What Is Psychology?
Psychology is the study of people's behavior, performance, and mental operations. It also refers to the application of the knowledge, which can be used to understand events, treat mental health issues, and improve education, employment, and relationships. The subject lies at the intersection of applied, educational, and theoretical science.
There are sub-areas of psychology, including:
- Physical conditions
- Human development
The subject involves other areas of study, including humanities, natural sciences, and the social sciences.
What does Psychology mean? Where does it come from? Hank gives you a 10 minute intro to one of the more tricky sciences and talks about some of the big names in the development of the field. Welcome to Crash Course Psychology!!!
It's all in the mind.
— George Harrison
In its primary form, psychology studies people—who and what they are. It looks into why they act and think the way they do and how someone can improve himself or herself. Therefore, everything a person does is connected to the subject.
Psychology allows people to understand more about how the body and mind work together. This knowledge can help with decision-making and avoiding stressful situations. It can help with time management, setting and achieving goals, and living effectively.
The science not only allows people to be more successful, but it can also impact their health. It helps many tackle their mental illnesses so that they can continue living their lives. Psychological studies have also aided in drug development and the ability to diagnose various diseases (such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's).
I can personally testify to the importance of the subject. Psychology has helped me as a writer because I have become more determined to do the things I will enjoy and write on the topics that I like. I can understand who I am and look at events on a more positive aspect. Whenever I have a problem, I can handle it better. Down to the choices over the projects I will work on and the way I will handle my time, psychology helps me make better decisions within my life.
Through pride we are ever deceiving ourselves. But deep down below the surface of the average conscience a still, small voice says to us, something is out of tune.
— C. G. Jung
Five Ways Psychology Is Applicable to Everyday Life
Everyone uses psychology on a daily basis, whether they are talking with friends, arguing with a partner, or disciplining their children. Most people just don’t realize the science behind their decisions. Understand how your mind works helps in everyday life by allowing you to build strong relationships and make the best decisions. Here are five ways how:
- The building of relationships: Psychology makes it easier to live with others by understanding them more and working with their behavior. Below, University of Texas professor James Pennebaker explains one way psychology can be used to predict romantic compatibility.
- Improving communication: A greater understanding of how humans think and behave will help people communicate better. They will be more effective in understanding what a person really means by gestures and actions.
- Building self-confidence: By understanding more about yourself and your personality, you can gain more self-confidence. You will learn more about your weaknesses and can build on them.
- Enriching careers: You will be able to understand your coworkers more and stand a better chance of building friendships. It helps to deal with their actions to enrich your career.
The pendulum of the mind oscillates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong.
— C. G. Jung
Why Is Psychology Important to You?
Top Reasons to Study Psychology
There are as many justifications to study psychology as there are students studying psychology. It's a personal choice. But there are five reasons I want to share with you that are often mentioned as an important reason to study psychology.
1. You Learn Why People Can Act Strangely
People are fascinating creatures! We all enjoy learning about the crazy things people do. This is what makes psychology, especially social psychology, fascinating. For instance, you will learn about the bystander effect, which explains why you are more likely to be helped when one person sees or hears you in your hour of need than when a large group is watching.
2. You Learn About Kick-Ass Experiments
Many early scientific studies wouldn't pass the ethical test nowadays. Still, it's interesting to read about them.
One of the best known is the Stanford prisoners experiment, which studied the psychological effects of the power dynamic between prisoners and guards by having volunteers simulate a prison situation. Or that of Little Albert, a little boy who was taught to fear a little rat. Little Albert ended up being afraid of fluffy white animals for the rest of his life. The video below explains the research in six minutes. Fascinating and outrageous.
3. You Learn to Do Research
Studying at university is cool because you learn academic skills. As a result, you end up with a more critical attitude, and you do not believe everything published or broadcast. And at one time or another, you'll get to do research about a topic of personal interest.
One of the most important tools that a psychologist has to his disposal is research. Research provides insight into human behavior, provided the psychologist makes use of scientific methods.
