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This paper will focus on the diverse nature of psychology and some important concepts associated with this field of study. In a bid to understand the diverse nature of psychology, two subcategories and examples will be analyzed. In addition, the major subtopics such as cognitive and behavioral psychology will be examined. This study will also reflect on the application of the various subtopics identified to other societal disciplines.
The sub-disciplines identified will be applied to personal speculative perspectives and lastly the contribution of psychology to areas of work, health, and education. This paper will focus on the diverse nature of psychology as a discipline, its categories, sub-categories, and sub-disciplines.
Psychology is a science-related discipline that entails cognition, emotion, human motivation, and behavior (Plante, 2011). The genesis of psychology can be traced back to the times of ancient Greek philosophers such as Plato and Socrates, and thus it has a philosophical background.
Psychology later developed into a scientific field of its own towards the end of the 19th Century following the creation of the first psychological laboratory by a German psychologist, Wilhelm Wundt.
According to Plante (2011), psychology can be broken into several subcategories some being concerned with experimental psychology, which is psychological science, and others concerned with the relevance of that science to real world situations.
With time, psychology has encountered many challenges and diversification in its application. This paper will focus on the diverse nature of psychology as a discipline, its categories, sub-categories, and sub-disciplines.
Diversity and Major Concepts
Psychology can be divided into several different major concepts. These concepts include clinical psychology, industrial and organizational psychology, biological psychology, and behavioral psychology among others. As noted, psychology is a wide field and as such, it is prudent to narrow down on the fundamental aspects of psychology, viz. behavioral, cognitive, and biological.
Behavioral psychology attempts to explain the reasoning that influences certain individual behaviors. The major concept of behaviorism falls under behavioral psychology. It can be approached from different perspectives, thus making it the most popular concept within psychology.
An individual’s behavior can be informed by different factors including environmental, genetics, or personal experiences. Abada and Gillespie (2007) posit that family background has a huge impact on a person’s behavior because most children copy their parents and relatives’ behaviors when growing up. The subtopics of behaviorism include aggression, cheating, and binge drinking. These characters define one’s behavior.
Biological psychology explains the various differences in genetic traits. These aspects can include things like black hair from the paternal side, blue eyes from the maternal side, or even ears that resemble the aunt. Genes differ from one individual to the other (Hollenstein & Crowell, 2014).
For example, in a family setting, two children from the same parents can have different characters and traits as obtained from a relative within the family tree, thus bringing in aspects such as body weight and height.
Cognitive psychology focuses on how people recognize and process information. A person’s neuropsychological setting influences this aspect (Kowaski & Westen, 2011). It informs how an individual’s cognitive processes are formed coupled with trying to change behaviors that do not conform. The major concept of cognition falls under this cognitive psychology. The subtopics of cognition include cognitive dissonance and false memories.
Subcategories within Psychology
Psychology is a diverse field with different layers of sub-categories. These subcategories include child psychology and social psychology. Child psychology is the most diverse between the two because it covers all the major concepts in psychology. Social psychology is centered on behavioral aspects, but it provides a unique approach to the diversity of psychology.
Child psychology examines the factors that affect a child’s mental and physical development during growth. This aspect includes childhood behavior. During development, children can be faced with problems that may need the intervention of a psychologist. Just like adults, children undergo phases of stress, depression, parenting problems, or peer pressure-related issues.
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In a bid to ensure that they go back to normal behavior, a child psychologist is called upon to address the issue. The child psychologist can apply specific techniques such as family counseling or even putting the child under medication to arrest the situation. This aspect helps the children to develop normally from an early age by correcting them.
According to the American Psychological Association (2013), social psychology is concerned with the effects of individuals to one another coupled with how they are affected by their social and environmental surroundings.
The uniqueness of social psychology is that people have different cultures, skin colors, beliefs, shapes, and sizes. Social psychology explains the different choices that an individual makes when presented with such an opportunity, for example, when shopping in a supermarket and choosing among the different brands.
Personal Theoretical Approach
An approach is based on assumptions due to human behavior, the aspects of human behavior to be studied and the research methods and techniques to be used to study such behavior (McLeod, 2007). Therefore, an assumption is composed of different unique theories within an approach.
The theoretical perspective applied here borrows from behavioral psychology. As discussed above, the behavioral theory is a category of psychology focused on an individual’s lessons from his/her environment. These lessons can be acquired through learning or reinforcement.
The behavioral theory is based on two foundations, viz. classical conditioning and operant conditioning. Classical conditioning can influence the way people respond to emotions. In classical conditioning, an individual responds to stimuli and learns this response by being constantly associated with it.
The development of operant conditioning is attributed to Skinner. In this form of conditioning, the behavior of a person is explained by his or her motives. Every individual has a reason behind why he or she does something. The reasons behind it may be driven by the need to seek attention, acquire something, or even cause pain and suffering to another individual.
Therefore, in a bid to motivate the behavior of such a person, punishment, positive reinforcement, and negative reinforcement are applied. However, every individual has the free will to make individual choices, and as such, behavior is not necessarily due to conditioning, but individual choices.
Psychology is a diverse field with different concepts and subsections. Research is continuing to try to understand human behavior. As such, psychology will continue to evolve, thus bringing forth more strengths and weaknesses. Moving forward, the application of theoretical perspectives will be needed to understand the diversity of certain human behaviors that continue changing with time.
Behavioral psychology can be used to rehabilitate juveniles doing probation work. Using operant conditioning with positive and negative reinforcements, the offender can be put on a gradual recovery process.
This task may be executed by encouraging him/her to adopt a positive attitude and thinking. If that fails, the last resort would be the application of punitive measures. However, punishment should not be adopted as a first approach since it can hinder the overall rehabilitation process and push the offender to worse crimes.
Abada, T., & Gillespie, M. (2007). Family diversity and children’s behavioral outcomes in Canada: From structure to process. Sociological Focus, 40(4), 413-435.
American Psychological Association: Society for personality and social psychology. (2014). Web.
Hollenstein, T & Crowell, S 2014, Whither Concordance? Autonomic Psychophysiology and the Behaviors and Cognitions of Emotional Responsivity. Biological Psychology, 98, 1-94.
Kowaski, R., & Westen, D. (2011). Psychology (6th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
McLeod, S. (2007). Psychology perspectives. Web.
Plante, T. (2011). Contemporary Clinical Psychology (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.