The Diverse Nature of Psychology
Psychology is relatively new science, but it is strongly connected to human lives nowadays. It would be hard to imagine modern society functioning without psychologists analyzing human behavior and examining many factors of people’s behavior. That is why this science has become very important due to its main focus on a person’s individuality. People use this science as a tool to understand themselves; they also use it as a way to get a better understanding of the world around them. That is why people use it very often for their practical reasons. Psychology allows not only getting a deeper understanding of an individual and one’s personality, but it also has many other directions in which it is still developing (Shiraev, & Levy, 2012). Psychology emphasizes on many different topics besides human behavior. It also studies abnormalities, the way nations and groups of people behave, the way people develop through time, etc. That is why this science can be considered very broad field to study because it does not limit itself only to one direction.
Moreover it is logical that psychology has such a diverse nature since it focuses on human personality which is also very diverse. Just as a person moves toward different goals in different directions, psychology focuses on different topics and problems. People think in many different ways which is why psychology has to answer to all of the thinking models. Two people can look at one thing in absolutely opposite ways; similarly, different psychologists may have opposite views on certain psychology related issues. That is why psychology has so many different aspects which complement each other.
As psychology is a very diverse science because of the many directions and divisions it has, this diversity greatly influences many psychological concepts. For example, these concepts do not use only one method or approach to evaluate certain case, but use many different ones in order to get a better understanding of it. Different approaches offer different solutions. Thus, psychologists can unite different concepts into one creating one major idea which can give them a better understanding of a certain problem. For example, psychology experts can use few perspectives such as psychoanalytical, humanistic and psychodynamic in order to understand human nature better. Mixing different approaches allows seeing various aspects of the problem, and that would be impossible while using one perspective only. That is why diversity in psychology can be very helpful in order to get a more accurate response and more factual information.
Learning about human nature and the ways people think can be quite challenging. That is why the more attention experts pay to such problems the better it is. Different concepts help psychologists who work with rather complicated or rare issues.
On the other hand, diversity in psychology can have negative consequences while making important decisions and determining the directions of certain psychological ideas. For example, because psychologists operate on so many levels using many theories, it may be difficult for them to pick one which suits the matter the best. That is why psychology can never be exact and precise, and there are always many different approaches to one aspect which may be challenging. There is no necessary unification when it comes to psychology, and it is often considered “soft” while comparing it to other sciences, such as chemistry which operates with more exact methods. It looks like psychology will keep this reputation for a long time because analysis of its history shows that this science was always filled with discussions, disputes and contradictory ideas of different psychological streams.
That is why it is hard to tell whether there ever will be one general theory used by all of the psychologists. There is a very little possibility of it since chances of creating a unifying theory for all disciplines and divisions are rather low; it is more probable that psychology will remain as diverse as it is now with many different approaches influencing its major concepts. Nevertheless, psychology always had certain directions which were dominant over a certain period of time. It is important for psychology to have such directions nowadays; they would lead psychological research and allow psychologists to make mutually agreed decisions. Despite many differences and diversity within psychology, its main goal is to understand and explain human nature in order to improve people’s lives. That is why diversity in psychology influences major concepts in such a way that they become more people-oriented and work for people’s good.
As it was mentioned before, there are many disciplines in psychology. There are two subdisciplines which should be focused on; they are developmental psychology and personality psychology. Developmental psychology is concerned with the ways people change throughout their lives. For example, it investigates how people’s feelings change during their lives and examines behavior changes. There is also an interesting direction in this discipline which focuses on the way people think, and how this process changes with the years. This discipline asks a lot of questions; for example, whether it is interested in the way children perceive the world or not. It is also interested in people’s memories and attitudes. This division of psychology is also concerned about self-improvement. For example, it learns about the ways in which people can improve their skills and knowledge. There are many statements about brain activity declining with age. This discipline aims to address this issue and give a reasonable explanation to it.
Another interesting direction this discipline follows concerns with understanding the effects of nature and nurture. For example, it examines the impact of childhood experiences on people after many decades. It also evaluates the meaning and values of early-childhood experiences, and whether they are determinant for the future (Berger, 2011). This division of psychology is very important for education and work because it allows analyzing changes in human behavior according to their age.
Another discipline is called personality psychology. Its main focus is on people’s personalities and individualities; on things which make them unique and make them think in their own way. This discipline also tries to understand how one’s personality affects a person’s perception of the world, his or her actions, etc. This discipline studies how personality impacts on interpersonal communication, and pays a lot of attention to aspects of mental life. As it was mentioned before, this discipline emphasizes on the ways people are unique and differ from each other. As opposite, it also tries to find general similarities in people’s personalities which unite humans; thus, it tries to define human nature. It also wants to determine the factors which “create” certain personality.
