Psychology is the study of human behaviour and mind. Psychology includes both cognitive and emotional aspects of human thought and emotion, and also the study of unconscious and conscious phenomena. It is an interesting academic field of enormous scope, transcending the boundaries both of the physical and social sciences. The most common disorders associated with the mind are depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, drug abuse, eating disorder, Post-traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism. There are numerous other mental disorders that may be confused with or be an extension of psychology.
There are two main branches of psychology: developmental psychology and forensic psychology. Both branches address the causes of disorders, but in very different ways. Those working in developmental psychology attempt to explain the behaviour and development of human beings from the perspectives of psychology, education and research. On the other hand, forensic psychologists investigate deaths, crimes and missing persons and try to uncover the motives. Most people confuse these two branches. In fact, the two branches often work closely together, but there are examples where they diverge.
Structuralism is one of the many theories of psychology that postulates that all mental processes arise from a number of underlying basic structure that has a central role in shaping our thoughts, feelings and actions. It is named after the British philosopher Erickson who distinguished six psychological processes on their basis. According to structuralism all mental processes are motivated by a number of basic needs. These needs can be categorized into two and these are namely, sexual and non-sexual need. Basically, it says that all mental processes are motivated by the need to survive. This has led to a number of psychological theories that seek to explain how sexual and non-sexual instinctual behaviours arise.
Behaviorism on the other hand postulates that all psychological traits that differ from each other arise from a number of psychological causes that are highly related to the brain’s functions. It was first formulated by Sigmund Freud who was a pioneer in this field. It postulates that different types of behavior arise from a number of drives or instincts that guide our activities. This theory is closely related to biological and psychological science.
Behaviorism is one of the most influential schools of psychology and its theories form the base for much of modern psychology. Its central premise is that behavior is shaped by a number of instincts that motivate our actions. Freud’s theory of compulsory sex and his ideas about abnormal sexuality have been criticized by other scientists. However, the facts he presented were widely accepted in the field of psychology. As such, his ideas on behaviorism continue to be influential even today. His ideas, techniques and illustrations have helped people think about various psychological problems.
Functionalism on the other hand postulates that our psychological characteristics are shaped by the structure of our brain. Many psychologists argue that people can learn how to achieve their goals by using their brain; thus, functionalism is a more conservative view in comparison to structuralism. The two theories complement each other and can be used together to help improve one’s psychology. Structuralism in particular can be useful for studying complex psychological issues like addiction and poverty which are difficult to understand through experiment and controlled testing.
Educational psychology involves studying how students develop psychologically as they go through different stages of their lives. It also involves studying how different factors like culture and society affect a child’s development. Educational psychologists are mostly interested in understanding the educational system which helps children grow properly. They also study the effects of technology on children and how it affects them.
Developmental psychology is concerned with how psychological disorders develop over time and how they affect someone’s personal growth. A psychologist who specializes in developmental disorders deals with how these disorders affect a person’s mental health. Other specializations in this field are schizophrenia and autism. While the field of psychology continues to be a wide one, these three areas are some of the most important ones.