmund Husserl. Early phenomenologists such as Husserl, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty conducted their own psychological investigations in the early 20th century...

, ethnography
Ethnography
Ethnography is a qualitative method aimed to learn and understand cultural phenomena which reflect the knowledge and system of meanings guiding the life of a cultural group...

, case study
Case study
A case study is an intensive analysis of an individual unit stressing developmental factors in relation to context. The case study is common in social sciences and life sciences. Case studies may be descriptive or explanatory. The latter type is used to explore causation in order to find...

 and grounded theory
Grounded theory
Grounded theory is a systematic methodology in the social sciences involving the generation of theory from data. It is mainly used in qualitative research, but is also applicable to quantitative data....

. Qualitative researchers sometimes aim to enrich interpretations or critiques
Critical theory
Critical theory is an examination and critique of society and culture, drawing from knowledge across the social sciences and humanities. The term has two different meanings with different origins and histories: one originating in sociology and the other in literary criticism...

 of symbol
Symbol
A symbol is something which represents an idea, a physical entity or a process but is distinct from it. The purpose of a symbol is to communicate meaning. For example, a red octagon may be a symbol for "STOP". On a map, a picture of a tent might represent a campsite. Numerals are symbols for...

s, subjective
Subject (philosophy)
In philosophy, a subject is a being that has subjective experiences, subjective consciousness or a relationship with another entity . A subject is an observer and an object is a thing observed...

 experiences, or social structure
Social structure
Social structure is a term used in the social sciences to refer to patterned social arrangements in society that are both emergent from and determinant of the actions of the individuals. The usage of the term "social structure" has changed over time and may reflect the various levels of analysis...

s. Similar hermeneutic and critical aims have also been served by "quantitative methods", as in Erich Fromm
Erich Fromm
Erich Seligmann Fromm was a Jewish German-American social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, humanistic philosopher, and democratic socialist. He was associated with what became known as the Frankfurt School of critical theory.-Life:Erich Fromm was born on March 23, 1900, at Frankfurt am...

's study of Nazi voting
Authoritarian personality
-Historical Origins:Adorno, Frenkel-Brunswick, Levinson and Sanford compiled a large body of research and theory , which attempted to characterize a personality type that described the “potentially fascistic individual”...

or Stanley Milgram
Stanley Milgram
Stanley Milgram was an American social psychologist most notable for his controversial study known as the Milgram Experiment. The study was conducted in the 1960s during Milgram's professorship at Yale...

's studies
Milgram experiment
The Milgram experiment on obedience to authority figures was a series of notable social psychology experiments conducted by Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram, which measured the willingness of study participants to obey an authority figure who instructed them to perform acts that...

 of obedience to authority.

Quantitative psychological research
Quantitative psychological research
Quantitative psychological research is defined as psychological research which performs mathematical modeling and statistical estimation or statistical inference. This definition distinguishes it from so-called qualitative psychological research; however, many psychologists do not acknowledge any...

 lends itself to the statistical testing of hypotheses. Quantitatively oriented research designs include the experiment
Experiment
An experiment is a methodical procedure carried out with the goal of verifying, falsifying, or establishing the validity of a hypothesis. Experiments vary greatly in their goal and scale, but always rely on repeatable procedure and logical analysis of the results...

, quasi-experiment
Quasi-experiment
A quasi-experiment is an empirical study used to estimate the causal impact of an intervention on its target population. Quasi-experimental research designs share many similarities with the traditional experimental design or randomized controlled trial, but they specifically lack the element of...

, cross-sectional study
Cross-sectional study
Cross-sectional studies form a class of research methods that involve observation of all of a population, or a representative subset, at one specific point in time...

, case-control study, and longitudinal study
Longitudinal study
A longitudinal study is a correlational research study that involves repeated observations of the same variables over long periods of time — often many decades. It is a type of observational study. Longitudinal studies are often used in psychology to study developmental trends across the...

