What is Psychology?

Psychology (lit. “study of the soul” or “study of the mind”) is an academic and applied discipline which involves the scientific study of human mental functions, behaviors and experiences. In this field, a professional practitioner or researcher is called a psychologist, and is classified as a social scientist. Psychologists attempt to understand the role of mental functions in individual and social behavior, while also exploring the underlying physiological and neurological processes.

Psychologists study such topics as perception, cognition, attention, emotion, experience, motivation, personality, behavior and interpersonal relationships. Some, especially depth psychologists, also consider the unconscious mind. In addition or opposition to employing empirical and deductive methods, psychologists sometimes rely upon symbolic interpretation and other inductive techniques.

Psychological knowledge is applied to various spheres of human activity, including the family, education, and employment; and to the treatment of mental health problems. Psychology includes many sub-fields that span areas as diverse as human development, sports, health, industry, media and law. Psychology incorporates research from the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities.

The word psychology is from Greek: ???? (psukh?: “breath”, “spirit”, “soul”); and -????? (-logia: “study of”).

Psychology Definitions

Psychology is the scientific study of people, the mind and behaviour. It is both a thriving academic discipline and a vital professional practice. (The British Psychological Society)

The scientific study of the behavior of individuals and their mental processes. (American Psychological Association)

Psychology is an academic and applied discipline involving the scientific study of mental processes and behavior.

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