I explain here what psychology is, the origin, and the branches that make up this science. In addition, its objectives and its relationship with education.

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What is psychology?

Psychology is a social science and an academic discipline focused on the analysis and understanding of human behavior and mental processes experienced by individuals and by social groups during certain times and situations.

Psychology has a vast field of study, since it focuses on the human mind and experience, from different perspectives, currents and methodologies. Some of them are closer to the hard sciences and the use of the scientific method, while others do not consider it appropriate for the object of study, preferring to build their own methods and approaches.

In this sense, this social science is interested in the processes of perception, motivation, attention, intelligence, learning , thought , personality , love, consciousness and unconsciousness, but also in interpersonal relationships and by the biochemical functioning of the brain.

The professional practice of psychology, on the other hand, is usually divided between academic research, education and educational innovation, or clinical practice, that is, therapeutic work to understand and solve various emotional, psychological or affective ailments in their patients. The latter is known as psychotherapy.

Psychology should not be confused with psychiatry. The latter is a branch of medicine that studies the biochemical behavior of the brain, without generally dealing with the emotional or experiential content of patients. Nor should it be done with psychoanalysis, which is an  interpretive and therapeutic discipline  derived from Sigmund Freud's studies of the human mind.

Psychologist or Psychiatrist, what is the difference?
In this article, you will discover the differences and similarities between a psychiatrist and a psychologist and who to choose if you have a mental illness.

Origin of psychology

Psychology is a relatively new science, detached from philosophy from the eighteenth century, following the philosophical doctrines of empiricism, which began to understand human behavior as a series of stimuli and responses determined by our biology.

This is how psychophysiology was born, precursor of the psychological field. With the entry of the formal sciences into the landscape of knowledge, the possibility of a psychology that is no longer merely theoretical, but even experimental, begins.

The first experimental psychology laboratory was founded at the University of Leipzig, Germany, in 1879. From then on, various branches of theoretical and practical exploration of the human mind would emerge, inaugurating a very vast and diverse area of ​​knowledge as it is today.

Branches of psychology

Psychology presents an enormous number of branches and divisions, which can be grouped into two groups according to their common characteristics, in this way:

1. Basic psychology

Located as a field of knowledge between the biological of man and the social or human, it focuses on understanding and gathering information about the basic processes of human thought. It comprises the following sub-branches:

  • Cognitive psychology. It studies the mental processes that allow knowledge, that is, experience. Perception, memory, language and thought are his areas of interest.
  • Psychology of Learning. It is dedicated to the study of the processes of adaptation and more or less permanent change in the individual, that is, the way in which the human being learns.
  • Evolutionary Psychology. It studies the different stages of growth and development of the human psyche throughout his life.
  • Psychopathology. The study of "abnormalities" or disorders of the psyche, from an eminently descriptive method.
  • Psychology of art. It studies the phenomena of creativity, creation and artistic expression from the point of view of the human mind.
  • Personality psychology. Try to build models of understanding of the human personality.

2. Applied psychology

Also called professional psychology, it is the basic psychological knowledge put at the service of solving specific problems of society. It comprises the following sub-branches:

  • Clinical psychology. It is the one that deals with patients, attending to their mental and emotional suffering and allowing them to lead a life that is as functional as possible depending on the case.
  • Educational psychology. Focused on learning and the growth of the individual, it collaborates with the construction of habits and school environments that are more conducive to educating future generations.
  • Child psychology. Along with children and adolescents, they specialize in emotional or mental problems during the early stages of human life.
  • Social psychology. It focuses on human groups and human interactions, emphasizing the importance of the environment in shaping the psyche.
  • Industrial psychology. Similar to social, but applied to various work environments and mental situations involved in work.
  • Forensic psychology. Collaborate with justice in the mental understanding of criminals, homicides and other extreme situations.
  • Sports psychology. He applies his knowledge to the field of athletics and sports to understand what is going on at the mental and emotional levels.

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Goal of psychology

The general objectives of psychology can be summarized in the understanding of the processes of the human mind. Numerous approaches and methodologies have a place in this, each one with its specific objectives, with its specific approaches of what consciousness, thought and learning are.

This understanding of the human mind pursues the possibility of, on the one hand, helping to solve the emotional and mental pathologies that afflict contemporary man, perfecting the learning tools available to him and providing clues regarding the nature of consciousness and that which distinguishes us from animals.

Psychology and education

Education and psychology have gone hand in hand since the invention of the latter, since it has been possible to understand much better how learning processes take place, formulate theories about it and try to build educational institutions that solve the problems of society. caring for them from their seed: the coming generations who are still young.

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