. The measurement and operationalization
Operational definition
An operational definition defines something in terms of the specific process or set of validation tests used to determine its presence and quantity. That is, one defines something in terms of the operations that count as measuring it. The term was coined by Percy Williams Bridgman and is a part of...

 of important constructs is an essential part of these research designs. Statistical methods include the Pearson product–moment correlation coefficient, the analysis of variance
Analysis of variance
In statistics, analysis of variance is a collection of statistical models, and their associated procedures, in which the observed variance in a particular variable is partitioned into components attributable to different sources of variation...

, multiple linear regression, logistic regression
Logistic regression
In statistics, logistic regression is used for prediction of the probability of occurrence of an event by fitting data to a logit function logistic curve. It is a generalized linear model used for binomial regression...

, structural equation modeling
Structural equation modeling
Structural equation modeling is a statistical technique for testing and estimating causal relations using a combination of statistical data and qualitative causal assumptions...

, and hierarchical linear modeling
Hierarchical linear modeling
In statistics, hierarchical linear modeling , a form of multi-level analysis, is a more advanced form of simple linear regression and multiple linear regression. Multilevel analysis allows variance in outcome variables to be analysed at multiple hierarchical levels, whereas in simple linear and...

.

Controlled experiments


Experimental psychological research is conducted in a laboratory under controlled conditions. This method of research relies on the application of the scientific method
Scientific method
Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of...

 to understand behavior. Experimenters use several types of measurements, including rate of response, reaction time, and various psychometric measurements. Experiments are designed to test specific hypotheses (deductive approach) or evaluate functional relationships (inductive approach). A true experiment
True experiment
A true experiment is a method of social research in which there are two kinds of variables. The independent variable is manipulated by the experimenter, and the dependent variable is measured...

 with random
Randomized controlled trial
A randomized controlled trial is a type of scientific experiment - a form of clinical trial - most commonly used in testing the safety and efficacy or effectiveness of healthcare services or health technologies A randomized controlled trial (RCT) is a type of scientific experiment - a form of...

 allocation of subjects to conditions allows researchers to infer causal relationships between different aspects of behavior and the environment. In an experiment, one or more variables of interest are controlled by the experimenter (independent variable) and another variable is measured in response to different conditions (dependent variable). Experiments are one of the primary research methods in many areas of psychology, particularly cognitive
Cognitive psychology
Cognitive psychology is a subdiscipline of psychology exploring internal mental processes.It is the study of how people perceive, remember, think, speak, and solve problems.Cognitive psychology differs from previous psychological approaches in two key ways....

/psychonomics
Psychonomics
Psychonomics describes an approach to psychology that aims at discovering the laws that govern the workings of the mind . The field is directly related to experimental psychology. The word is used most prominently by the Psychonomic Society, a society of experimental psychologists in the United...

, mathematical psychology
Mathematical psychology
Mathematical psychology is an approach to psychological research that is based on mathematical modeling of perceptual, cognitive and motor processes, and on the establishment of law-like rules that relate quantifiable stimulus characteristics with quantifiable behavior...

, psychophysiology
Psychophysiology
Psychophysiology is the branch of psychology that is concerned with the physiological bases of psychological processes. While psychophysiology was a general broad field of research in the 1960s and 1970s, it has now become quite specialized, and has branched into subspecializations...

 and biological psychology/cognitive neuroscience
Cognitive neuroscience
Cognitive neuroscience is an academic field concerned with the scientific study of biological substrates underlying cognition, with a specific focus on the neural substrates of mental processes. It addresses the questions of how psychological/cognitive functions are produced by the brain...

.

Experiments on humans have been put under some controls, namely informed and voluntary consent. After World War II, the Nuremberg Code
Nuremberg Code
The Nuremberg Code is a set of research ethics principles for human experimentation set as a result of the Subsequent Nuremberg Trials at the end of the Second World War.-Background:...

 was established, because of Nazi abuses of experimental subjects. Later, most countries (and scientific journals) adopted the Declaration of Helsinki
Declaration of Helsinki
The Declaration of Helsinki is a set of ethical principles regarding human experimentation developed for the medical community by the World Medical Association . It is widely regarded as the cornerstone document of human research ethics...