4. You Learn About Mental Disorders and Treatment Options
Many psychologists also deal with mental disorders and options for their treatment. Mental disorders are many and can have a debilitating effect on people's lives. Fortunately, various psychological treatments have been developed for many mental issues. Best practices have been written down in treatment and diagnosis protocols.
The prospect of being able to help others in their struggle to live a "normal" life appeals to many students.
5. You Gain Insight Into People's Behavior
Doing, thinking, feeling, and acting—as a student of psychology, you will get to study all aspects of human behavior. You will learn not only about the general characteristics of human behavior, but also about the differences.
What drives people? And how can you influence human behavior? These two questions are central to the practice. Examples of questions psychologists address include:
- How do people react to stress?
- Do athletes perform better after mental training?
- What is love, anyway?
- Why does one child perform better in school than the other?
- How is it that some of us are friendly and relaxed while others are often tense or stressed out?
The reason I chose to study clinical psychology was a direct result of suffering from panic attacks. I was dealt a bad hand of psychologists. As a consequence, my condition only worsened. And when I hit rock bottom, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I set out to learn more about psychology—in particular, I wanted to learn about anxiety disorders and find the best treatment options.
For me, this turned out to be a smart choice that I never regretted. I got my life back.
Truth be told, I enjoyed all the other reasons listed above as well—except for the research, which involves a lot of statistics and math, subjects I try to avoid like the plague.
Don't become a mere recorder of facts, but try to penetrate the mystery of their origin.
— Ivan Pavlov
Different Psychology Careers
Psychologists go on to work many different careers. Some are mostly research-based, while others work more closely with people. A few common settings psychologists work in include universities, hospitals and clinics, schools, government, and business, although there are many more careers than the ones listed here.
- Universities: Ever wonder what makes food taste appealing or how girls and boys are conditioned differently in different cultures? Psychology professors spend time researching their specialities when they are not in the classroom. According to the American Psychological Association, over a quarter of psychology PhD students go on to work at a university or four-year college.
- Hospitals and clinics: Psychologists can also work in the health services, where they can use their knowledge to help treat people for problems from anxiety to addiction. Clinical psychologists can specialize in treating children, adults, families, couples, or different types of issues, such as depression or trauma.
- Primary and secondary schools: Psychologists can work in primary and secondary schools and school districts. A school psychologist uses his or her knowledge of children’s cognitive, emotional, and behavioral development to help students be successful. These professionals will likely research and monitor how students are doing at the school, implement school-wide policies, and intervene with struggling students.
- Government: The government employs psychologists in a wide range of careers from counseling positions to industrial organizational positions, which help the government create tests and training courses. Psychologists for the military vet men and women who want to enlist, treat issues such as post-traumatic stress syndrome, and provide counseling to the families of soldiers.
- Business: Consumer psychologists study consumers’ behaviors to find insights that could helpful for businesses. Industrial-organizational psychologists, on the other hand, focus their attention within the company, looking for ways to increase productivity through things such as better employee selection and training or a better designed or organized workplace. Psychologists can work for these businesses as full-time employees or as consultants.
Mean Salaries of Different Types of Psychologists
|Type of Pyschologist||Mean Salary|
Psychology professors at universities or four-year colleges
Clinical psychologists at general medical and surgical hospitals
School psychologists at elementary and secondary schools
Management, scientific, and technical consultants
There is evidence that people studied how the mind and behavior function since the days of the ancient Egyptians and ancient Greeks. However, psychology was considered a part of philosophy until it developed into a science with its roots in experimental research. Wilhelm Wundt opened the world's first psychology lab in 1879, marking the start of psychology as a separate discipline.
Since psychology was recognized as a distinct field of study, it has split into many specializations. Now, the American Psychological Association lists 56 divisions focusing on everything from how the brain physically responds to habits and interactions, how to measure aspects of personality and behaviors in the first place, how to use that knowledge of psychology to improve schools, workplaces, and communities, how to make planes safer and sell more products, and how to help people with psychological problems.
Here are just a handful you can choose to focus your studies on in university:
- Aviation: Aviation psychologists study all aspects related to pilot performance in order to increase safety.
- Biological and Physiological: This area of study focuses on the physical processes of and correlations with psychology.
