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What Is Psychology? Definition Of Psychology


Definition Of Psychology

Definition of Psychology
Definition of Psychology| Image Credit by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

What is Psychology? Definition of Psychology and Career Opportunities in India                   

Psychology as a subject is becoming more popular day by day. Along with the passage of time it has now acquired a scientific nature. Previously the etymology of Psychology was considered to be derived from the roots of Philosophy, now that this subject has been studied since time immemorial thereby a lot of changes have taken place in its meaning and concepts thereby establishing it on factual baselines instead of relying on speculations.

The nature of this subject is scientific and its study is believed to be based on the relationship between cause and effect. Psychology emphasizes the detailed study of conscious as well as unconscious phenomena. It, therefore, seeks to study the various properties and processes of the brain and a variety of phenomena in relation to these properties.  Eminent Psychologists have put forward their theories on the basis of observation and experimentation. Its study possesses a universally accepted body of facts and emphasizes on modification and alterations of its theories through future research.
The word " Psychology " has been derived from the Greek word which refers to the study of " Psyche " meaning the soul.  An eminent British Psychologist - William McDougall defined Psychology in his book Psychological Psychology which was published in 1905 as - " Psychology can be best and most comprehensively defined as the positive science of the conduct of living creatures ". Later in 1908, he added the word "behavior" in his book - " Introduction to Social Psychology " and finally in 1949 in his book  " An Outline of Psychology " the following definitions were given by him.  Psychology is a science that aims to give us a better understanding and control of the behavior of the organism as a whole. " 

An eminent Psychologist named Jackson in the year 1976 gave the famous definition of Psychology as " Psychology can be broadly defined as the investigation of human and animal behavior and the mental and physiological processes associated with that behavior". R.S Woodsworth defines Psychology as the " science of activities of the individual ". Therefore Psychology can broadly be understood as the science of experience and resultant behavior of human beings who perceive the information from the environment for satisfactory adjustment. Here, the behavior of an individual denotes the choice of an alternative from a set of prevailing options after processing the stimuli available to mankind from its immediate surroundings. 
In totality, Psychology may be referred to as an applied discipline that involves the scientific study of mental processes and behavior. The acquired knowledge is then implemented into various spheres of activities of mankind including their daily lives and the chords of emotional tantrums associated with the daily occurrences.
This subject thereby attempts to explain the relationship between consciousness, behavior and social interaction.  

Branches Of Psychology 

There are various branches of Psychology which enhances the versatility of the subject matter. These branches in combination bring with it an all-round relevance to the scientific theories devised after analyzing human behavior in accordance with the "cause and effect " relationship. There is no fixed way of classifying these branches as they have individual purposes to serve. The main branches of Psychology are as follows : 

Clinical Psychology  

This branch of Psychological study integrates science, theory, and practice so as to make it easier for one to understand, predict and get relief from problems with adjustment, disability, and discomfort. It prepares one to adapt, adjust, and enrich one's personal development. A clinical psychologist looks after the intellectual, emotional, and behavioral aspects of human performance throughout a person's life, pertaining to varying cultures and socioeconomic statuses.

Cognitive Psychology  

This branch of psychology generally investigates the internal mental processes such as problem solving, memory, learning, and language. It looks at how people think, perceive, communicate, remember, and learn. It is closely connected to neuroscience, philosophy, and linguistics. Cognitive psychologists look after how people tend to acquire, process, and execute information. Practical applications of the subject matter lie behind devising techniques to improve memory, increase the accuracy of decision-making, setting up educational programs to boost learning. 

Developmental Psychology 

It is the scientific as well as the systematic study of psychological changes that a person experiences throughout the lifespan, which is often referred to as human development. It simultaneously focuses on infants and young children but it also includes teenagers, adults, and older people.  Here, factors that are commonly paid attention to include motor skills, problem-solving, moral understanding, acquiring language, emotions, personality, self-concept, and identity formation. 

Forensic Psychology  

Forensic psychology implies the application of psychology for the purpose of criminal investigation and legal purposes. A forensic psychologist makes use of the subject matter in a scientific manner within the criminal justice system and civil courts and thereby assists in the finding of an inappropriate psychological behavior hidden beneath the act of crime committed by a specific individual. 


It aims to define the structure and function of the brain in relation to human behavior and psychological processes. The study of neuropsychology may be involved in case of a condition where lesions in the brain may have occurred and assessments involving recording electrical activity in the brain take place. A neuropsychological evaluation is conducted in order to determine whether a person may experience behavioral problems in case the individual is diagnosed with brain injury, such as a stroke. The results enable a doctor to treat the individual that may help him to achieve possible improvements in case of cognitive damage. 

Social Psychology 

This subject matter uses scientific methods to understand how social influences have an impact on human behavior. A social psychologist studies group behavior, social perception, non-verbal behavior, conformity, aggression, prejudice, and leadership. Social perception and social interaction are seen as keys to reaching an understanding of social behavior.

If you are interested to build a career in Psychology in India, then the article on "What Are the Career Options in Psychology in India"  will definitely be helpful for you. 

Scope Of Psychology 

Psychology is a broad discipline covering various topics related to the functioning of the mind and the resultant human behavior. The various branches of this subject matter have opened a vista for the Psychologists assisting them in the process of investigating more precisely on an individual's thoughts, emotions, decisions, perceptions, and sensations, in an effort to explain these matters in relation to a certain cause and its after-effects. 
Psychology is thus a scientific study that relies on empiricism, making the use of experimentation, evidence, and observations in order to draw an appropriate conclusion on the basis of facts and evidence. It is not based on mere speculations, reasoning or logic alone. Psychologists are generally grouped into two different categories: namely the research psychologists and applied psychologists. Research psychologists rely on experimentation and gather observations in order to improve understanding of the state of mind and the nature of human behavior. Applied psychologists take these observations into consideration and devise strategic solutions in order to deal with the day to day emotional tantrums of mankind. 

Therefore Psychology is a diverse field with tremendous prospects for growth. It has provided mankind with tremendous outputs in educational sectors, professional sectors as well as health sectors in the current era. The ongoing research on unsung topics related to human Psychology will be putting more knowledgeable inputs towards reaching a more precise understanding of the delicate chords of human emotions.

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