. In the U.S., the National Institutes of Health
National Institutes of Health
The National Institutes of Health are an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services and are the primary agency of the United States government responsible for biomedical and health-related research. Its science and engineering counterpart is the National Science Foundation...

 established the Institutional Review Board
Institutional review board
An institutional review board , also known as an independent ethics committee or ethical review board , is a committee that has been formally designated to approve, monitor, and review biomedical and behavioral research involving humans with the aim to protect the rights and welfare of the...

 in 1966, and in 1974 adopted the National Research Act
National Research Act
The National Research Act was enacted by the 93rd United States Congress. It created the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research to oversee and regulate the use of human experimentation in medicine. It was partly a response to the infamous...

 (HR 7724). All of these measures encouraged researchers to obtain informed consent from human participants in experimental studies. A number of influential studies led to the establishment of this rule; such studies included the MIT and Fernald School radioisotope studies, the Thalidomide tragedy, the Willowbrook hepatitis
Hepatitis
Hepatitis is a medical condition defined by the inflammation of the liver and characterized by the presence of inflammatory cells in the tissue of the organ. The name is from the Greek hepar , the root being hepat- , meaning liver, and suffix -itis, meaning "inflammation"...

 study, and Stanley Milgram
Stanley Milgram
Stanley Milgram was an American social psychologist most notable for his controversial study known as the Milgram Experiment. The study was conducted in the 1960s during Milgram's professorship at Yale...

's studies of obedience to authority.

Survey questionnaires



Statistical surveys are used in psychology for measuring attitudes and traits, monitoring changes in mood, checking the validity of experimental manipulations, and for a wide variety of other psychological topics. Most commonly, psychologists use paper-and-pencil surveys. However, surveys are also conducted over the phone or through e-mail. Increasingly, web-based surveys are being used in research. Similar methodology is also used in applied setting, such as clinical assessment and personnel assessment.

Longitudinal studies


Longitudinal studies are often used in psychology to study developmental trends across the life span, and in sociology to study life events throughout lifetimes or generations. The reason for this is that unlike cross-sectional studies, longitudinal studies track the same people, and therefore the differences observed in those people are less likely to be the result of cultural differences across generations. Because of this benefit, longitudinal studies make observing changes more accurate and they are applied in various other fields.

Because most longitudinal studies are observational, in the sense that they observe the state of the world without manipulating it, it has been argued that they may have less power to detect causal relationships than do experiments. They also suffer methodological limitations such as from selective attrition because people with similar characteristics may be more likely to drop out of the study making it difficult to analyze.

Some longitudinal studies are experiments, called repeated-measures experiments. Psychologists often use the crossover design
Crossover study
A crossover study is a longitudinal study in which subjects receive a sequence of different treatments . While crossover studies can be observational studies, many important crossover studies are controlled experiments, which are discussed in this article...

 to reduce the influence of confounding
Confounding
In statistics, a confounding variable is an extraneous variable in a statistical model that correlates with both the dependent variable and the independent variable...

 covariate
Covariate
In statistics, a covariate is a variable that is possibly predictive of the outcome under study. A covariate may be of direct interest or it may be a confounding or interacting variable....

s and to reduce the number of subjects
Efficiency (statistics)
In statistics, an efficient estimator is an estimator that estimates the quantity of interest in some “best possible” manner. The notion of “best possible” relies upon the choice of a particular loss function — the function which quantifies the relative degree of undesirability of estimation errors...

.

Observation in natural settings




In the same way Jane Goodall
Jane Goodall
Dame Jane Morris Goodall, DBE , is a British primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist, and UN Messenger of Peace. Considered to be the world's foremost expert on chimpanzees, Goodall is best known for her 45-year study of social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National...

 studied the role of chimpanzee
Chimpanzee
Chimpanzee, sometimes colloquially chimp, is the common name for the two extant species of ape in the genus Pan. The Congo River forms the boundary between the native habitat of the two species:...

 social and family life, psychologists conduct similar observational studies in human social, professional and family lives. Sometimes the participants are aware they are being observed and other times it is covert: the participants do not know they are being observed. Ethical guidelines need to be taken into consideration when covert observation is being carried out.

