Psychology is a broad aspect that entails the study of the soul, mind and behavior of organisms especially in human beings. Psychology helps in describing an individual’s behavior and also explaining the reasons why he or she behaves in a specified manner.
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‘‘Psychology studies the various activities of man, both bodily and mental that he performs while dealing with the environment of objects and persons’’ (Mohsin 3). It also allows for prediction of how a certain behavior could be affected by some changes as well as controlling and improving behavior through the application of the changes in an appropriate manner.
The word psychology comes from Greek roots, psyche and logos meaning mind and study respectively hence it’s the study of the mind (Nevid 4). There are many principles that make up the psychology field some of which are general while others are specific to the particular branches of psychology.
This piece of work gives an insight of the importance of the principles of psychology in our day to day life and how they can help make the world a better place giving much emphasis on the areas of focus and schools of thought in psychology, the basic principles of psychology and their importance, the branches of psychology, how knowledge on psychology may be attained and their importance in enhancing people’s lives.
Areas of focus and schools of thought in psychology
‘‘Psychology as a science has two major areas of focus’’ (Tsivkin 1). The two major areas are academic psychology and applied psychology. Academic psychology is involved with the study of the various divisions or subtopics in the field of psychology. The subtopics may include personality psychology, developmental psychology, biological psychology, industrial psychology, health psychology, educational psychology and social psychology all aiming at broadening the theoretical understanding and knowledge of psychology among the learners.
Applied psychology on the other hand is broad and aims at solving the problems and challenges encountered by individuals in their day to day activities and practices. This is usually through the application of the various psychological principles and it is utilized in various careers for instance medicine, ergonomics, and forensics and industrial areas among others (Tsivkin 2).
The are a variety of schools of thoughts in psychology some of which are; behaviorism psychology which focuses on behavior and learning and how they are affected by the environment, and psychodynamic psychology which studies the unconscious mental processes and explains the psychological behavior in human individuals in regard to the interaction of the conscious and unconscious processes.
There is also the post-structuralism psychology also known as post-modernism, critical or socio- constructionism psychology. This focuses on the compound nature of subjectivity where there is dependence of knowledge and reality on the social relations and practices of human beings.
Phenomenological or humanistic psychology on the other hand deals with the subjective and unique nature of events showing the meaning and importance of existence while cognitive psychology focuses on the processing, storage and retrieval of information processes in the human brain for instance perception and decision making( James 224).
Physiological psychology focuses on the neurobiological processes and explains how they affect behavior and the processes of the brain. These are some of the existing schools of thoughts and others are yet to emerge as the field of psychology continues to grow (Tredoux, Foster and Allan 3).
Basic principles of psychology and their importance
The field of psychology is very wide and it has been faced with a lot of controversies due to the existence of a variety of schools of thoughts in it. There are however major similarities and differences among the different schools of thoughts. A school of thought entails an entity whose principles ought to be carefully studied, understood and related. The individual psychology entails the study of unique and undivided personality.
Person uniqueness should be understood in relation to the others. This is a very important principle as it can help people to understand one another having in mind that we are all unique. It helps in tolerance and perseverance of one another’s behavior and also learning how to accommodate different personalities.
There is also the principle of affinity which is expressed in the aspect of need for achievement or attainment of some goals in human nature. An individual at any stage of life is always in motion, trying to meet a certain goal in life. The understanding of this concept helps us to understand the behavior of an individual and hence relate well as we get to know the reasons for a person’s behavior.
“If we know where a person is going, we can understand why he is moving the way he is moving. In other words: we understand his behavior.” (Sophia 1). Creative ability in an individual is also very important and starts from childhood where a child looks for ways of survival and development and protection.
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This goal determines ones feelings, actions and thoughts. A human being is a social being that is expected to cooperate with others but some people have some limitations and prefer living by their own and the understanding of this will help us deal with all kinds of people who behave in different manner.
Reasoning is a crucial aspect of an individual as in allows one to turn negative into positive through reasoning and making choices. The choices we make out of possibilities lead us to different situations. Reasoning makes things easy.
It is important to understand that being a social being, an individual can not live by his or her own but have to borrow some issues and values. This is a very encouraging aspect that ensures respect and appreciation for others and allows one to be responsible for him or herself and also for the sake of the others. The nature of man to strive towards perfection is also a concern.
An individual should try to perfect his or her behavior and also accept his or her imperfection where changes cannot work. It is through the act of looking forward towards perfection and the acceptance of our imperfects that we improve our behavior and life in general.