- Clinical: This field treats mental illness and other psychological problems.
- Cognitive: Ever wonder how you think or how memory works? This field studies how the mind works.
- Comparative: Comparative psychology studies animal behavior.
- Consumer: This field studies how consumers interact with products and services, often to help companies better sell those products and services.
- Counseling: Counseling psychology provides therapy to help people overcome health-related, emotional, or social concerns.
- Developmental: Developmental psychology studies the way people change or develop physically, emotionally, intellectually, and socially throughout their lives.
- Educational: Also known as school psychology, this field work with the school system to improve student's success and wellbeing through an understanding of their behaviors and psychological needs.
- Experimental: This field refers to the scientific research psychologists do to better understand the human mind and behaviors.
- Family: This field examines and seeks to improve family and marital relationships.
- Forensic: Forensic psychology is when psychologists use their expertise for legal or criminal cases.
- Geropsychology: Geropsychology is the psychology of aging, something that is sure to gain importance with the graying of America.
- Industrial Organizational: This field focuses on the question: How can you improve productivity in the workplace by cultivating the wellbeing of employees?
- Psychometrics and Quantitative: Psychometrics psychology deal with tests and experiments that measure personality and intelligence.
- Social: This field focuses on how your beliefs, emotions, and behaviors are affected by others. What are the causes of prejudices and other types of social conditioning?
- Sports: This is the study of how psychology can be used to improve performance and motivation in athletes.
For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.
- The titles “psychologist” and “psychiatrist” refer to the same profession.
- We can’t do much to improve our memory.
- You can’t change people’s attitudes, opinions or beliefs.
- The founders of Gestalt therapy are Fritz and Laura Perls
- The idea of psychoanalysis first started to receive serious attention under Albert Ellis
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Question: What makes one a psychologist?
Answer: In some countries you will need to have successfully completed a study of psychology in order to call yourself a psychologist.
© 2009 Raymond Philippe
Abdulrahman,from Nigeria on July 10, 2020:
Tousif ansari from Jhumri telaiya on June 19, 2020:
Raymond Philippe (author) from The Netherlands on February 13, 2020:
You are welcome
Michael on November 26, 2019:
May I get to know the role of psychology in religion please
Alphonse Odera Secondo on October 27, 2019:
wow, this is so amazing thanks a lot for good knowledge
samuel ahmadu. from gurara local gov't niger-state. on September 18, 2019:
psychology is science of mind,it teach you how to behave and whot to do in your community.and how to differentiate individuals as well.
Captain Devil Head on August 21, 2019:
Apparently, I had to write down a questionnaire for a friend of mine who is a psychology student. So for research, I stumbled upon this page by happenstance. But I must say that this webpage was really useful in helping me with the research related to psychology.
CHHAYA on August 09, 2019:
Get help full information thank you
Rupam mandaddl on July 28, 2019:
I wasnt to be apcycologist because I want to help those peopke whose minds are full of stress tension negativity thoughts but I cannot
Lloyd on July 24, 2019:
This is very good, anything psychology i like it. It always improves my life. Thanks.
Iqra on June 05, 2019:
Thanks for this article and this is very informative.
Jerusha Sumo on May 04, 2019:
I really love this website, and love reading on psychology
Francis on April 15, 2019:
This is awesome .Any one else should desire to.......
Reabetswe on December 05, 2018:
I would also like to study psychology in conselling or industrial organisational
SIRUMBYE on October 24, 2018:
The information is helpful
Faith on October 18, 2018:
What are the importants of psychology in health care practice?
Zulfiqar Ahmed Abbasi on October 17, 2018:
This is very informative
Memoona zahid on October 06, 2018:
This is very informative.. Thanx alot
sara on September 20, 2018:
Rich information but no refrences
Rushali on August 21, 2018:
Nice and very useful information about Importance of Studying Psychology. Psychology is really very interesting subject.
Arthur on May 04, 2018:
in developmental psychology how is self psychological understanding important
marafa shafii on April 14, 2018:
it very interested but I need complete handbooks of psychology
Naama Samuel on April 13, 2018:
Thx very much really for that information that help people improve on their research and related studies
Samie from Vanuatu on April 10, 2018:
Very helpful information...