Qualitative and descriptive research




Research designed to answer questions about the current state of affairs such as the thoughts, feelings and behaviors of individuals is known as descriptive research. Descriptive research can be qualitative or quantitative in orientation. Qualitative research is descriptive research that is focused on observing and describing events as they occur, with the goal of capturing all of the richness of everyday behavior and with the hope of discovering and understanding phenomena that might have been missed if only more cursory examinations have been made.

Neuropsychological methods




Neuropsychology seeks to connect aspects of behavior and mental activity with the structure and function of the brain
Human brain
The human brain has the same general structure as the brains of other mammals, but is over three times larger than the brain of a typical mammal with an equivalent body size. Estimates for the number of neurons in the human brain range from 80 to 120 billion...

. Cognitive neuropsychology
Cognitive neuropsychology
Cognitive neuropsychology is a branch of cognitive psychology that aims to understand how the structure and function of the brain relates to specific psychological processes. It places a particular emphasis on studying the cognitive effects of brain injury or neurological illness with a view to...

 and cognitive neuropsychiatry
Cognitive neuropsychiatry
Cognitive neuropsychiatry is a sub-discipline of psychology and psychiatry that aims to understand mental illness and psychopathology in terms of models of normal psychological function. It is also a way of uncovering normal psychological processes by studying the effects of their change or...

 study neurological or mental impairment in an attempt to infer theories of normal mind and brain function. This typically involves looking for differences in patterns of remaining ability (known as "functional disassociations") which can give clues as to whether abilities are composed of smaller functions, or are controlled by a single cognitive mechanism.

In addition, experimental techniques are often used to study the neuropsychology of healthy individuals. These include behavioral experiments, brain-scanning or functional neuroimaging
Functional neuroimaging
Functional neuroimaging is the use of neuroimaging technology to measure an aspect of brain function, often with a view to understanding the relationship between activity in certain brain areas and specific mental functions...

, used to examine the activity of the brain during task performance, and techniques such as transcranial magnetic stimulation
Transcranial magnetic stimulation
Transcranial magnetic stimulation is a noninvasive method to cause depolarization or hyperpolarization in the neurons of the brain...

, which can safely alter the function of small brain areas to reveal their importance in mental operations.

Computational modeling



Computational modeling
Computer simulation
A computer simulation, a computer model, or a computational model is a computer program, or network of computers, that attempts to simulate an abstract model of a particular system...

 is a tool often used in mathematical psychology
Mathematical psychology
Mathematical psychology is an approach to psychological research that is based on mathematical modeling of perceptual, cognitive and motor processes, and on the establishment of law-like rules that relate quantifiable stimulus characteristics with quantifiable behavior...

 and cognitive psychology
Cognitive psychology
Cognitive psychology is a subdiscipline of psychology exploring internal mental processes.It is the study of how people perceive, remember, think, speak, and solve problems.Cognitive psychology differs from previous psychological approaches in two key ways....

 to simulate a particular behavior using a computer. This method has several advantages. Since modern computers process extremely quickly, many simulations can be run in a short time, allowing for a great deal of statistical power. Modeling also allows psychologists to visualize hypotheses about the functional organization of mental events that couldn't be directly observed in a human.

Several different types of modeling are used to study behavior. Connectionism
Connectionism
Connectionism is a set of approaches in the fields of artificial intelligence, cognitive psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience and philosophy of mind, that models mental or behavioral phenomena as the emergent processes of interconnected networks of simple units...

 uses neural network
Neural network
The term neural network was traditionally used to refer to a network or circuit of biological neurons. The modern usage of the term often refers to artificial neural networks, which are composed of artificial neurons or nodes...

s to simulate the brain. Another method is symbolic modeling, which represents many different mental objects using variables and rules. Other types of modeling include dynamic systems and stochastic
Stochastic process
In probability theory, a stochastic process , or sometimes random process, is the counterpart to a deterministic process...

 modeling.

