Who Conducts Scientific Research In Psychology
Scientific research in psychology is generally conducted by people with doctoral degrees and masters degrees in psychology and related fields, often supported by research assistants with bachelors degrees or other relevant training. Some of them work for government agencies , for nonprofit organizations , or in the private sector . However, the majority of them are college and university faculty, who often collaborate with their graduate and undergraduate students. Although some researchers are trained and licensed as cliniciansespecially those who conduct research in clinical psychologythe majority are not. Instead, they have expertise in one or more of the many other subfields of psychology: behavioral neuroscience, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, personality psychology, social psychology, and so on. Doctoral-level researchers might be employed to conduct research full-time or, like many college and university faculty members, to conduct research in addition to teaching classes and serving their institution and community in other ways.
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Depending on the nature of the problem or behavior, medication might be used in conjunction with therapy. Except in a few states, most psychologists arent licensed to prescribe medication.
One thing that I always tell my patients is that if they are coming to therapy, then they believe that change is possible, says Borland. People have to remind themselves that they do have a choice in all of this. Sometimes we can get bogged down in thinking that certain patterns or behaviors are inevitable like, Ive always had a temper, and I cant change that or control it, he says. If youre coming to therapy, there is some room for change and growth, says Borland.
The Challenges Of Studying Psychology
Understanding and attempting to alleviate the costs of psychological disorders such as depression is not easy because psychological experiences are extremely complex. The questions psychologists pose are as difficult as those posed by doctors, biologists, chemists, physicists, and other scientists, if not more so .
A major goal of psychology is to predict behaviour by understanding its causes. Making predictions is difficult, in part because people vary and respond differently in different situations. Individual differences are the variations among people on physical or psychological dimensions. For instance, although many people experience at least some symptoms of depression at some times in their lives, the experience varies dramatically among people. Some people experience major negative events, such as severe physical injuries or the loss of significant others, without experiencing much depression, whereas other people experience severe depression for no apparent reason. Other important individual differences that we will discuss in the chapters to come include differences in extraversion, intelligence, self-esteem, anxiety, aggression, and conformity.
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Beyond The Dispute Of The Scientific Method
The turn of a pluralistic qualitative inquiry pointed out at the beginning may be seen as a promise awaiting its institutional implementation. It is expected for theoretical inquiry and qualitative research to match the complexity of human phenomena so psychologists could ask any relevant research question, and use any methodology and technique that was needed in order to adequately address their research question, without much thought as to whether this was a qualitative or a quantitative approach . As Brinkmann continues, perhaps the future is one of postqualitative research.
Not because psychologists stop doing interviews, fieldwork, or other kinds of qualitative work , but because they stop defining their research endeavors in terms of a method .
Then it would be on a level with the natural sciences, which do not have the typical disputes concerning the scientific method as psychology has had up to now. As Michael Mascolo says,
A debate over whether a given discipline is or is not a science would seem to be more of a battle about status and prestige than about identifying alternative pathways to reliable knowledge. A better question might be, given its subject matter, how can we study psychological processes in systematic, reliable and useful ways? If such conditions can be satisfied, the question of whether or not disciplinary practices are scientific would be irrelevant. .
Why Is It Important To Study Psychology
Psychology sheds light on human behavior and helps us understand why we act the way we do. The field offers insights into our human experiences, helps us connect with others, and can mean the difference between a life well-lived and a life of challenges.
A psychology degree can lead to a rewarding career in social science. Let’s explore why psychology is an essential part of your studies and how you can transition to a career if you find out it’s right for you.
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How Does Psychology Help People
Essentially, psychology helps people in large part because it can explain why people act the way they do. With this kind of professional insight, a psychologist can help people improve their decision making, stress management and behavior based on understanding past behavior to better predict future behavior. All of this can help people have a more successful career, better relationships, more self-confidence and overall better communication.
You Gain Insight Into People’s Behavior
Doing, thinking, feeling, and actingas a student of psychology, you will get to study all aspects of human behavior. You will learn not only about the general characteristics of human behavior, but also about the differences.
What drives people? And how can you influence human behavior? These two questions are central to the practice. Examples of questions psychologists address include:
- How do people react to stress?
- Do athletes perform better after mental training?
- What is love, anyway?
- Why does one child perform better in school than the other?
- How is it that some of us are friendly and relaxed while others are often tense or stressed out?
The reason I chose to study clinical psychology was a direct result of suffering from panic attacks. I was dealt a bad hand of psychologists. As a consequence, my condition only worsened. And when I hit rock bottom, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I set out to learn more about psychologyin particular, I wanted to learn about anxiety disorders and find the best treatment options.
