Lecture in General Psychology
The Science of Psychology
Psychology is derived from the Greek words psyche and logos, meaning soul and study. To the Greek, Psychology is simply a study of the soul.
Psychology is defined as the scientific study of the behavior of living organisms, with special attention to human behavior. It is chiefly concerned with what makes people behave as they do. Psychologists are interested in topics such as learning, emotion, intelligence, heredity and environment, differences between individuals, the nature and development of personality, group behavior, etc.
Psychology is a science because it is systematic and empirical, and it is dependent on measurement.
Behavior means activities that can be observed objectively, such as the reactions of the muscles and the glands, as well as the organized patterns of responses as a whole. It also includes internal processes such as thinking, feeling and other reactions which cannot be directly observed but can be inferred from external behavior. Behavior may be classified as overt or covert and intrinsic or extrinsic behavior.
Significance of the Study of Psychology
1. it enables the individual to learn more quickly and choose a vocation more intelligently; 2. it makes a person achieve emotional equilibrium, and makes better social adjustments; 3. it enables one to resolve problems and to develop great personal efficiency.
What Psychology is Not
1. Psychology and the mysterious. Many people think that psychology is something magical or mysterious and that somehow, psychologists have a superior or almost superhuman way of looking into the thoughts and feelings of a person. Whatever psychologists have learned, they have learned through observation, careful reflection of what they have observed and thorough checking of their conclusions with other persons in this and other fields. 2. Psychology and “common sense.” For some people, psychology is nothing more than common sense. To them, psychology is simply what some wise people have discovered from their experiences, whether they have ever had formal training in the subject matter or not. Examples: The notion that insane or seriously mentally ill people have lost their minds. Although intellectual are sometimes disturbed in mental illnesses, many individuals who are insane are not suffering from the lack of ability to reason. In such cases, the difficulty is not intellectual but rather emotional. Common sense says that the color of an object is in the object: psychology maintains that it is the perceiver. 3. Psychology and the parasciences. People sometimes confuse psychology with the parasciences. Among these are phrenology, physiognomy, numerology, palmistry, and astrology. There has been no scientific evidence to support their claims. On the other hand, Psychology is based on the traditional methods of science, including the systematic gathering of data, putting hypotheses to careful test and the cumulative building of knowledge.
Other Psychologists Who Contributed in the Development of Psychology
1. Democritus – believed that the human mind is composed of atoms which could circulate freely and which enabled it to penetrate the whole body. 2. Plato – the mind or soul is distinct in its own right and is God-given.
3 parts of the soul:
a. head – exerts reason
b. heart- responsible for our noble impulses
c. diaphragm – seat of our passions
3. Aristotle – student of Plato
3 functions of the soul:
a. vegetative – concerned with basic maintenance of life b. appetitive – concerned with motives and desires
c. rational – governing function located in the heart
4. Galen – contributed his theory of the dependence of human temperament on physiological factors. Differences in behaviors are attributable to the humors or vital juices of the body. a. blood – sanguine (cheerful)...
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