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 Psychology is the scientific study of human or animal mental functions and behaviors. In this field, a professional practitioner or researcher is a psychologist. Psychologists are classified associal or behavioral scientists. Psychological research can be considered either basic orapplied. Psychologists attempt to understand the role of mental functions in individual andsocial behavior, while also exploring underlying physiological and neurological processes.

Basic research in psychology includes perception, cognition, attention, emotion, motivation,brain functioning, personality, behavior, and interpersonal relationships. Some, especially depth psychologists, also consider the unconscious mind.

Psychologists employ empirical methods to determine causal and correlational relationships between psychosocial variables.

In addition, or in opposition, to employing empirical and deductive methods, clinical psychologists sometimes rely upon symbolic interpretation and other inductive techniques.

While psychological knowledge is typically applied to the assessment and treatment of mental health problems, it is also applied to understanding and solving problems in many different spheres of human activity. The vast majority of psychologists are involved in clinical,counseling, and school positions, some are employed in the industrial and organizational setting, and other areas such as human development and aging, sports, health, the media,legal, and forensics. Psychology incorporates research from the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities.

 The word psychology literally means, "study of the soul". It derives from Ancient Greek: "ψυχή" (psychē, meaning "breath", "spirit", or "soul"); and "-λογία" (-logia, translated as "study of").

The Latin word psychologia has likely origins in mid-16th century Germany.

The earliest known reference to the English word psychology  was by Steven Blankaart in 1693 in The Physical Dictionary which refers to "Anatomy, which treats of the Body, and Psychology, which treats of the Soul." Psychology first became an independent field of investigation distinct from philosophy with the creation of  Wilhelm Wundt laboratory at Leipzi University.


Wundt is credited with setting up psychology as a field of scientific inquiry independent of the disciplines philosophy and biology.


The study of psychology in philosophical context dates back to the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece, China, India, and Persia. Historians point to the writings of ancient Greek philosophers, such as Thales, Plato, and Aristotle (esp. De Anima),  ), as the first significant work to be rich in psychology-related thought. In 1802, French physiologist Pierre Cabanis sketched out the beginnings of physiological psychology with his essay, Rapports du physique et du moral de l'homme (On the relations between the physical and moral aspects of man). Cabanis interpreted the mind in light of his previous studies of biology, arguing that sensibility and soul are properties of the nervous system.

German physician Wilhelm Wundt is known as the "father of experimental psychology,"

 because he founded the first psychological laboratory, at Leipzig University in 1879. Wundt focused on breaking down mental processes into the most basic components, starting a school of psychology that is called structuralism. 

Edward Titchener was another major structuralist thinker.
Functionalism formed as a reaction to the theories of the structuralist school of thought and was heavily influenced by the work of the American philosopher and psychologist William James .

In his seminal book, Principles of Psychology, published in 1890, he laid the foundations for many of the questions that psychologists would explore for years to come. Other major functionalist thinkers included   John Dewey and Harvey Carr.

Other 19th-century contributors to the field include the German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus, a pioneer in the experimental study of memory who discovered the learning and forgetting curve at the University of Berlin; and the Russian-Soviet physiologist Ivan Pavlov , who discovered classical conditioning theory of learning whilst investigating the digestive system of dogs.

Starting in the 1950s, the experimental techniques set forth by Wundt, James, Ebbinghaus, and others would be reiterated as experimental psychology became increasingly cognitive—concerned with information and its processing—and, eventually, constituted a part of the wider cognitive science. In its early years, this development had been seen as a "revolution",as it both responded to and reacted against strains of thought—including psychodynamics and behaviorism—that had developed in the meantime. 


From the 1890s until his death in 1939, the Austrian physician Sigmund Freud developed psychoanalysis, a method of investigation of the mind and the way one thinks; a systematized set of theories about human behavior; and a form of psychotherapy to treat psychological or emotional distress, especially unconscious conflict. Freud's psychoanalytic theory was largely based on interpretive methods, introspection and clinical observations. It became very well-known, largely because it tackled subjects such as sexuality, repression, and the unconscious mind as general aspects of psychological development. These were largely considered taboo subjects at the time, and Freud provided a catalyst for them to be openly discussed in polite society. Clinically, Freud helped to pioneer the method of free association and a therapeutic interest in dream interpretation.



Other well-known psychoanalytic thinkers of the mid-twentieth century included German-American psychologist Erik Erickson, Austrian-British psychoanalyst Melanie Klein, English psychoanalyst and physician D. W. Winnicott, German psychologist Karen Horney, German-born psychologist and philosopher Erich Fromm, English psychiatrist John Bowlby and Sigmund Freud's daughter, psychoanalyst Anna Freud. Throughout the 20th century, psychoanalysis evolved into diverse schools of thought, most of which may be classed as Neo-Freudian.

