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Psychology is a hit with me!
Psychology in general
Member Name: kiss_me_now9
Psychology in general
Advantages: The 'thinking' science; very helpful towards mankind with therapies and explanations of behaviour
Disadvantages: Can be annoyingly subjective at times!
Study Psychology and you will soon become familiar with many names such as Bandura, Skinner, Maslow, Jung, Pavlov and Beck, all prominent Psychologists who have contributed greatly to the study of the mind - however inadvertently. Many people perceive psychology to be something that it is not; and it's very well known among psychology students that you will be jokingly asked to 'read my mind!' or 'go on, analyse me!' (I've found the best response to that is to spew some Freudian psychobabble and go on in long words about their lack of empathy with the human race).
Psychology is nothing to do with mind reading; only a small portion of it is concerned with dream analysis and it doesn't believe that everyone is crazy and needs 'happy pills'. Psychology is an ever developing, changing and evolving science - yes, it is a science! It uses specific, scientific methods to measure and understand the human and sometimes animal conditions of thought and processing. If you're familiar with sociology, the study of society, it sometimes helps to think of it this way. Psychology is concerned pretty much solely with the actions, thoughts, reactions, feelings and functions of one person or living being. Sociology is concerned with the actions, thoughts, reactions, feelings and functions of many people, or a society. The two often link together and over lap.
If you compare psychology to the 'harder' sciences of Biology, Chemistry and Physics, you'll see that it's still a relative baby - it was only really produced to the mass audience in the 1800s and even then it was in a very biological based style (giving us the biological perspective of psychology; not my favourite as it is far too precise and scientific for my liking, but very useful none the less) which meant it didn't really present anything new. This is where Freud jumps in and really kick starts the popularity of psychology, with his wacky theories on sexual drive in children and the presence of the Id, Ego and Superego in our mind controlling our every action.
The basic thought of Freud and to some extent Jung was that our mental health is out of our control; an utterly revolutionary idea in a world that locked people up for attempting suicide due to severe depression or other disorders. All blame for mental illness is removed from the individual which helps the patient to deal with their problems without having to reconcile the thought that their irrational thoughts are their fault. This is where I really start to enjoy Freud's theory; maybe not so much the stages of psycho-sexual development but definitely the consideration for the fact that sometimes, people just get mental illnesses! No doctor would ever consider telling a patient that it is their fault they contracted a life threatening disease, and the same should go for mental illnesses. Freud also sparked therapy for these 'neurosis'' which is still going strong today, even though it's very expensive to undertake.
Even though we tend to think of things such as Freud and Skinner with his ping pong playing pigeons when we think of psychology, there is so much more to it than that. This is what fascinates me; there is probably a branch of psychology for everything! From child development to eye witness testimony, colour schemes of rooms to branding on television, psychology has a hand or at least something to say about them all. Many pieces of psychology soon become popular and people gain an interest in them; for instance, the case of Genie, the young girl who was socially isolated for the first thirteen years of her life or Pavlov's dogs, who were classically conditioned to salivate at the ringing of a bell (and as with all good scientific discoveries, one that happened completely due to chance). The other appeal is that they also cross over with other sciences and humanity subjects such as biology and sociology.
Studying psychology, even in its primitive stage at AS/A2 level is fascinating and it starts to open you up to the world of the mind; a world where you can never be sure of what's going on. Psychology is a science that always has something else to discover, something that is new and exciting. We see psychology and its theories every day; we just don't notice it if we don't know about it. Do you have a battle inside your head about buying another pair of shoes? If you do, then you're likely to be showing and proving Freud's theory of the mind, as you'll be using your Id and Superego to try and convince yourself one way or the other. Have you read Paul McKenna's famous series of books on quitting smoking, dieting and changing your lifestyle? All of them have a basis in cognitive psychology. Dream analysis, reading body language and speech tones, understanding consumer shopping habits, they're all psychology.
Summary: I can't wait to take my study of this fascinating subject further :)