Some of the Subfields in Psychology
Psychologists work in areas like sport, school, clinical, developmental, forensic and However, psychology — the science concerned with behavior, in both human and They study the intersection of two critical relationships: one between brain function and . explore the relationships between brain systems and behavior. These psychologists study the behavior of pilots and other flight crew members. This type of psychologist might also investigate how brain disease and injury impact They also seek to educate the community and develop prevention programs. Environmental psychologists explore the relationship between people and. Some clinical psychologists are generalists who work with a wide variety of populations, They attempt to understand the basic aspects of learning and then develop materials explore the relationships between brain systems and behavior.
They are often known as human factors specialists. Environmental psychologists are concerned with the relations between psychological processes and physical environments ranging from homes and offices to urban areas and regions.
Environmental psychologists may do research on attitudes toward different environments, personal space, or the effects on productivity of different office designs. This area of specialization includes a diverse group of psychologists who do research in the most basic areas of psychology e. Sometimes their research is conducted with animals instead of humans.
Most of these psychologists are faculty members at colleges and universities. Family psychologists are concerned with the prevention of family conflict, the treatment of marital and family problems, and the maintenance of normal family functioning. They design and conduct programs for marital enrichment, pre-marital preparation, and improved parent-child relations. They also conduct research on topics such as child abuse, family communications patterns, and the effects of divorce and remarriage.
Family psychologists are often employed in medical schools, hospitals, community agencies, and in private practice. Psychology and the law studies legal issues from a psychological perspective e. Forensic psychologists are concerned with the applied and clinical facets of the law such as determining a defendant's competence to stand trial or if an accident victim has suffered physical or neurological damage.
Jobs in these areas are in law schools, research organizations, community mental health agencies, and correctional institutions.
Health psychologists are concerned with psychology's contributions to the promotion and maintenance of good health and the prevention and treatment of illness. They design and conduct programs to help individuals stop smoking, lose weight, manage stress, prevent cavities, or stay physically fit. They are employed in hospitals, medical schools, rehabilitation centers, public health agencies, and in private practice.
They may develop new ways to increase productivity or be involved in personnel selection. Neuropsychologists explore the relationships between brain systems and behavior.
For example, neuropsychologists may study the way the brain creates and stores memories, or how various diseases and injuries of the brain affect emotion, perception, and behavior. Neuropsychologists frequently help design tasks to study normal brain functions with new imaging techniques, such as positron emission tomography PETsingle photon emission computed tomography SPECTand functional magnetic resonance imaging FMRI.
Community psychology Community psychology deals with the relationships of the individual to communities and the wider society. Community psychologists seek to understand the quality of life of individuals, communities, and society.
Their aim is to enhance quality of life through collaborative research and action. Community psychology makes use of various perspectives within and outside of psychology to address issues of communities, the relationships within them, and people's attitudes about them. Through collaborative research and action, community psychologists practitioners and researchers seek to understand and to enhance quality of life for individuals, communities, and society.
Community psychology takes a public health approach and focuses on prevention and early intervention as a means to solve problems in addition to treatment. Rappaport discusses the perspective of community psychology as an ecological perspective with the person-environment fit being the focus of study and action instead of attempting to change the person or the environment when an individual is seen as having a problem.
Psychology Primary Subfields
Comparative psychology Comparative psychology refers to the study of the behavior and mental life of animals other than human beings. It is related to disciplines outside of psychology that study animal behavior such as ethology. Although the field of psychology is primarily concerned with humans the behavior and mental processes of animals is also an important part of psychological research. This being either as a subject in its own right e.
This is achieved by means of comparison or via animal models of emotional and behavior systems as seen in neuroscience of psychology e. Consulting Psychology Consulting psychology includes the application of psychology to consulting contexts at the individual, group and organizational levels.
The field specializes in assessment and intervention, particularly in business and organizational applications but also is concerned with the consulting process used to assess and facilitate change in any area of psychology.
Lowman  provides an overview of the field, including the relevance of individual, group and organizational levels to consulting psychologists. Counseling psychology Counseling psychology seeks to facilitate personal and interpersonal functioning across the lifespan with a focus on emotional, social, vocationaleducational, health-related, developmental, and organizational concerns.
Counselors are primarily clinicians, using psychotherapy and other interventions in order to treat clients.
Traditionally, counseling psychology has focused more on normal developmental issues and everyday stress rather than psychopathology, but this distinction has softened over time. Counseling psychologists are employed in a variety of settings, including universities, hospitals, schools, governmental organizations, businesses, private practice, and community mental health centers.
Developmental psychology Mainly focusing on the development of the human mind through the life span, developmental psychology seeks to understand how people come to perceive, understand, and act within the world and how these processes change as they age. This may focus on intellectual, cognitive, neural, social, or moral development.