ROSELYN MUENDO - FROM KENYA on March 09, 2018:
psychology is what i feed on,i walk on,i sit on .i am a counselling psychologist dealing specifically with HIV clients and i am happy seeing them realize how important their lives are and adhering to their treatment .
besides it makes me realize no one can exist on their own.
sylvia chasauka on March 07, 2018:
Very helpful information there
Sheila cheptoo on January 17, 2018:
I really appriciate sincee it has help me study for my exams of psychology
Nicholas Murithi on January 09, 2018:
good stating and explanations of the work.
taus mwadende on October 28, 2017:
thanks because its very easy to understand more god bless all
sharifah on September 19, 2017:
i want you to enlighten me about the different schools of psychology
ogwal isaac on September 11, 2017:
it has been amazing and so helpful to me.
Ruth summerton on September 06, 2017:
Thank you it has really add value to my studies
Helen witty on August 20, 2017:
very enlightening information thanks
nice though no reference on July 09, 2017:
nice though no reference
shafiu saleh on June 16, 2017:
Justus August on May 25, 2017:
I'm from Tanzania
Real this site has enriched me with enough understanding on psychology. I graduated from University of Dar es Salaam last year. Bachelor of Education in Psychology
sally on February 12, 2017:
fantastic..this is the best site to learn about what life has for us and what is in us that we tend not to know..God bless
Emily on October 26, 2016:
Good information, it has helped me do my assignment
Mohammed Addow on September 03, 2016:
Thanks a lot
shaisha on August 03, 2016:
thank for this wonderful knowledge
locho wilson on July 04, 2016:
I want to learn more about psychology.
I t will happen.
emB on June 05, 2016:
I have been doing an essay on who is the outsider in S. E. Hinton's the outsider and I have been writing that it is everyone, and people will chose who they relate to. this has been my best source! thank you!
david on April 15, 2016:
i love so much psychology
email@example.com on March 03, 2016:
thanks for your
information, it helped me a lot on my introduction to psychology assignment. psychology is interesting.
Augostinolyaweye on December 08, 2015:
I have northing 2 say than saying God help you forever
cj on November 28, 2015:
thanks for the info it helps me a lot because my course is political science.!!
GREAT POST on August 29, 2015:
I am considering psychology as my major
ROMANA PETER on May 19, 2015:
Thanks the author you have helped so much in my assignment never seen a good explanations well arranged and so simple english used. Nothing more than "BE BLESSED"
asia on April 20, 2015:
I'm very happy to visite this page psychology is very interesting if we understand, thanks for guiding me
Elena from London, UK on January 30, 2015:
Very informative. Thanks. I saw it on Twitter.
Esther Edet on January 19, 2015:
Thanks alot for such concise importance of psychology. Our everyday living is psychology in deed.
abdifatah on November 02, 2014:
so iam teacher of psycholgoy who teach the student of health school
Magrietha du Plessis from South Africa on September 16, 2014:
Thank you for taking the time to give this overview. I am afraid lots of people still psychology is all about "mad" people locked up in the "loony bin" People need to realize how it can be used in everyday life.
s kas on August 14, 2014:
thanks very much for letting me know what psychology is and its importance.i ve really enjoyed.please add more dear its helps us.
Ajah Ben on May 20, 2014:
I found this page very useful in my psychological research. But more work need to be done. More information need to be added. Thanks
Raymond Philippe (author) from The Netherlands on May 17, 2014:
Thanks for your feedback. Appreciated.
Agber Samuel Jnr. MP on May 17, 2014:
This great approach is very educating and expecially to educationlist, authors, wirter and students.
Ruby Jackson on April 03, 2014:
Psychology, is as you have written important and interesting. Voted up.
