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The Scope of Psychology. Psychology can be defined as the scientific study of behavior and mental processes . Includes the application of the science to human problems. Psychology as a science: It is systematized knowledge that is gathered by carefully observing and measuring events.

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the scope of psychology
The Scope of Psychology

Psychology can be defined as the scientific study of

behaviorandmental processes.

Includes the application of

the science to human problems

Psychology as a science:

It is systematized knowledge that is gathered by carefully observing and measuring events.

  • Conduct experiments (repeated) and collect data in quantitative measurements.

Psychology applied to real-life

historical origins of psychology
Historical Origins of Psychology
  • Ancient Greeks-

“What is consciousness? Are people inherently rational?”

  • Nature-Nurture Debate-

“Whether human capabilities are inborn or acquired through experience?”

beginning of scientific psychology
Beginning of Scientific psychology
  • In late 19th Century, William Wundt

set up the first laboratory and

used Introspection method.

  • Introspection refers to observing and

recording the nature of one’s own perception, thoughts and feelings.

  • Reactions to Introspection: Birth of early school of Psychology

Structuralism, Functionalism, Behaviorism, Gestalt Psychology and Psychoanalysis

structuralism and functionalism
Structuralism and Functionalism


  • Leading proponent- E. B. Titchner
  • Analysis of mental structures- units that make up the mind

units of sensation, image and emotion

  • Purely analytical in nature
  • William James- Analyzing the elements of consciousness was less important than understanding its fluid, personal nature.
  • John Dewey, Harvey Carr at the University of Chicago
  • “What mind and behaviour do”
  • How mind works to enable an organism to adapt to and function in its environment
  • By 1920, Structuralism and Functionalism were replaced by Behaviorism, Gestalt Psychology & Psychoanalysis.
  • J.B Watson-Founder replaced the mind and restricted to the study of behaviour
  • Watson’s argument- All behavior is a result of conditioning and the environment shapes behavior by reinforcing specific habits.
  • Denied the existence of inborn or innate behavioural tendencies.
  • Held that no specific differences between human and animal behaviour
  • Behaviorists discussed psychological phenomenon in terms of stimulus and responses, giving rise to the term stimulus-response (S-R) psychology.
gestalt psychology
Gestalt Psychology
  • Gestalt- German word meaning “form” or “configuration”
  • Max Wertheimer, Kurt Koffka, Wolfgang Kohler- Gestalt Psychologists primary interest was perception they believed that perceptual experiences depend on the patterns formed by stimulus and on the organization of experience.
  • Whole pattern of sensory activity and the relationships and organizations within this pattern.
  • The whole is different from the sum of its parts

because of the relationships between the parts.

  • A theory of personality and method of psychotherapy originated by Sigmund Freud.
  • Concept of unconsciousness, thoughts, attitudes, impulses etc that we are unaware of.
  • Repressed Unconscious wishes and desires expressed in

Dreams, slips of tongue & physical mannerism.

  • Method of Free Association
perspectives within psychology
Perspectives within Psychology

Cognitive Perspective

Biological Perspective

Behavioral Perspective

Psychoanalytical Perspective

Subjectivist Perspective

Biological Perspective:

Seeks to specify neurological processes that underlie behavior and mental processes.

  • Behavioral Perspective:

Focus on observable stimuli and regards nearly all behavior as a result of conditioning & responses.

  • Cognitive Perspective:

Use the analogy between mind and computer, not based on introspection but it assumes that

    • Only by studying mental processes can we fully understand what organism do.
    • Study mental processes in an objective fashion by focusing on objective behavior.
Psychoanalytic Perspective:

Behavior stems from unconscious processes, meanings, beliefs, fears & desires that a person is unaware of, but that nonetheless influences behavior.

  • The Developmental Perspective:

Concerned with characteristic changes in people as they grow.

  • The Humanistic Perspective:

Emphasizes one’s own sense of self.

  • Subjectivist Perspective:

Each individual has their own definition of the situation, which is expected to vary according to their culture, personal history & current motivational states.

  • Relationship between Biological and Psychological Perspective:

Biological- Reductionism, involve reducing psychological notions to biological ones, Which is not always accepted.

major subfields of psychology
Major Subfields of Psychology
  • Biological Psychology- relationship between biological process and behavior
  • Experimental Psychology- conduct research from a behaviorist or cognitive perspective and use experimental methods to study how people react to sensory stimuli and perceive the world.
  • Developmental Psychology- Human development factors that shape behavior from birth to old age.
  • Socio & Personality- How people perceive & interpret their social world
  • Personality Psychology- study the thoughts, emotions & behaviors that define an individualistic personal style of interacting with the world.
Clinical & Counseling Psychology- Apply psychological principles to the diagnosis & treatment of emotional & behavioral problems.

Counseling- Often deal with less serious problems.

  • School Psychology- Work with children to evaluate learning & Emotional problems.
  • Educational Psychology- Specialization in learning and teaching.
  • Organizational and Engineering Psychology- Selecting people who are most suitable for a particular jobs.
how psychological research is done
How Psychological research is done?
  • Generating Hypothesis
  • Experiments
      • Variable – Independent Variable

Dependent Variable

      • Experimental and Control Group
      • Random Assignments- each participants have an equal probability of being placed in any group.
      • Measurement
  • Correlation-Tests, Correlation and Causation
  • Observation- Direct Observation

Survey Method

Case Histories