MEANING AND SCOPE PSYCHOLOGY KNEC NOTES

Sub-topic: Meaning of psychology                                                                                                                

The word Psychology is derived from two Greek words Psyche and Logus. ‘Psyche’ means soul, ‘logus’ means science. Psychology is often defined as the study of the mind and behaviour. It is a very broad topic that is often broken down into a number of different branches of psychology. Each branch is centred on a specific subfield within psychology. Some psychologists study the functions of the brain and their influence on behaviour. Others explore how personality develops and changes over the course of life. Still other psychologists are interested in exploring how psychology can improve life in the workplace.

Sub-topic: Branches of psychology

Abnormal Psychology: This branch of psychology seeks to identify, understand, and treat behavioural, thought, and emotional patterns that are considered abnormal and maladaptive. There are different ways of defining what is normal and what is not. In statistical terms, things that are considered abnormal are those that lie outside of what the majority of people experience. Abnormality can also be defined in terms of functioning. Behaviours that are considered maladaptive and make it difficult to function normally in daily life are often considered abnormal.

Behavioural Psychology:  Also known as behaviourism, this area of psychology is devoted to the study of observable behaviours and how learning takes place via conditioning processes. Important behavioural concepts include classical conditioning, which involves learning through associations, and operant conditioning, which involves learning as a result of consequences.

Biological Psychology: This branch of psychology focuses on how biological influences, specifically the brain and nervous system, influence the human mind and behaviour. Bio-psychologists often study how brain injury and illness impact normal psychological functioning. This area of psychology also involves using imaging tools such as MRI and PET scans to look at the brain to determine which areas are activated when particular tasks are performed.

Clinical Psychology: This field is known as one of the single largest areas of employment within psychology. Clinical psychologists typically work directly in mental health treatment and work with patients who experience some form of mental illness, psychological distress, or emotional disturbance.

Cognitive Psychology: This branch of psychology is concerned with looking at mental processes that underlie behaviour including thinking, perception, problem-solving, decision-making, memory, and attention.

Community Psychology: This field of psychology is devoted to understanding the individual’s relationship with his or her community as well as how that community fits in with the larger society.

Consumer Psychology: This field of psychology centres on using psychological principles to understanding consumer behaviour. Professionals who work in this branch of psychology utilize their knowledge to help businesses understand what motivates consumers to buy products and services.

Counseling Psychology: Like clinical psychology, this field is devoted to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental health issues. This branch of psychology takes a special focus on functioning in areas related to social, emotional, family, vocational and developmental well-being.

Criminal Psychology: This branch focuses on understanding all aspects and influences of criminal behaviour, including the myriad factors that contribute to criminal actions. Professionals who work in this field study the thoughts, intentions, motivations, emotions, and behaviours of people who commit crimes. Those who work in this field are often called to help with criminal investigations and to testify in criminal cases.

Developmental Psychology: The focus of this branch of psychology is centred on the study of development over the entire course of life. This includes physical, emotional, social, and cognitive growth from the earliest days of infancy into old age. Professionals who work in this field often specialize in working with a particular population such as young children, adolescents, or older adults.

Educational Psychology: This branch of psychology is concerned with the process of learning. It often involves looking at both behavioural and cognitive methods of learning as well as the motivational, intellectual, and societal factors that impact the learning process.

Environmental Psychology: This area of psychology is about understanding how humans interact with their environments. This could include both natural settings as well as man-made environments. Professionals who work in this field are often concerned with helping people to interact better with their environment and creating spaces that are safe and more conducive to well-being.

Forensic Psychology: This area of psychology utilizes understanding of the human mind and behaviour and applies it to the field of law. Forensic psychologists often perform tasks such as conducting child custody evaluations, assessing competency to stand trial, and testifying in criminal and civil cases.

Health Psychology: This is an area of psychology devoted to understanding the psychological and behavioural influences that impact health and well-being. Health psychologist understand that well-being is influenced by both biological factors as well as social and emotional factors. Professionals who work in this field utilize their knowledge to help both individual patients improve their health and also work in public health programs to improve the health and wellness of communities.