Researchers who study children use a number of unique research methods to make observations in natural settings or to engage them in experimental tasks.
Such tasks often resemble specially designed games and activities that are both enjoyable for the child and scientifically useful, and researchers have even devised clever methods to study the mental processes of small infants. In addition to studying children, developmental psychologists also study aging and processes throughout the life span, especially at other times of rapid change such as adolescence and old age.
Developmental psychologists draw on the full range of theorists in scientific psychology to inform their research. Educational psychology Educational psychology is the study of how humans learn in educational settings, the effectiveness of educational interventions, the psychology of teaching, and the social psychology of schools as organizations.
Subfields of psychology
The work of child psychologists such as Lev VygotskyJean Piaget and Jerome Bruner has been influential in creating teaching methods and educational practices. Educational psychology is often included in teacher education programs, at least in North America, Australia, and New Zealand. Environmental psychology Environmental psychology is an interdisciplinary field focused on the interplay between humans and their surroundings.
The field defines the term environment broadly, encompassing natural environmentssocial settingsbuilt environmentslearning environmentsand informational environments. Since its conception, the field has been committed to the development of a discipline that is both value oriented and problem oriented, prioritizing research aiming at solving complex environmental problems in the pursuit of individual well-being within a larger society.
Perspectives[ edit ] While the use of one system to solve all problems has been abandoned by most psychologists, these early systems were important in the development of new systems and ideas.
There are eight major perspectives that psychologists usually take, although many use an eclectic approach instead of confining themselves to just one.
- Introduction to Psychology/Introduction
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The psychodynamic perspective emphasizes unconscious drives and the resolution of conflicts, the behaviorial emphasizes the acquisition and alteration of observable responses, and the humanistic approaches attempt to achieve maximum human potential as set in Maslow's hierarchy of needs. The biological perspective is the scientific study of the biological bases of behavior and mental states, very closely related to neuroscience.
Evolutionary psychology is a theoretical approach to psychology that attempts to explain certain mental and psychological traits—such as memory, perception, or language as evolved adaptations, i. Cognitive psychology accepts the use of the scientific method, but rejects introspection as a valid method of investigation.
It should be noted that Herbert Simon and Allen Newell identified the 'thinking-aloud' protocol, in which investigators view a subject engaged in introspection, and who speaks his thoughts aloud, thus allowing study of his introspection.
Social psychology is the scientific study of how people's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others Allport, Wundt argued that "we learn little about our minds from casual, haphazard self-observation It is essential that observations be made by trained observers under carefully specified conditions for the purpose of answering a well-defined question.
However the case, an opposite to introspection called extrospection has been created with a relation to Psychophysics. Psychophysics is the branch of psychology dealing with the relationship between physical stimuli and their perception. The important distinction is that Wundt took this method into the experimental arena and thus into the newly formed psychological field.
Other important early contributors to the field of psychology include Hermann Ebbinghaus a pioneer in studies on memorythe Russian Ivan Pavlov who discovered the learning process of classical conditioningand the Austrian Sigmund Freud. The midth century saw a rejection of Freud's theories among many psychologists as being too unscientific, as well as a reaction against Edward Titchener's abstract approach to the mind.
Titchener was an Englishman and a student of Wilhelm Wundt before becoming a professor of psychology at Cornell University. He would put his own spin on Wundt's psychology of consciousness after he emigrated to the United States.
At the turn of 19th century the founding father of experimental psychology Wilhelm Wundt tried to experimentally confirm his hypothesis that conscious mental life can be broken down into fundamental elements which then form more complex mental structures.
Wundt's structuralism was quickly abandoned because it could not be tested in the same way as behavior, until now, when the brain-scanning technology can identify, for example, specialized brain cells that respond exclusively to basic lines and shapes and are then combined in subsequent brain areas where more complex visual structures are formed.
This line of research in modern psychology is called cognitive psychology rather than structuralism because Wundt's term never ceased to be associated with the problem of observability. The majority of mainstream psychology is based on a framework derived from cognitive psychology, although the popularity of this paradigm does not exclude others, which are often applied as necessary.
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Psychologists specialising in certain areas, however, may use the dominant cognitive psychology only rarely if at all. Cognitive psychology is the psychological science which studies cognition, the mental processes that are hypothesised to underlie behavior.
This covers a broad range of research domains, examining questions about the workings of memory, attention, perception, knowledge representation, reasoning, creativity and problem solving. Cognitive psychology is radically different from previous psychological approaches in two key ways. It accepts the use of the scientific methodand generally rejects Introspection as a valid method of investigation, unlike phenomenological methods such as Freudian psychology.
It posits the existence of internal mental states such as beliefsdesires and motivations unlike behaviourist psychology.Interesting Psychological Facts
Regardless of the perspective adopted there are hundreds of specialties that psychologists practice. These specialties can usually be grouped into general fields.