Branches of psychology and the importance of their basic principles
There are various branches of psychology each having some basic principles. The branches include abnormal psychology, child psychology, physiological psychology, animal psychology and social psychology among others. Abnormal psychology is the study of the behavioral abnormalities that are experienced in the human mind. ‘‘It is not an accurate title. It should be termed psychopathology’’ (Dandapani 7).
It involves aspects like mental retardation, depression, sexual deviation and neuroses. It helps identify the sources of the abnormalities and hence deal with the conditions appropriately. Some of the people involved with this work are the psychotherapists and psychiatrists, counselors and clinical psychologists. Child psychology also known as developmental psychology entails the factors that govern the development of an individual through out the lifespan from the infant stage to adulthood.
It emphasizes aspects like growth, development (mental, social, emotional, and physical) maturation and learning all which are the steps that a human being goes through in life explaining how and why people change their behavior over time. The principles in child psychology are useful in understanding human beings and most specifically to parents and teachers through the norms and tasks that are learnt for the various stages of development.
Animal psychology on the other hand, also regarded as comparative psychology is a branch of psychology that is involved with the study of animal behavior with an aim of having a comprehensive understanding of human psychology.
It works under the principle that there some common factors in regard to human behavior and animal behavior although the aspect of thinking, speaking and imagining only apply to human beings and not to animals. The animals are used as subjects in experiments and the results compared to what could happen in human beings especially where persons cannot be used as specimen.
Physiological psychology is the study of the physiological aspects that entail how we think showing the relationship between the operations of the brain and what an individual actually say or how he or she behaves. It tries to connect the brain with action and speech and other common senses. ‘‘Mind and body cannot be separated. Hence psychology and physiology are inter-related’’ (Dandapani 8).
Educational psychology is a branch of psychology that is concerned with educational issues, students concerns, schools and teaching psychology. The educational psychologists are concerned with the performances of the students and so they work closely with the people concerned for instance the students, parents, administrators and teachers to monitor and improve their situations (Cherry 1).
All these branches of psychology are very essential and are applied in various fields of life to help solve problems that would otherwise seem difficult without the understanding of the basic principles contained in the different branches.
Means of getting the knowledge of psychology and its help in personal lives
People can attain knowledge on psychology through various means for instance through attending classes for example taking psychology courses in grade school, high school and even at colleges and university levels.
The psychology knowledge can also be attained outside class where the people with vast knowledge in psychology can educate the rest on the various aspects and principles of psychology that are relevant in our day to day activities and practices. Written documents on psychology would also offer a good base on psychology knowledge that could be applicable in human beings life for example in problem solving.
The internet has also a wide range of information on the different perspectives in the field of psychology and could therefore be used as a tool through which information and knowledge on psychology could be attained.
Irrespective of the means through which the knowledge is attained, the important thing is the utilization of the knowledge in our lives as we are in a better position to understand human nature and behavior and hence live positively with each other despite our differences.
Psychology is very essential in our daily life irrespective of our careers or fields of specialization and its existence can not be ignored or under emphasized. The following are the ways through which the knowledge of psychology can be applied to enhance our personal lives.
Psychology keeps us motivated in our understanding as it offers tips of motivation for instance from the cognitive and also the educational psychology. ‘’Whether your goal is to quit smoking, lose weight or learn a new language, some lessons from psychology offer tips for getting motivated’’ (Cherry 1).
It advocates for application of new elements in our activities to boost our interest, vary the sequence to avoid boredom, learning new aspects to boost knowledge on an issue, establish clear and achievable goals in regard to the specific task, and rewarding one self for any achievement. Motivation is very important as it helps keep human beings on the move and not to despair.
Psychology also enhances an individual’s leadership skills which are very essential in every one’s life. ‘‘It doesn’t matter if you’re an office manager or a volunteer at a local youth group, having good leadership skills will probably be essential at some points.’’ (Cherry 1). Though not all people could be leaders naturally, skills and knowledge learnt from psychology could promote leadership abilities in individuals. Some of the tips could be offering guidance and listening to others, and being positive and creative.
Psychology also helps individuals to understand each other through the understanding of ones emotions and those of others which in return strengths relationships between people. This is because the emotional intelligence quotient of a person who has some knowledge on psychology is higher as compared to that of a person who has less or no knowledge in psychology. Psychology also enhances the process of decision making.
The principles in cognitive psychology allows for better decision making through consideration of aspects like application of various perspectives or points of view for instance the positive and negative sides of the issue, consideration of the benefits and challenges associated with the decision and finally gauging the results that could be attained after making the decision.