Animal studies


Animal learning experiments aid in investigating the biological basis of teaching, memory and behavior. In the 1890s, Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov
Ivan Pavlov
Ivan Petrovich Pavlov was a famous Russian physiologist. Although he made significant contributions to psychology, he was not in fact a psychologist himself but was a mathematician and actually had strong distaste for the field....

 famously used dogs to demonstrate classical conditioning
Classical conditioning
Classical conditioning is a form of conditioning that was first demonstrated by Ivan Pavlov...

. Non-human primates
Animal testing on non-human primates
Experiments involving non-human primates include toxicity testing for medical and non-medical substances; studies of infectious disease, such as HIV and hepatitis; neurological studies; behavior and cognition; reproduction; genetics; and xenotransplantation. Around 65,000–70,000 are used every...

, cats, dogs, pigeons, rats
Laboratory rat
A laboratory rat is a rat of the species Rattus norvegicus which is bred and kept for scientific research. Laboratory rats have served as an important animal model for research in psychology, medicine, and other fields.- Origins :...

 and other rodents
Animal testing on rodents
Rodents are commonly used in animal testing, particularly guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rats, and mice.-The statistics:In the UK in 2004, 1,910,110 mice, 464,727 rats and 37,475 other rodents were used...

 are often used in psychological experiments. Ideally, controlled experiments introduce only one independent variable
Independent variable
The terms "dependent variable" and "independent variable" are used in similar but subtly different ways in mathematics and statistics as part of the standard terminology in those subjects...

 at a time, in order to ascertain its unique effects upon dependent variables. These conditions are approximated best in laboratory settings. In contrast, human environments and genetic backgrounds vary so widely, and depend upon so many factors, that it is difficult to control important variables for human subjects. Of course, there are pitfalls in generalizing findings from animal studies to humans although animal models can be helpful in developing an understanding of human behavior (e.g., addiction research).

Theory


Criticisms of psychological research often come from perceptions that it is a "soft" science. Philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn
Thomas Kuhn
Thomas Samuel Kuhn was an American historian and philosopher of science whose controversial 1962 book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions was deeply influential in both academic and popular circles, introducing the term "paradigm shift," which has since become an English-language staple.Kuhn...

's 1962 critique implied psychology overall was in a pre-paradigm state, lacking the agreement on overarching theory found in mature sciences such as chemistry
Chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

 and physics
Physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

.

Because some areas of psychology rely on research methods such as surveys and questionnaire
Questionnaire
A questionnaire is a research instrument consisting of a series of questions and other prompts for the purpose of gathering information from respondents. Although they are often designed for statistical analysis of the responses, this is not always the case...

s, critics have asserted that psychology is not an objective science. Other phenomena that psychologists are interested in, such as personality
Personality psychology
Personality psychology is a branch of psychology that studies personality and individual differences. Its areas of focus include:* Constructing a coherent picture of the individual and his or her major psychological processes...

, thinking, and emotion
Emotion
Emotion is a complex psychophysiological experience of an individual's state of mind as interacting with biochemical and environmental influences. In humans, emotion fundamentally involves "physiological arousal, expressive behaviors, and conscious experience." Emotion is associated with mood,...

, cannot be directly measured and are often inferred from subjective self-reports, which may be problematic.

Misuses of hypothesis-testing
Statistical hypothesis testing
A statistical hypothesis test is a method of making decisions using data, whether from a controlled experiment or an observational study . In statistics, a result is called statistically significant if it is unlikely to have occurred by chance alone, according to a pre-determined threshold...

 in psychology, and the use of hypothesis testing at all is controversial. Research has documented that many psychologists confuse statistical significance
Statistical significance
In statistics, a result is called statistically significant if it is unlikely to have occurred by chance. The phrase test of significance was coined by Ronald Fisher....

 with practical importance
Effect size
In statistics, an effect size is a measure of the strength of the relationship between two variables in a statistical population, or a sample-based estimate of that quantity...

