Thursday, May 19, 2011

Chapter #1

Definition and Nature

Psychology - The term psychology came from the Greek work "psyche" which means the mind and soul and "logos" which means is to study. When combined, psychology literally means the "study of the mind and soul". On the modern sense,psychology could be defined as "the scientific study and practical application of observable and mental processes of organisms". It basically deals with the systematic of behavioral processes of different organisms.

To further understand the terms used in the definition, it is necessary to recognize the following elements:

Science - Psychology is considered as a science because it is focused upon the study and investigation of certain behavior with the application of one or a combination of scientific methods. It can be categorically labeled as empirical  and dependent upon measurement. Therefore, gathering of factual information is considered important to prove certain phenomena.

Study of Behavior - The basic idea that psychology is the study of the mind may be considered to be a difficult task to achieve. As one would have difficulty on trying to study on what runs in the mind of an individual. Therefore, in order to study the mind, one has to associate the way of thinking of an individual to his/her behavior.

Mental Processes - This includes forms of cognition or the ways of knowing which includes man's perception, attention, and capability to remember, to reason, and to solve problems,dreams, fantasies, wishes, and anticipation are also considered as mentals processes.

Psychology and Other Sciences

Psychology is a branch of social science although it differs from the other social sciences such as: Sociology, Humanities, Political Science, History, or Economics, because psychology specifically is engaged with the study of an individual and its processes. While other social sciences deals with the study of groups, or history, psychology is less a science of reported findings, as it attempts to ask and answer questions using observable behavior and what can be classified as a mental processes of a subject.

The following fields of sciences are closely related to psychology:

  • Bio psychology - is the application of the principles of biology to the study mental processes and behavior.
  • Physiological Psychology - is the study of neural mechanisms of perception and behavior through direct manipulation of the brains of a non-human animal subject in controlled experiments.
  • Psychiatry - is a branch of medicine which exists to study, prevent, and treat mental disorders in humans. The art and science of clinical application of psychiatry  nave been considered a bridge between the social world and those who are mentally ill.
  • Psychotherapy - pertains to the application of specialized psychological methods to the treatment of diagnosed mental disorders or to the problem of the persons daily adjustment.
  • Psychotropics - is a sub-field of medicine that deals with the various pharmacological agents such as anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, anti-manic, and anti-psychotic agents utilized to affect behavior, mood and feelings.
  • Psycho-surgery  - is a branch of medicine which involves the surgical severing and chemical alterations of the brain fibers with the purpose of modifying psychological disturbances and other behavior aberrations.
  • Social Psychology - merged the discipline of Sociology and Anthropology together with the basic premises about the common concern of psychology which is to study human behavior and mental processes.
  • Psycholinguistics / Psychology of Language - is the study of the psychological and neurobiological  factors that enable humans to acquire, use, and understand language.

Different Types of Behavior

Behavior refers to the actions of the individual when exposed or placed on a certain situation or environment. Behavior can be considered as:
  • Overt and Covert - Overt behavior is a behavior which is observable and can be manifested outwardly (i.e. walking, playing, eating, listening). On the other hand, Covert behavior is a behavior of which actions that is not directly visible (i.e. lying, thinking, learning).
  • Conscious and Unconscious - Conscious behavior pertains to the action that is within one's awareness (i.e. pounding of the heart when get nervous, falling in love) while the Unconscious behavior are those actions done by an individual yet he/she is not aware of doing so. (i.e. thumb sucking, nail bitting).
  • Rational and Irrational - Rational behavior is manifested through an action which is in the realm of sanity and adequate reason (admiring an athlete because of his.her physique) and Irrational behavior pertains to the actions which are done without any apparent reason and explanation.
  • Voluntary and Involuntary - Voluntary behavior is done with the man's full will and discretion while Involuntary behavior are those actions done automatically like breathing, digestion, and circulation of the blood.
  • Simple and Complex - Behavior may be also be considered as simple or complex based on the numbers of neurons involve in the process of behavior. Simple behavior utilizes fewer neurons as compared to the amount of neurons used in a complex behavior.

Aims and Goals of Psychology

Psychology also aims to contribute further to the knowledge of human nature. Specifically, it aims to deepen the knowledge about human behavior so that man can improve the quality of his/her existence. Simply undertaken to achieve these objectives to describe, to understand, to predict and influence human and animal behavior

In describing behavior, a detailed characterization of a certain phenomenon can be presented a be a means of further utilization of the study.

In understanding, it involves the organization of facts about behavior, development of reasons pertaining with the different relationships among observe behavior, and finally, arriving to a reasonable principle and paradigms of explaining behavior.

To predict behavior will enable the psychologist to anticipate any future actions of any individual. 

To influence which involves the alteration of behavior of an individual. It further tends to change a certain trait, idea, and beliefs of the individual.

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