Psychology is also a tool that enhances personal communication especially nonverbal communication. ‘‘Communication involves much more than how you speak or write’’ (Cherry 1). This is because psychology helps us to express ourselves through non verbal signals and most importantly to read and understand the non verbal signals of others hence know how to behave or act on different situations.
It for example teaches on the importance of good eye contact that allows identification of nonverbal signals of those around us and also the importance of tone of voice in delivering message.
Knowledge on psychology is also essential in ones health. ‘‘Psychology can also be a useful tool for improving your overall health’’ (Cherry 1).
Health psychology in particular advocates exercises and proper nutrition to avoid health issues like depression. It is also through the study of psychology that we are able to understand the working of an individual’s body and mind and hence understand various behaviors exhibited by different individuals in different situations.
People avoid complication of issues which could otherwise affect ones health negatively for example through depression. ‘‘They are going to avoid things that can cause stress, they are able to manage time very well, and more effectively with their studies or chosen career.’’ (Phillippe 1)
Importance of the knowledge of basic principles of psychology in work places and the economy at large
From the above discussion we can conclude that psychology is very important and can be applied in almost all aspects of life including the work places and also in the activities that are geared towards improving or developing the economy.
The ways in which the knowledge of psychology can be utilized in enhancing personal lives as discussed above can also be carried on to the workplaces. This is for instance in critical and informed decision making, proper interaction with workmates and clients, proper or effective communication, being motivated to work hard and never to give up, and also being good leaders.
Psychology also assist in wiser financial decisions in the work place as it teaches on financial management tips such as investing in savings, and avoiding poor choices in regard to money spending. It also promotes individual and group productivity through instilling tips like avoidance of multitasking especially when handling complex or involving tasks, and being focused towards a particular task and doing away with distractions under all circumstances.
It is also through the study of psychology that we are able to have a better understanding of the functioning of the body and mind of a person hence deal with different behaviors exhibited by different people at different situations better and also build proper and working personal and work related relationships through enhancing self knowledge and understanding on others and in the long run, making ones personal and working life better.
Psychology has also proved to be a significant tool towards enriching careers. This is achievable since when an individual knows and understand the other workers well including their uniqueness and personality, he or she is able to interact and get along well and most importantly know how to behave knowing what experiences they are going through and being careful not to make their situations worse through their behavior.
From the research, it is evident that the study of psychology is very essential in our understanding of human behavior through things like feelings, emotions and thoughts and in a way the understanding assists us in our day to day interaction with different people. Psychology is however very broad making it difficult for one to comprehend all the aspects but specialization and understanding of some basic principles is very essential.
There have been a lot of changes and developments in psychology as psychologists engage in advanced and objective approaches in the search of knowledge with an aim of getting full understanding of the human behavior. New ideas and theories are also emerging as the psychologists combine the various aspects and beliefs in the different schools of thoughts in making their conclusions on various aspects that entail human behavior.
All in all the importance of the knowledge of psychology is very useful in our day to day activities due to the positive impacts it has on both personal life and also in regard to integration with others for example family members or even co-workers and clients in the working place.
Cherry, Kendra. “Branches of Psychology: Overview of the Major Branches of Psychology.’ About.com, 2011. Web.
Cherry, Kendra .”10 Ways Psychology Can Improve Your Life.” About.com, 2011. Web.
Dandapani, Sami. A Textbook of Advanced Educational Psychology. USA: Anmol Publications PVT. LTD., 2005.
James, William. The Principles of Psychology, Volume 1. USA: Cosimo, Inc., 2007.
Mohsin, S.M. Elementary Psychology. UK: Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 2002.
Phillippe, Raymond. “Psychology and Its Importance: Why Psychology Is Important.’ Hubpages, 2011. Web.
Nevis, S. Jeffrey. Psychology: Concepts and Applications.2ed,. USA: Cengage Learning, 2007.
Sophia J. De Vries. “Some Basic Principles of Individual Psychology.” Pws, 2011. Web.
Tredoux, Colin, Foster Don and Allan Alfred. Psychology and Law. USA: Juta and Company Ltd, 2006.
Tsivkin, Roman. “Principles of Psychology.” EHow. Web.
- Nevid 4
- Tsivkin 1
- Academic psychology is a area of psychology in which the research undertaken by psychologist improves on the critical information required in academic instruction.
- Applied psychology entails the application of strategies and findings of scientific psychology to problems faced by human beings and animals
- Ibid., 2