Personality psychology explains many processes which happen in humans’ life, which is why it is important to use this discipline while working with individuals.
Learning about psychology as a science, we should mentions subtopics of the psychology which are cognitive dissonance and false memories. Cognitive dissonance is the feeling of conflict a person faces while choosing between two opposite or contradicting ideas. It is internal personal conflict which occurs whenever different opinions, ideas and emotions clash within one’s personality. That is why a person cannot feel comfortable; he or she feels frustration and is unable to enjoy life to the full extent.
This theory is widespread whenever a person has to deal with difficult choices and decisions. During such situations, a person may often feel torn and unsure of one’s decisions which may vary from one direction to the opposite. It is important to understand the nature behind these internal conflicts in order to harmonize people’s feelings and to avoid splits of personality. It is also important to find the connection between person’s directive and his or her behavior.
Another subtopic is false memories. It is a human phenomenon when people remember things that actually never happened. They genuinely believe in these events despite the fact that they are imaginative and have never occurred.
People live with the false memories just like they live with real ones. False memories have a big impact on people’s lives. For example, a person may have false memories of abuse or beatings; these memories cause a lot of traumas to the person. Nevertheless, these memories are false, therefore, they should be erased from person’s memory. It can be done showing the person that these events have never happened, and that they are just the consequences of imagination.
The subdisciplines and the subtopics mentioned above could be easily used in other spheres other than psychology. For example, developmental psychology can be easily used in schools while working with “difficult teenagers”, and it can be used in connection to personality psychology as well. Besides, it can be used at the work places while analyzing the effectiveness of employees. These subtopics and disciplines can be very practical in jails while working with prisoners. For example, it would be practical to analyze changes in prisoners’ behavior.
These subdisciplines and subtopics have the greatest practical use in marketing sphere, and especially, in advertising. It is crucial for marketing experts and PR-managers to understand the audience they are working for as well as to be able to determine general public’s demand. For that reason it is very important to use information received from psychological research in these spheres. Marketing professionals can use psychological approach to improve customers’ opinions about the products. For example, they can use knowledge about human nature which can be found in personality psychology; they can also adjust to demands of different age categories in order to satisfy their needs in the most effective way using skills and information of developmental psychology.
As it can be seen, the knowledge of psychology can be used in many practical ways which are not connected to its main sphere. One can drive parallels between these subdisciplines and subtopics and one’s theoretical perspectives. People tend to think of psychology as of something absolutely theoretical which has no practical use, but these examples prove totally the opposite. That is why one’s theoretical perspectives should be directed toward understanding the huge impact psychology has on many spheres within society.
Learning psychology can be a great help to a person because it allows him or her to understand other people better; thus, it allows a person to communicate with others in more effective way. I can tell from my own personal experience that psychology has contributed greatly to my education. It allowed me to understand how my personality was changing throughout a long period of time; thus, I was able to be objective while evaluating my own actions and decision-making processes.
The greatest positive effect that psychology learning had on my life was the improvement of relations with people I communicated with. Learning psychology allowed me to analyze the hidden motives behind people’s actions; I came to understand the meaning and unconscious motives which were pushing people to certain actions toward me. Thus, I was able to make practical use of my knowledge as it allowed me to evaluate my possible decisions and take the best ones. Psychology has also helped me with my working and organizing skills as well as choosing the main priorities in my life.
Psychology has a huge practical impact on people’s lives besides its theoretical side. Therefore, it is important to learn it and to use the gained knowledge in everyday life.
Psychology has many subdisciplines and subtopics; all of them do not exactly match, but they help to create one full picture which allows analyzing people’s nature properly. This science has changed greatly over the years, and it is one of the most dominant sciences of modern society. There are certain characteristics which slow down its development as it still does not have a unified theory which unites all of its theories into one. Nevertheless, there are certain directions which are dominant in modern psychology, and which determine its main perspectives.
Psychological disciplines can be used in many spheres: from education to marketing, thus this science should be carefully examined while combining it with other sciences. The practical usage of psychology affects not only public spheres, but also people on the personal level. Learning psychology is very important both from theoretical and practical perspectives.
Berger, K. S. (2011). The Developing Person Through the Life Span (8th ed.). New York, NY: Worth Publishers.
Shiraev, E. B., & Levy, D. A. (2012). Cross-Cultural Psychology: Critical Thinking and Contemporary Applications (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.