Humanistic Psychology: This branch of psychology emerged during the 1950s as a response to psychoanalysis and behaviourism. Humanistic psychology you take the approach that all people are inherently good. This field of psychology takes a more holistic approach and focuses on helping people fulfil their individual potential and achieve self-actualization.

Military Psychology: This branch of psychology is devoted to using psychological principles in military settings. Some professionals who work in this field treat soldiers who have served in the military, while others conduct research design to help improve military operations and increase the chances of success in combat settings.

Personality Psychology: This is large area of psychology interested in the development of personality. Researchers in this field are interested in understanding the many forces that influence how personality develops and is expressed. They’re also interested in learning more about how personality changes over the course of life.

Psychoanalysis: This area is one of the oldest branches of psychology. It grew out of the work of the famed psychiatrist Sigmund Freud, Who believed that people were influenced by unconscious forces. Freud believed that by bringing these unconscious motivations into awareness, people could find relief from psychological problems.

School Psychology: This field of psychology is devoted to helping students deal with academic, social, emotional, and behavioural issues that they face in school settings. These professionals after work with individual students as well as parents, educators, and school administrators.

Social Psychology: This branch of psychology is interested in how people’s thought, behaviours, and emotions are influenced by other people. Group behaviour, attitudes, aggression, conformity, obedience, persuasion, group dynamics, and attraction are just some of the major areas of interest in social psychology.

Sports Psychology: This is a branch centred on the psychology of sport and exercise. Professionals who work in this field might help people overcome injury as well as work with professional athletes to improve motivation and focus.

Sub-topic: Relevance of psychology to human growth and development

Psychology is important in the following ways;

  1. It helps us to understand factors in the life of an individual which are central in devising ways of helping him/ her effectively.
  2. It helps in understanding the various aspects of growth and development.
  3. It helps in understanding the developmental characteristics of children and how they can be utilized to ensure they are assisted effectively.
  4. It equips one with the appropriate skills of dealing with human beings.

Generally, the following are reasons for studying psychology;

  1. To understand behaviours
  2. To explain behaviours
  3. To predict behaviours
  4. To modify behaviours

Sub-topic: Relevance of Psychology to a social Worker

  1. Understanding different activities of the individual
  2. Knowing the cause of the particular activity
  3. Knowing the positive and negative qualities of the individual
  4. Understanding intelligence, abilities, attitudes, motivation, aptitudes and personality of the person Understanding actions and interactions of the individual in the peer group and causes of his activities
  5. Learning about the situation where an individual is
  6. Understanding his parents and other family members and the rearing process
  7. Understanding the problems of the individual and seek help

Sub-topic: Tests, measurement and evaluation

Meaning of Measurement

Measurement is actually the process of estimating the values that is the physical quantities like; time, temperature, weight, length etc. each measurement value is represented in the form of some standard units. The estimated values by these measurements are actually compared against the standard quantities that are of same type. Measurement is the assignment of a number to a characteristic of an object or event, which can be compared with other objects or events. The scope and application of a measurement is dependent on the context and discipline.

Meaning of Tests

A procedure intended to establish the quality, performance or reliability of something, especially before it is taken into widespread use.

Meaning of Evaluation

Evaluation is a broader term that refers to all of the methods used to find out what happens as a result of using a specific intervention or practice. Evaluation is the systematic assessment of the worth or merit of some object. It is the systematic acquisition and assessment of information to provide useful feedback about some object

Sub-topic: Attitudes and motivation

This is a way of feeling, thinking and acting which one adopts in the society. It is the aggregate of beliefs, habits and perception acquired and then adopted. Attitudes can be changed and modified by the environment, education, religious group and profession or work. Attitudes are different from values, in that, values are broader concepts in the society while attitudes are more specific.

Sources of Attitudes

  • Parents
  • Friends/peer groups
  • Teachers
  • Organizations
  • Role models
  • Priests

Individuals model their attitudes according to these people. The study of attitudes in psychology is very important because they show how and why people behave in a certain manner.

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