What Is Psychology? its History, Types, Method, branches & goals

What is psychology

Psychology is defined as the scientific study of behaviour and mental processes. The field of psychology relies upon the scientific method to discover ways of explaining, predicting, modifying, and improving behaviour. The study of behaviour and mental processes involves examining both animal and human subjects.

Behaviour can be either overt or covert. Overt behaviour is anything a person does that you can see, while covert behaviour is internal or hidden from view and cannot be observed by others. Think about the following behaviours and determine whether they are examples of overt behaviour or covert behaviour.

  • Watching: Overt
  • Thinking: Covert
  • Being sad: Covert
  • Wondering: Covert
  • Blinking: Overt
  • Imitating: Overt
  • Remembering: Covert

Now that you know what psychology is, let’s look at what psychology hopes to achieve; in other words, the goals of psychology.

Understand the etymology of the word “Psychology”

The word “psychology” comes from the Greek language, where “psyche” means “mind” and “logos” means “study” or “science.” Therefore, the etymology of the word “psychology” literally translates to “the study of the mind.” The term was first coined by German philosopher and physician Christian Wolff in his 1732 book “Psychologia empirica.” The term quickly gained popularity and was adopted by other philosophers and scientists to refer to the study of the mind and behavior. In the 19th century, psychology began to emerge as a distinct field of study, and by the early 20th century, it had become a full-fledged academic discipline.

Know about the history of psychology in detail.

Types of Psychology.

There are many different types of psychology that focus on specific areas of study. Some of the main branches of psychology include:

  1. Biological psychology: This branch of psychology focuses on the relationship between the brain and behavior. It examines the biological and physiological processes that underlie behavior and mental processes such as memory, perception, and problem-solving.
  2. Cognitive psychology: This branch of psychology studies the mental processes that are involved in the acquisition, storage, and use of knowledge. It examines topics such as memory, perception, and problem-solving.
  3. Developmental psychology: This branch of psychology examines how people change and grow throughout their lives. It looks at how people develop physically, mentally, and socially from birth to old age.
  4. Social psychology: This branch of psychology examines how people interact with and influence others. It looks at topics such as group dynamics, communication, and social influence.
  5. Personality psychology: This branch of psychology examines the characteristics that make up an individual’s personality. It looks at how personality develops and how it influences behavior.
  6. Clinical psychology: This branch of psychology deals with the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders. It looks at the causes and symptoms of mental disorders and develops treatment plans to help people overcome them.
  7. Forensic psychology: This branch of psychology applies psychological principles to legal issues and criminal justice system. It deals with issues such as eyewitness testimony, jury selection, and criminal responsibility.
  8. Educational psychology: This branch of psychology applies psychological principles to the field of education. It examines how students learn and how to improve teaching methods to enhance learning.
  9. Sport psychology: This branch of psychology applies psychological principles to the field of sports. It examines how psychological factors such as motivation, stress, and focus impact an athlete’s performance.
  10. Industrial-organizational psychology: This branch of psychology applies psychological principles to the workplace. It examines how to improve worker productivity and satisfaction, and how to design effective work environments.
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There are several important methods used in psychology, including:

  1. Experimental method: involves manipulating variables and measuring the effect on behavior or mental processes.
  2. Observational method: involves observing and recording behavior without interfering or manipulating variables.
  3. Survey method: asks people questions about their behavior, attitudes, or beliefs.
  4. The case study method: involves an in-depth examination of an individual or small group.
  5. The clinical method: involves using psychological principles and techniques to diagnose and treat mental disorders.
  6. Biological method: involves studying the physical and physiological processes that underlie behavior and mental processes.
  7. Cognitive method: involves studying mental processes such as perception, memory, and problem-solving.
  8. Behavioral method: involves studying observable behavior and the factors that influence it.

Each method has its own advantages and limitations and it is not uncommon to use more than one method in a research study.


It’s no secret that psychology is an important tool in the field of mental well-being. From principles and discovered research to mental health services, it can help clients manage and overcome symptoms of distress and illness.

  • Developing educational programs
  • Ergonomics
  • Informing public policy
  • Mental health treatment
  • Performance enhancement
  • Personal health and well-being
  • Psychological research
  • Self-help
  • Social program design
  • Understanding child development


There are many different career paths available for individuals with a background in psychology. Some examples include:

  • Clinical psychologist: diagnose and treat mental health conditions
  • Counselling psychologist: works with clients to help them cope with and understand their problems
  • School psychologist: work with children in educational settings to help them with academic and social-emotional issues
  • Research psychologist: conduct research studies to understand behavior and mental processes
  • Industrial-organizational psychologists: use psychological principles to improve the performance and well-being of employees in organizations.
  • Neuropsychologist: study the relationship between the brain and behavior
  • Forensic psychologist: apply psychology to legal issues
  • Sports psychologist: work with athletes to improve their performance
  • Health psychologist: study how psychological factors affect physical health and illness
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It is important to note that many of these careers may require a graduate degree and/or licensure/certification.

Impact of Psychology

Psychology is a field that impacts both individuals and society in many ways. It’s responsible for treating mental issues, but it also plays a large role in various other areas of life. Some of the ways that psychology contributes to individuals and society include:

  • This is done by strengthening the mutual understanding of various subjects’ perceptions with new research and developments in psychological research methods.
  • Understanding how a person’s mind can be impacted by different factors
  • “Understanding health, daily life and well-being”
  • The human form evolved for millions of years to find the most efficient ways of sitting, standing, and interacting with objects.
  • Creating safer and more efficient workspaces
  • To motivate people to reach their goals, it is important to take time for them, encourage them and instill confidence in their abilities.

Psychologists focus on exploring and explaining human behavior. They do this by using rigorous scientific methods. They make sure their findings apply to other cases using objective and systematic empirical tests.

The Four Goals of Psychology

The four goals of psychology are to describe, explain, predict, and control behavior and mental processes. These goals are used by psychologists to guide their research and study of the mind and behavior.

  1. Describe: This goal involves observing and measuring behavior and mental processes in order to understand and describe them.
  2. Explain: This goal involves understanding the causes of behavior and mental processes. This can be done through the use of scientific research methods and theories.
  3. Predict: This goal involves using knowledge of behavior and mental processes to make predictions about future behavior.
  4. Control: This goal involves using knowledge of behavior and mental processes to change or modify them. This can be done through interventions such as therapy or treatment programs.

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Dr. Sarita holds a Master's degree in Psychology and a PhD in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), making her a seasoned professional in her field. Her extensive education and expertise in both psychology and NLP position her as a valuable asset to individuals and organizations seeking to enhance their mental and emotional well-being. With her deep understanding of the subject matter and her commitment to providing exceptional service, Dr. Sarita is poised to make a significant impact in the field of psychology.