. Statistically significant but practically unimportant results are common with large samples. Some psychologists have responded with an increased use of effect size
Effect size
In statistics, an effect size is a measure of the strength of the relationship between two variables in a statistical population, or a sample-based estimate of that quantity...

 statistics, rather than sole reliance on the Fisherian p < .05 significance
Statistical significance
In statistics, a result is called statistically significant if it is unlikely to have occurred by chance. The phrase test of significance was coined by Ronald Fisher....

 criterion (whereby an observed difference is deemed "statistically significant" if an effect of that size or larger would occur with 5% (or less) probability
Frequency probability
Frequency probability is the interpretation of probability that defines an event's probability as the limit of its relative frequency in a large number of trials. The development of the frequentist account was motivated by the problems and paradoxes of the previously dominant viewpoint, the...

 in independent replications
Replication (statistics)
In engineering, science, and statistics, replication is the repetition of an experimental condition so that the variability associated with the phenomenon can be estimated. ASTM, in standard E1847, defines replication as "the repetition of the set of all the treatment combinations to be compared in...

, assuming the truth of the null-hypothesis of no difference between the treatments).

Sometimes the debate comes from within psychology, for example between laboratory-oriented researchers and practitioners such as clinicians. In recent years, and particularly in the U.S., there has been increasing debate about the nature of therapeutic effectiveness and about the relevance of empirically examining psychotherapeutic strategies.

Practice


Some observers perceive a gap between scientific theory and its application—in particular, the application of unsupported or unsound clinical practices. Critics say there has been an increase in the number of mental health training programs that do not instill scientific competence. One skeptic asserts that practices, such as "facilitated communication
Facilitated communication
Facilitated communication is a process by which a facilitator supports the hand or arm of a communicatively impaired individual while using a keyboard or other devices with the aim of helping the individual to develop pointing skills and to communicate...

 for infantile autism"; memory-recovery techniques including body work; and other therapies, such as rebirthing
Rebirthing
Rebirthing may refer to:*Rebirthing-breathwork, a form of alternative medicine mainly consisting of a breathing technique*Attachment therapy, a controversial category of alternative child mental health interventions intended to treat attachment disorders...

 and reparenting
Reparenting
Reparenting is a therapy rooted in Transactional Analysis, which was designed to re-orient into healthier thoughts and behaviors, psychological issues that were believed to have first originated in childhood through neglect, trauma, abuse, abandonment...

, may be dubious or even dangerous, despite their popularity. In 1984, Allen Neuringer had made a similar point regarding the experimental analysis of behavior.

Current ethical standards of psychology would not permit the following studies to be conducted today. These human studies would violate the Ethics Code of the American Psychological Association, the Canadian Code of Conduct for Research Involving Humans, and the Belmont Report
Belmont Report
The Belmont Report is a report created by the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research. Its full title is the Belmont Report: Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research, Report of the National Commission...

. Current ethical guidelines state that using non-human animals for scientific purposes is only acceptable when the harm (physical or psychological) done to animals is outweighed by the benefits of the research. Keeping this in mind, psychologists can use on animals research techniques that would not necessarily be performed on humans.
  • An experiment
    Milgram experiment
    The Milgram experiment on obedience to authority figures was a series of notable social psychology experiments conducted by Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram, which measured the willingness of study participants to obey an authority figure who instructed them to perform acts that...

     by Stanley Milgram
    Stanley Milgram
    Stanley Milgram was an American social psychologist most notable for his controversial study known as the Milgram Experiment. The study was conducted in the 1960s during Milgram's professorship at Yale...

     raised questions about the ethics
    Ethics
    Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

     of scientific experimentation because of the extreme emotional stress suffered by the participants. It measured the willingness of study participants to obey an authority figure who instructed them to perform acts that conflicted with their personal conscience.