Karin on March 24, 2014:
I couldn't imagine a world without people using insights gained by psychological research. Good work!
rauhat muhamed on January 29, 2014:
its so nice subject that always help me
Doge on January 17, 2014:
Much psychology. very mind
ASIIMWE ALEX on October 11, 2013:
THX 4 THE LECTURE
Franklin Owor on September 08, 2013:
Great data. Thx.
victor ronoh on July 15, 2013:
thanx 4 the notes they have helped me alot in my studies in understanding psychology better
firstname.lastname@example.org on June 17, 2013:
it helps m a lot.. tnx
email@example.com on May 22, 2013:
i love psychology
Sanjeev on April 21, 2013:
Pls.. tell me Why is psychological made and what its important?
kanwalkhan on January 25, 2013:
psychology is to complicated but reading is eassy...psychology is very important 4 us they build up over mind how to treat others...its very awsum subject..thnx 4 alot of idea that i can learned regards to all..now im understand..thank u..
sree on December 03, 2012:
i love psychology
APOSTLE FRANCIS on December 01, 2012:
Psychology is very important as it help me in understanding myself better, especially its help in building relationships, enrich my carrer. I love this studies, thanks you
cyrex19 on November 21, 2012:
I`m marketing management student
tnx for a lot of idea that I can learned regarding on psychology
and now I understand why psychology is very important and it also used for our everyday life
thanks and more power to you!!!
jalal on November 03, 2012:
thanx alot sir...............it helps me alot in understanding what is psychology
sahara on September 05, 2012:
why business administration student study pscology
ignugent17 on July 31, 2012:
Wow very busy hub too many comments. This only means psychology is important. Thanks for sharing
augustine on July 29, 2012:
this is wonderful now im ready to seat for my exam
nathan kiptui on July 23, 2012:
I like psychology like never before.this is what we do on a daily basis. be blessed people
Creator love on June 25, 2012:
Psychology is very interesting and important in our life...may jah bless
Creator love on June 25, 2012:
Psychology is very interesting and important in our life...may jah bless
alex carillo on June 25, 2012:
i thanks to the author of this cos it help me a lot, especially my assignment. just keep on blogging cos it can help a lot of people, an idea about psycho and everything. godspeed!
justin on June 24, 2012:
tnx.!!!!!!!!i learned a lot,!tnx,,!!!!!!1
hi :) i'm JULEMIE on June 23, 2012:
U JUST GAVE ME SUCH IDEA ..... thanks 4 it!! very nice .. it really touches REALITY ...
chris on June 18, 2012:
thnks a lot,i learned a lot from heare
ner on June 17, 2012:
what is its relevance to our coosen career
marmar on June 16, 2012:
yeah...right psycho...is important to our life... :)
winks on June 13, 2012:
w/out psychology we are nothing
elizabeth wafizy on June 13, 2012:
thanks coz i av learnt a lot from here
jenny on June 09, 2012:
thank you very much to the author it help me much..more power :)
mary mighden on June 07, 2012:
i learn more about psycology
Vishal chaubey on May 13, 2012:
I am a student of b.a in psychology i know to its importence of our daily life and its importence of a teachar and learners
edwin da genius on April 26, 2012:
I love psychology because its part of me as i eat,drink and sleep it
Catherine wanzau on April 15, 2012:
Am a psychology student..en lov it wd a passion. T has helped me revise 4 ma exam..long live psyc!!
mahamoud said on April 01, 2012:
I love psychology because it make me know psychological needs of human been.
Kingsley Anyin on March 20, 2012:
Psychology is very important as it help me in understanding myself better, especially its help in building relationships, enrich my carrer. I love this studies, thanks to Jean Piaget.
MBKenston14yrs on March 11, 2012:
I just wanted to know what impact psychology has on the communitoral environment.
mesfin neme on February 19, 2012:
thank you so much.
Girma on February 16, 2012:
I want to know about the importance of personality theories in medicine & health sciences
Dennis yaw boateng sarpong on December 06, 2011:
Psychology helps us 2 describe the behaviour of people and also helps us 2 mingle with different kinds of people.
Isaya Paskal on December 03, 2011:
I love psychology,I need it and I will be psychologist. One Love
Eteka Robinson on December 03, 2011:
Now I knw wat psychology is all about...... Thankz
SIMON BUFUMBE on November 20, 2011:
Psychology controls our life I like it because it shapes us