For me, this turned out to be a smart choice that I never regretted. I got my life back.
Truth be told, I enjoyed all the other reasons listed above as wellexcept for the research, which involves a lot of statistics and math, subjects I try to avoid like the plague.
Don’t become a mere recorder of facts, but try to penetrate the mystery of their origin.
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Meaning And Definitions Of Psychology:
Psychology is the scientific study of behaviour and mental processes. Behaviour includes all of our outward or overt actions and reactions, such as verbal and facial expressions and movements.
Mental processes refer to all the internal and covert activity of our mind such as thinking, feeling and remembering. It is a scientific study because to study behaviour and mental processes, the psychologists use the scientific methods for understanding more precisely and accurately.
The word Psychology has its origin from two Greek words Psyche and Logos, psyche means soul and logos means study. Thus literally, Psychology means the study of soul or science of soul.
1. The first definition of the Psychology was the study of the soul:
The earliest attempts at defining Psychology owe their origin to the most mysterious and philosophical concept, namely that of soul. What is soul? How can it be studied? The inability to find clear answers to such questions led some ancient Greek philosophers to define psychology as the study of the mind.
2. In terms of the study of the mind:
Although the word mind was less mysterious and vague than soul, yet it also faced the same questions, namely what is mind? How can it be studied, etc. This definition was also rejected.
3. In terms of the study of consciousness:
The description and explanation of the states of consciousness is the task of Psychology which is usually done by the instrument introspectionprocess of looking within.
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Aaron Beck is considered the father of cognitive behavioral therapy . The basic premise of CBT is that the way that individuals perceive a situation is more closely connected to their reaction than the situation itself. CBT seeks to change how a person thinks and responds to situations. When people are going through a difficult time, their perspective can be inaccurate, and their thoughts might not be grounded in reality. This therapy seeks to help people identify when this distortion is happening, change their thinking, problem solve, and proactively work on changing their behavior.
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Research Methods In Psychology
Psychology also utilizes a wider array of qualitative methods than some traditional sciences.
Although qualitative research provides a different route to understanding than traditional quantitative methods, I feel that is also scientific, just grounded in different philosophical underpinnings,” said Dominello.
Research methods can be categorized as either quantitative or qualitative. Quantitative research results in numerical data that can be analyzed. Qualitative research employs methods like questionnaires, interviews and observations. Qualitative research can be analyzed by grouping responses into broad themes. This melding of quantitative and qualitative methods is essential to understand the human factor inherent in psychology.
Psychology as a science embraces this broader exploratory perspective in order to better understand human phenomena. When merged, qualitative data can breathe life into quantitative data, Dominello said.
Psychology is unique in that it adds breadth and depth of knowledge in conjunction with so many other disciplines, because we are all curious about understanding human behavior to some extent, whether its ones own behavior or the behavior of others, said Hill.
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Cognitive Psychology This field focuses on how people think as well as their capacity for understanding, interpreting, and retaining different kinds of information. There is a huge variety in the kinds of things a cognitive psychologist can study a few examples of the diverse opportunities include how we learn new concepts and languages, how to address learning disabilities, how humans and computers interact, the breakdown of mental processes that happen in diseases like Alzheimers, or the healing power of music therapy.
Sports Psychology Sports psychologists can help athletes and teams in a wide array of settings and levels of competition, from little league to the Olympic games. These experts specialize in sport specific psychological assessment and mental skills to help athletes train and perform better in competition. Sports psychology also includes counseling and clinical interventions about issues like motivation, eating disorders, depression, burn-out, and career transitions.
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Different Types Of Psychology
Different contributors to psychology have come about in behaviorism, psychoanalysis, cognitive, and even humanistic psychology. Behaviorism focused on observable behaviors and brought about the prominence of laboratory use.
Psychoanalysis was developed by Sigmund Freud, and included subconscious influences on behavior. Freuds id, ego, and superego are each a large part of the evolution of psychology, looking into childhood as a reference for psychological anomalies. These different contributions have compacted to make a dense field that is filled with lots of relevant psychological material.
Psychology today is more than just theories. In applied fields of psychology, professionals will develop, test, and apply different techniques in treatment and research. These procedures are put into place to observe the behaviors that are being exhibited, understand why they are occurring, explain the behaviors relevance, and predict future behaviors. Psychological research is conducted to determine valid measurements and results that can be replicated each time they are administered. Research in this field relies heavily on the scientific method.
Nothing Psychological Outside Of Psychology
Within psychology itself, its conception as a science of the subject and comportment has thematic and methodological implications. For one thing, nothing psychological can be outside of psychology because of method, beginning with implicit prereflexive subjective aspects . In this respect, the new conception of introspection has already been shown, not as access to a content that is there-in, according to the conception of true correspondence, but as coming into contact through a process of becoming aware .