Psychoanalytic theory and therapy were criticized by psychologists and philosophers such as B. F. Skinner, Hans Eysenck, and Karl Popper. Skinner and other behaviorists believed that psychology should be more empirical and efficient than psychoanalysis—although they frequently agreed with Freud in ways that became overlooked as time passed. Popper, a philosopher of science, argued that Freud's, as well as Alfred Adler's, psychoanalytic theories included enough ad hoc safeguards against empirical contradiction to keep the theories outside the realm of scientific inquiry. By contrast, Eysenck maintained that although Freudian ideas could be subjected to experimental science, they had not withstood experimental tests. By the 21st century, psychology departments in American universities had become experimentally oriented, marginalizing Freudian theory and regarding it as a "desiccated and dead" historical artifact. Meanwhile, however, researchers in the emerging field of neuro-psychoanalysis defended some of Freud's ideas on scientific grounds, while scholars of the humanities maintained that Freud was not a "scientist at all, but ... an interpreter."


Freud had a significant influence on Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, whose analytical psychology became an alternative form of depth psychology.



 Analytical psychology

 Analytical psychology (or Jungian psychology) is the school of psychology originating from the ideas of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung. His theoretical orientation has been advanced by his students and other thinkers who followed in his tradition. Though they share similarities, analytical psychology is distinct from Freudian psychoanalysis.

Its aim is wholeness through the integration of unconscious forces and motivations underlying human behavior. Depth psychology, including archetypal psychology, employs the model of the unconscious mind as the source of healing and development in an individual. Jung saw the psyche as mind, but also admits the mystery of soul, and used as empirical evidence, the practice of an accumulative phenomenology around the significance of dreams, archetypes and mythology.




 Skinner's teaching machine, a mechanical invention to automate the task of programmed instruction




Psychologist Abraham Maslow in 1943 posited that humans have a hierarchy of needs, and it makes sense to fulfill the basic needs first (food, water etc.) before higher-order needs can be met. 






 Cognitivism (psychology) and Cognitive psychology


Baddeley's model of working memory





Cognitive psychology is the branch of psychology that studies mental processes including how people think, perceive, remember, and learn. As part of the larger field of cognitive science, this branch of psychology is related to other disciplines including neuroscience, philosophy, and linguistics.
Noam Chomsky helped to ignite a "cognitive revolution" in psychology when he criticized the behaviorists' notions of "stimulus", "response", and "reinforcement", arguing that such ideas—which Skinner had borrowed from animal experiments in the laboratory—could be applied to complex human behavior, most notably language acquisition, in only a vague and superficial manner.

 The postulation that humans are born with the instinct or "innate facility" for acquiring language posed a challenge to the behaviorist position that all behavior (including language) is contingent upon learning and reinforcement Social learning theorists such as Albert Bandura argued that the child's environment could make contributions of its own to the behaviors of an observant subject.


The Müller-Lyer illusion. Psychologists make inferences about mental processes from shared phenomena such as optical illusions.


Meanwhile, accumulating technology helped to renew interest and belief in the mental states and representations—i.e., the cognition—that had fallen out of favor with behaviorists. English neuroscientist Charles Sherrington and Canadian psychologist Donald O. Hebb used experimental methods to link psychological phenomena with the structure and function of the brain. With the rise of computer science and artificial intelligence, analogies were drawn between the processing of information by humans and information processing by machines. Research in cognition had proven practical since World War II, when it aided in the understanding of weapons operation. By the late 20th century, though, cognitivism had become the dominant paradigm of mainstream psychology, and cognitive psychology emerged as a popular branch.

Assuming both that the covert mind should be studied and that the scientific method should be used to study it, cognitive psychologists set such concepts as "subliminal processing" and "implicit memory" in place of the psychoanalytic "unconscious mind" or the behavioristic "contingency-shaped behaviors". Elements of behaviorism and cognitive psychology were synthesized to form the basis of cognitive behavioral therapy, a form of psychotherapy modified from techniques developed by American psychologist Albert Ellis and American psychiatrist Aaron T. Beck. Cognitive psychology was subsumed along with other disciplines, such as philosophy of mind, computer science, and neuroscience, under the umbrella discipline of cognitive science.

Another of the most influential theories from this school of thought was the stages of cognitive development theory proposed by Jean Piaget. 











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