Psychology is modern science, with the most advance happening in over the past 150 years. Its origin can be traced back to ancient Greece, 400-500 years BC. According to the American Association, the study of the mind and behavior is termed Psychology.
Psychology is a complicated discipline & it includes various sub-fields of study like human development, health, sports, clinical, social behavior, and cognitive processes. Initially, philosophers used to discuss many topics which are now being studied by modern psychologists, such as memory, determinism vs. free will, nature vs. nurture, attraction, and many more.
In the initial days of psychology, there were two dominant theoretical perspectives regarding the brain's functioning, i.e., structuralism and functionalism. Structuralism was the name given to the approach established by Wilhelm Wundt, which was dedicated to breaking down mental processes into essential factors.
Structuralism depends on trained introspection, a research method to examine what was going in their minds while performing a particular task. However, contemplation turned out to be an unreliable method because of variation among individuals.
An American psychologist, William James, developed an approach known as functionalism which disagreed with the focus of functionalism. He focused on how and why a human being does something. James suggested that psychologists should observe the underlying cause of behavior & mental processes. (Dashiell, J.F., 1949. Fundamentals of general psychology)
A Different View
Functionalism and structuralism have been replaced by many dominant & influential approaches to psychology. Each theory shared a set of assumptions of an individual's behavior and manner, why it is crucial to study, & how to study it.
In the early 20th century, Psychoanalysis, founded by Sigmund Freud, was the dominant paradigm in psychology. Freud believed that individuals could be treated by making their unconscious thought conscious & by motivating them.
The classic modern perspective in psychology is to adopt behavioral strategies. Late humanistic force became the "third force" in psychology & anticipated the importance of personal growth and subjective experience.
During the period of 1960s -1970s, psychology began a cognitive revolution with an approach related to memory, perception, cognitive development, mental ailment, and much more. (Rabin, M., 2002. A perspective on psychology and economics)
A Theoretical View
Some of the most famous psychologists, including Sigmund Freud, Piaget, and Erikson, have proposed theories to explain aspects of development and behavior. As some of the theories are no longer popular, it is still vital to learn the effects that these ideas have on psychology-
Some of the basic theories are -
- The Big 5 Theory of Personality
- Erikson's Theory of Psychosocial Development
- Freud's Theory of Psychosexual Development
- Kohlberg's Theory of Moral Development
- Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
- Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development
Study of Mind and Behavior
Any psychology student must have a basic understanding of research methods used by psychologists to understand how and why people behave strangely.
Even if you are not planning to become a research psychologist, learning more about the scientific approach towards studying human behavior can give you a more extraordinary idea of the findings you have encountered during the studies.
The scientific method and processes of managing a psychology experiment are essential for understanding how researchers study the mind and behavior. (Breakwell, G.M., Hammond, S.E., Fife-Schaw, C.E. and Smith, J.A., 2006)
Psychology is gradually evolving as new fields and branches are continuing to emerge. It is crucial to know that branches of psychology is of equal importance & no single branch is of more significance or better than others. Each area of psychology contributes to our understanding of psychological factors like who you are, your behavior, & the way how you think.
By conducting research and developing innovative ideas and applications for psychological knowledge, professionals working in every branch of psychology may help people understand themselves better. They may also help them confront the problem they are facing, & live better healthy & happy life.