Let us add the new conception of schizophrenia as an alteration of the experience itself and of the world, according to the ipseity-disturbance model . Beyond the psychotic symptoms, this focus reveals a characteristic alteration of basic subjectivity and way of being-in-the-world, typically prereflexive aspects, implicit, hard for the dominant positivist natural science conception to highlight. On the contrary, according to a cultural phenomenological focus, in this case, concentrating on the subject and comportment as the intentional arch in the above sense, essential structural aspects of schizophrenia are shown . All we need to do is rethink clinical phenomena in terms of the person and his/her circumstances , including appropriate methods, in this case semi-structured interviews exploring various aspects of subjectivity .
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Characteristics Of Psychology And Common Sense:
Psychology: Psychology is a field of study that is scientific.
Common Sense: Common sense is not scientific, but based on reason.
Branch of study:
Psychology: Psychology is a discipline.
Common Sense: Common sense is not a discipline.
Psychology: In Psychology we arrive at conclusions through research or experiments.
Common Sense: When speaking of common sense, we use previous experience.
Psychology: Psychology has a clear theoretical basis.
Common Sense: Common sense does not have a theoretical basis.
1. Positive Psychology Optimism by Nevit Dilmen , via Wikimedia Commons
2. Aristotle Altemps Inv8575 by Copy of Lysippus Jastrow . via Commons
What Are Basic Psychological Processes
Psychologys provenance is not only huge but it focuses most on those elements that give human experience its richness. Its major interests include:
Perception, the awareness that operates through our five senses
Memory, the repository of experience, ours to summon up at will
Learning, the knowledge and skills we acquire and store in memory for use as needed
Cognition, the mental processes involved in understanding the world and everything in it
Motivation, all the desires and drives that fuel human action and behavior, whether the goal is personal growth or connection or a day at the beach
Dreaming, the dramas unfolding in our heads while we sleep
The self, that sense you have of being the coherent organizer of your mental and physical life
Personality, the more or less consistent ways in which individuals tend to think, feel, and act
And, of course, the brain and nervous system that orchestrates it all.
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Psychology Is All Around You
Psychology is not just an academic subject that exists only in classrooms, research labs, and mental health offices. The principles of psychology can be seen all around you in everyday situations.
The television commercials and print ads you see every day rely on psychology to develop marketing messages that influence and persuade people to purchase the advertised products. The websites you visit on a regular basis utilize psychology to understand how people read, use, and interpret online information.
Psychology can also play a role in improving your health and well-being. For example, understanding some of the basic principles of behavioral psychology might come in handy if you are trying to break a bad habit and establish new routines.
Knowing more about some of the things that motivate behavior can be useful if you are trying to stick to a weight loss plan or exercise regimen. Overcoming phobias, managing stress, improving communication skills, and making better decisions are just a few of the things with which psychology can help.
What Is Common Sense
Common sense refers to good sense in practical matters. This is something that is essential for people when engaging in daily activities. Common sense allows people to be practical and reasonable. It makes them arrive at conclusions or make decisions based on the experience that they have.
The lay person usually is devoid of scientific knowledge hence this role of knowledge is fulfilled by common sense as it directs the person to arrive at sound judgments in life. You may have heard people blaming others for not having common sense, in such situations the individual is referring to the lack of practical everyday knowledge.
Aristotle spoke of common sense.
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Overcoming The Psychological Complex Of The Method In Favor Of Complexity Of Psychology
Psychology adopted the positivist scientific method to enroll as a natural science. This strategy contributed to its institutional prestige, but did not free it from dualistic metaphysics as has been shown. The scientific method is not used in the natural sciences because in fact it does not exist as anything but the discourse argued in the social and health sciences. As Weinberg says with regard to physics:
We do not have a fixed scientific method to rally round and defend. I remember that I spoke years ago to a high-school teacher who explained proudly that in her classes they were trying to get away from teaching just scientific facts and instead give the students an idea of what the scientific method was. I replied that I had no idea what the scientific method was, and I thought she ought to teach her students scientific facts. I think it does no good for scientists to pretend that we have a clear a priori idea of the scientific method. .
When science as it is done is studied in a biology laboratory, the research attitude does not consist of applying the scientific method or the findings that come from it, but in an often handcrafted practical material construction process, including operations, equipment, discussions and arguments . The testimony of James Watson in his book, The Double Helix, in which he tells about the discovery of the structure of DNA, shows that the process of discovery was anything but straightforward. As he says in the preface: