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What is psychology?

We explain what psychology is, the origin and the branches that make up this science. In addition, its objectives and its relationship with education.

  1. What is psychology?

It is a social science and academic discipline focused on the analysis and understanding of human behavior and the mental processes experienced by individuals and by social groups during specific times and situations.

It has a vast field of study, since it focuses on the human mind and experience, from various perspectives, currents and methodologies. Some of them are closer to the hard sciences and the use of the scientific method , while others do not consider it appropriate for the object of study, and prefer to build their own methods and approaches.

In this sense, this social science is interested in the processes of perception, motivation , attention, intelligence, learning , thinking , personality , love, awareness and unconsciousness, but also interpersonal relationships and by the biochemical functioning of the brain.

The professional practice of psychology, on the other hand, is usually divided between academic research, education and educational innovation, or clinical exercise, that is, therapeutic work to understand and solve various emotional , psychological or affective diseases in their patients. . The latter is known as psychotherapy.

It should not be confused with psychiatry . The latter is a branch of medicine that studies the biochemical behavior of the brain, without generally dealing with the emotional or experiential content of patients. Nor should it be done with psychoanalysis, which is an   interpretive and therapeutic discipline derived from the studies of the human mind of Sigmund Freud.

  1. Origin of psychology

It is a relatively new science, detached from philosophy from the 18th century , following the philosophical doctrines of empiricism, which began to understand human behavior as a series of stimuli and responses determined by our biology.

Thus was born psychophysiology, precursor of the psychological field. With the entry of formal sciences into the panorama of knowledge, the possibility of a psychology no longer merely theoretical, but even experimental begins.

Its first experimental laboratory was founded at the University of Leipzig, Germany, in 1879. From then on, various branches of theoretical and practical exploration of the human mind would emerge, inaugurating a very vast and diverse area of ​​knowledge as it is today.

  1. Branches of psychology

Forensic psychology
Forensic psychology tries to understand the criminal mind.

It has a huge number of branches and divisions, which can be grouped into two sets according to their common characteristics, in this way:

Basic psychology . Located as a field of knowledge between the biological of man and the social or human, it focuses on understanding and gathering information about the basic processes of human thought. It comprises the following sub-branches:

  • Cognitive psychology . Study the mental processes that allow knowledge, that is, experience. The perception , the memory , the language and thought are their areas of interest.
  • Psychology of learning . It is dedicated to the study of the processes of adaptation and more or less permanent change in the individual, that is, the way in which the human being learns.
  • Evolutionary Psychology . He studies the different stages of growth and development of the human psyche throughout his life.
  • Psychopathology . The study of “abnormalities” or disorders of the psyche, from an eminently descriptive method.
  • Psychology of art . Study the phenomena of creativity , creation and artistic expression from the point of view of the human mind.
  • Personality psychology . Try to build models of understanding human personality.

Applied Psychology . Also called professional psychology, it is the basic psychological knowledge put at the service of solving specific problems of society. It comprises the following sub-branches:

  • Clinical Psychology . It is the one that deals with patients, attending to their mental and emotional sufferings and allowing them to lead a life as functional as possible according to the case.
  • Educational psychology . Focused on the learning and growth of the individual, it collaborates with the construction of school habits and environments that are more conducive to form generations to come.
  • Child psychology . Together with the child-youth, they specialize in emotional or mental problems during the early stages of human life.
  • Social psychology . It focuses on human groups and human interactions, emphasizing the importance of the environment in the configuration of the psyche.
  • Industrial Psychology . Similar to the social one, but applied to the different work environments and mental situations involved in the work.
  • Forensic psychology . Collaborate with justice in the mental understanding of criminals, homicides and other borderline situations.
  • Sports psychology . He applies his knowledge to the athletic and sports field, to understand what happens there mentally and emotionally.
  1. Goal of psychology

The general objectives of psychology can be summarized in the understanding of the processes of the human being’s mind . In this there are many approaches and methodologies, each with its specific objectives, with its specific approaches to awareness, thinking and learning .

This understanding of the human mind pursues the possibility of, on the one hand, helping to solve the emotional and mental pathologies that afflict contemporary man, perfecting the tools he has available and providing clues regarding the nature of consciousness and that distinguishes us from animals.

  1. Psychology and education

Psychology
Psychology helps to understand the learning processes.

Both have gone hand in hand since the invention of the latter, since it has been possible to understand much better how learning processes occur , formulate theories about it and try to build educational institutions that solve the problems of society human attending from their germ: the coming generations that are still young.

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