Psychology A Science. Essay

1649 words - 7 pages

In order to answer this question it is important to understand the definitions of both psychology and science. The word 'psychology' comes from the Greek 'psyche' (or soul) and 'logos' (or study), which came to be known as the 'study of the soul'. The American Heritage Dictionary defines psychology as: 1. the science dealing with the mind and with mental and emotional processes 2. the science of human and animal behavior.In its pure definition the dictionary has provided us with a clue to the answer, it describes science as: 1. systematized knowledge derived from observation, study, etc. 2. a branch of knowledge, esp. one that systematizes facts, principles, and methods 3. skill or technique In order to prove this claim we have to look at whether or not psychology can fill this definition above.Scientific study is a valid way of coming to an understanding of life, and can be very useful in every area of life. Science develops theories based on what is observed. It examines each theory with rigorous and scrupulous tests to see if it describes reality. The scientific method works well in observing and recording physical data and in reaching conclusions which either confirm or nullify a theory.During the mid-19th century, scholars (although at that time probably termed philosophers) wanted to study human nature with the aim of applying the scientific method to observe, record, and treat human behavior that was deemed as unnatural. They believed that if people could be studied in a scientific manner, there would be a greater accuracy in understanding present behavior, in predicting future behavior, and, most controversially, in altering behavior through scientific intervention.There are many areas of psychology, each attempting to explain behavior from slightly different perspectives; Social psychology is concerned with the effects of social situations on human behavior.Personality theorists study individual behavior.Comparative psychologists study animal behaviors across the range of species Physiological psychologists are concerned with the biological basis of behavior.Developmental psychologists study principles and processes responsible for change throughout life.Cognitive psychologists investigate memory, thought, problem solving, and the psychological aspects of learning.Analysis of behavior studies the conditions under which a behavior can be learned and the situations that cause that behavior to occur. Learning is an area of psychology exploring how new behaviors are learned and maintained.Clinical psychologists study ways to help individuals and groups of individuals change their behavior.Industrial and organizational psychologists are concerned with the physical and social aspects of people's work environments as they affect work output.Community psychologists use scientific methods to study and solve social problems.As Western describes, the psychological paradigm is a collection of assumptions used to make sense of a subject area or...

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