Psychology

Psychology courses investigate the human mind and the ways it influences our actions. Subtopics include forensic psychology, child psychology, behavioral psychology, and psychology research.

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    Frequently Asked Questions about Psychology

  • The American Psychological Association defines psychology as “the study of the mind and behavior.” In a sense, this is a topic that was contemplated by the Greek philosophers of ancient times, as well as one that sits at the heart of all the world’s major religions. However, the modern study of psychology as a science is relatively new, dating back to the 19th century work of pioneers of the field including Wilhelm Wundt, William James, and Sigmund Freud.

    While some of these early theories are still relevant, particularly Freud’s highly influential paradigm of psychoanalysis, mainstream psychology today is vastly different from the field’s early days. Since the latter half of the 20th century, psychology has adopted scientific approaches more similar to modern medicine than classical philosophy. Through laboratory experiments, increasingly sophisticated brain imaging technologies, data analysis, and other scientific techniques, psychologists have made enormous strides in understanding the cognitive processes underlying emotions, social behavior, human development, and more.

    Not all psychologists spend their time in the lab, however. Practicing psychologists apply this knowledge to help people cope with challenges in their life and mental health issues. Despite the progress made in formalizing the science of psychology in recent decades, practitioners must have a keen sensitivity to the unique history, values, and goals of each patient in order to select the most effective treatment. Approaches may vary depending on the circumstances of the patient as well as the expertise of the psychologist, with common treatments including familiar modes like “talking therapy” as well as more recent approaches like cognitive-behavioral therapy. Psychologists may also prescribe psychiatric medication such as antidepressants or anxiolytics, frequently in conjunction with these other types of therapy.