Different branches of psychology: First know about, What is Psychology? People use the terms psychological, mental, etc., very freely. But many of those who use these terms are far from having a real understanding of nature, scope, methods, and uses of psychology as a scientific discipline. Today, psychology finds useful applications in an individual’s life almost from the womb to the tomb.
The common man is very much aware of the uses of other sciences, such as physics, chemistry, biology, medicine and, statistics, in daily life but finds it difficult to appreciate the possible uses of psychology in everyday life. Various fields of specialization in psychology have emerged over the years. Some of these discussing in this section.
The following the different branches of Psychology below are;
It investigates mental processes involved in the acquisition, storage, manipulation, and transformation of information received from the environment along with its use and communication. The major cognitive processes are attention, perception, memory, reasoning, problem-solving, decision-making, and language. You will be studying these topics later in this textbook.
To study these cognitive processes, psychologists conduct experiments in laboratory settings. Some of them also follow an ecological approach, i.e. an approach which focuses on the environmental factors, to study cognitive processes in a natural setting. Cognitive psychologists often collaborate with neuroscientists and computer scientists.
Focus on the relationship between behavior and the physical system, including the brain and the rest of the nervous system, the immune system, and genetics. Biological psychologists often collaborate with neuroscientists, zoologists, and anthropologists. Neuropsychology has emerged as a field of research where psychologists and neuroscientists are working together.
Researchers are studying the role of neurotransmitters or chemical substances that are responsible for neural communication in different areas of the brain and therefore in associated mental functions. They do their research on people with the normal functioning brain as well as on people with the damaged brain by following advanced technologies like EEG, PET, and fMRI, etc. about which you will study later.
It studies the physical, social, and psychological changes that occur at different ages and stages over a life-span, from conception to old age. The primary concern of developmental psychologists is how we become what we are. For many years the major emphasis was on child and adolescent development. However today an increasing number of developmental psychologists show a strong interest in adult development and aging.
They focus on the biological, socio-cultural, and environmental factors that influence psychological characteristics such as intelligence, cognition, emotion, temperament, morality, and social relationship. Human life passes through various stages of development from conception to old age.
This branch explains the growth and development of various processes about behavior. Developmental psychologists collaborate with anthropologists, educationists, neurologists, social workers, counselors, and almost every branch of knowledge where there is a concern for the growth and development of a human being.
They Explore how people are affected by their social environments, how people think about and influence others. Social psychologists are interested in such topics as attitudes, conformity and obedience to authority, interpersonal attraction, helpful behavior, prejudice, aggression, social motivation, inter-group relations, and so on. A human being is a social animal.
Naturally, the behavior of an individual is influenced by society and in turn influences society. Social psychology deals with the interrelationships of people among themselves like and dislikes of people, attitudes and interests, the prejudices and social distances people have, group behavior, group cohesiveness, group conflicts, etc.
They examine the role of culture in understanding behavior, thought, and emotion. It assumes that human behavior is not only a reflection of human-biological potential but also a product of culture. Therefore behavior should be studied in its socio-cultural context. As you will be studying in different chapters of this book; culture influences human behavior in many ways and varying degrees.
They study the interaction of physical factors such as temperature, humidity, pollution, and natural disasters on human behavior. The influence of the physical arrangement of the workplace on health, the emotional state, and interpersonal relations are also investigated. Current topics of research in this field are the extent to which, disposal of waste, population explosion, conservation of energy, efficient use of community resources are associated with, and are functions of human behavior.
They focus on the role of psychological factors (for example, stress, anxiety) in the development, prevention, and treatment of illness. Areas of interest for a health psychologist are stress and coping, the relationship between psychological factors and health, patient-doctor relationships, and ways of promoting health-enhancing factors.
Deals with causes, treatment, and prevention of different types of psychological disorders such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and chronic substance abuse. A related area is counseling, which aims to improve everyday functioning by helping people solve problems in daily living and cope more effectively with challenging situations. This branch deals with the therapeutic aspect of mental disorders.
There are many types of mental illness requiring varied types of therapies like chemotherapy, psychotherapy, recreational and occupational therapies, behavior therapy, etc. The work of clinical psychologists does not differ from that of counseling psychologists although a counseling psychologist sometimes deals with people who have less serious problems.
In many instances, counseling psychologists work with students, advising them about personal problems and career planning. Like clinical psychologists, psychiatrists also study the causes, treatment, and prevention of psychological disorders.
How are clinical psychologists and psychiatrists different? A clinical psychologist has a degree in psychology, which includes intensive training in treating people with psychological disorders. In contrast, a psychiatrist has a medical degree with years of specialized training in the treatment of psychological disorders. One important distinction is that psychiatrists can prescribe medications; and, give electroshock treatments whereas clinical psychologists cannot.
Deals with workplace behavior, focusing on both the workers and the organizations that employ them. Industrial or organizational psychologists are concerned with training employees, improving work conditions, and developing criteria for selecting employees. Human beings are different from machines.
They will have many problems in their workplace like adjustment, safety, security, health, financial, and such other problems. Both the management and workers need to cooperate in dealing with such problems. Industrial psychology seeks the application of psychological principles, theories, and techniques for the study of all these problems and the industrial environment.
For example, an organizational psychologist might recommend that a company may adopt a new management structure that would increase communication between managers and staff. The background of industrial and organizational psychologists often includes training in cognitive and social psychology.
It is Studies how people of all ages learn. Educational psychologists primarily help develop instructional methods and materials used to train people in both educational and work settings. They are also concerned with research on issues of relevance for education, counseling, and learning problems.
This is the most important field where psychological principles are applied. In the field of education “learner” is the focal point. Other aspects like management, teachers, teaching, and learning aids are all meant for learners. Learners differ in their abilities, hence they need different approaches to teaching, learning material, etc.
This branch addresses the problems and improvements in teaching and learning processes. A related field, school psychology, focuses on designing programs that promote the intellectual, social, and emotional development of children, including those with special needs. They try to apply knowledge of psychology in a school setting.
Applies psychological principles to improve sports performance by enhancing their motivation. Sports psychology is a relatively new field but is gaining acceptance worldwide.
The interdisciplinary focus on research and application of psychology has led to the emergence of varied areas like aviation psychology, space psychology, military psychology, forensic psychology, rural psychology, engineering psychology, managerial psychology, community psychology, the psychology of women, and political psychology, to name a few.