  • Harry Harlow
    Harry Harlow
    Harry Frederick Harlow was an American psychologist best known for his maternal-separation and social isolation experiments on rhesus monkeys, which demonstrated the importance of care-giving and companionship in social and cognitive development...

     drew condemnation for his "pit of despair" experiments on rhesus macaque
    Rhesus Macaque
    The Rhesus macaque , also called the Rhesus monkey, is one of the best-known species of Old World monkeys. It is listed as Least Concern in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, and its tolerance of a broad range of habitats...

     monkeys at the University of Wisconsin–Madison
    University of Wisconsin–Madison
    The University of Wisconsin–Madison is a public research university located in Madison, Wisconsin, United States. Founded in 1848, UW–Madison is the flagship campus of the University of Wisconsin System. It became a land-grant institution in 1866...

     in the 1970s. The aim of the research was to produce an animal model of clinical depression. Harlow also devised what he called a "rape rack", to which the female isolates were tied in normal monkey mating posture. In 1974, American literary critic Wayne C. Booth
    Wayne C. Booth
    Wayne Clayson Booth was an American literary critic. He was the George M. Pullman Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in English Language & Literature and the College at the University of Chicago...

     wrote that, "Harry Harlow and his colleagues go on torturing their nonhuman primates decade after decade, invariably proving what we all knew in advance—that social creatures can be destroyed by destroying their social ties." He writes that Harlow made no mention of the criticism of the morality of his work.


University psychology departments have ethics committees dedicated to the rights and well-being of research subjects. Researchers in psychology must gain approval of their research projects before conducting any experiment to protect the interests of human participants and laboratory animals.

Systemic bias


In 1959 statistician Theodore Sterling examined the results of psychological studies and discovered that 97% of them supported their initial hypotheses, implying a possible publication bias
Publication bias
Publication bias is the tendency of researchers, editors, and pharmaceutical companies to handle the reporting of experimental results that are positive differently from results that are negative or inconclusive, leading to bias in the overall published literature...

. Similarly Fanelli (2010) found out that 91.5% of psychiatry/psychology studies confirmed the effects they were looking for, which was around five times more often than in space
Space science
The term space science may mean:* The study of issues specifically related to space travel and space exploration, including space medicine.* Science performed in outer space ....

- or geosciences. Fanelli argues that this is because of researchers in "softer" sciences have fewer constraints to their conscious and unconscious biases.

In 2010, a group of researchers reported a systemic bias in psychology studies towards WEIRD ("western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic") subjects. Although only 1/8 people worldwide fall into the WEIRD classification, the researchers claimed that 60–90% of psychology studies are performed on WEIRD subjects. The article gave examples of results that differ significantly between WEIRD subjects and tribal cultures, including the Müller-Lyer illusion.

See also



  • Artificial intelligence
    Artificial intelligence
    Artificial intelligence is the intelligence of machines and the branch of computer science that aims to create it. AI textbooks define the field as "the study and design of intelligent agents" where an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its...

  • Consciousness
    Consciousness
    Consciousness is a term that refers to the relationship between the mind and the world with which it interacts. It has been defined as: subjectivity, awareness, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind...

  • Family therapy
    Family therapy
    Family therapy, also referred to as couple and family therapy, family systems therapy, and family counseling, is a branch of psychotherapy that works with families and couples in intimate relationships to nurture change and development. It tends to view change in terms of the systems of...

  • Group therapy
    Group therapy
    Group psychotherapy or group therapy is a form of psychotherapy in which one or more therapists treat a small group of clients together as a group...

  • List of psychologists
  • List of psychology organizations
  • List of publications in psychology
  • media psychology
    Media Psychology
    Media Psychology seeks an understanding of how people perceive, interpret, use, and respond to a media-rich world. In doing so, media psychologists can identify potential benefits and problems and promote the development of positive media ....

  • Philosophy of psychology
    Philosophy of psychology
    Philosophy of psychology refers to issues at the theoretical foundations of modern psychology. Some of these issues are epistemological concerns about the methodology of psychological investigation...

  • Philosophy of mind
    Philosophy of mind
    Philosophy of mind is a branch of philosophy that studies the nature of the mind, mental events, mental functions, mental properties, consciousness and their relationship to the physical body, particularly the brain. The mind-body problem, i.e...

  • Sociology
    Sociology
    Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

  • Social Work
    Social work
    Social Work is a professional and academic discipline that seeks to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of an individual, group, or community by intervening through research, policy, community organizing, direct practice, and teaching on behalf of those afflicted with poverty or any real or...


External links