BEd 2nd Year What do you mean by Psychology Study Material
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According to Aristotle, man is a social animal. Man has been developing his intellect and behavior along with his sociability and progressive social-physical development. In the definitions of psychology, the development of man’s intellect and sociability is a basic factor. Psychology is a known science in comparison with other social science.
Many researchers have been done in this field and many new fields have been added to it. Many a number of principles and theories have emerged. Due to this fact, it becomes difficult to define it. Basically psychological studies, why do people act as they do? Many ways are there to explain human activities. In the definitions of psychological, we find various explanations of human behaviors.
Development of the definition of psychological has come to its existence by following a very long and zigzag journey. These definitions have evolved through the various stages outlined below:
- Science of soul: In the beginning, psychology was viewed merely as a branch of philosophy, which has concerned itself, to a large extent, with elaborating and describing God and the human soul. Besides the term psychology itself is composed of the Latin words psyche, which means soul, and logus, which means science. Hence, the term psychology is interpreted as meaning “science of the soul”.
It is universally accepted that such an inscrutable and imperceptible object as the soul has not yet been discovered or identified. Besides, many objections were realized against identifying psychology as a science of the soul. Not only Indian scholars and philosophers but even Plato and Aristotle accepted the existence of the soul, irrespective of the contribution that philosophical thoughts may have made to the awareness or perception of the soul.
The scientist has failed to locate and literally means the science of the soul, but the definitions suffer from extreme vagueness as we cannot give any satisfactory answer to the question of what is soul. As a result, this definition comes to be considered inadequate and unsatisfactory.
- Science of mind: Once the mistake in defining psychology as the science of the soul was recognized, psychology comes to be considered the science of the mind. On analysis, this definition, too, give rise to a host of very significant questions which could not be answered satisfactorily. Among these questions were: What is the mind? Can it be studied scientifically? How can the functioning of the brain be rendered concrete? Can it be studied in the laboratory? Whatever few answers to these questions were obtained proved to the inadequate and unsatisfactory.
A second factor is that it is not clear what is mind. Some people accept the mind as the ability to be aware of things and to think and feel the source of thoughts and feeling, the ability to reason, one’s intellectual powers, a person of outstanding intellectual ability, a person’s thoughts and attention ability to remember, a Person’s normal mental state. The term can be interpreted in a number of ways. This lacks of clarity in the definition rendered it unacceptable.
- Science of consciousness: Man is a conscious being and because of this consciousness, he reacts to the environment. The relationship between action-reaction and consciences leads it toward the goal. Woundt. James and other scholars accepted psychology as the science of consciousness. Man as conscious activity comes to be considered as a field of study in psychology. C.V. Good defines consciousness as- ‘(i) the sum of all experiences that known to a person at a given time
(ii) total awareness (Gestalt) at any given time over summative field proper of a total behavior pattern paralleling the of being alive.’
Psychologists had to face many difficulties in determining the nature of psychology in the terms of consciousness. Psychologists have established that does not consciousness does not have any impact on behavior, and psychology studies not merely the conscious but also the unconscious. (BEd 2nd Year What do you mean by Psychology Study Material)
The conscious the sub-conscious and the unconscious all contribute to the study and the analysis of human behavior. Criticizing the definition of psychology in the term of, consciousness,
McDougall has stated that consciousness is thoroughly a bad word, and it has been a great misfortune for psychology that the word has come into general use. (BEd 2nd Year What do you mean by Psychology Study Material)
- Science of behavior: At the beginning of the twentieth century, many new hypotheses were offered in the sphere of psychology, and, as a result, psychology was directed towards behavior. This led to psychology being called the science of behavior. During this efforts were made to make psychology completely scientific. According to Behaviorists-psychology is the science of this behavior. Man’s behavior is influenced or conditioned by many factors. Besides this behavior also manifests itself in various ways. Broadly, anything that an organism does, including overt physical action, internal physiological and emotional processes, and implicit activity. As conceived by some behaviorists overt, observable, and physical, the action of muscles and glands, is called behavior. Intact, action, reaction, and interaction of activity are called behavior.
Woodworth has described the journey of psychology from the behavior in the following striking and ironic statement-“First psychology lost its soul, then it lost its mind, then it lost its consciousness; it still has the behavior of sort.”
Definitions of Psychology
After becoming acquainted with the various stages through which the definition of psychology has passed, it is necessary to become familiar with the relatively more recent definitions themselves. These definitions are the outcome of experiments, experiences, reflection, and contemplation of social scientists. At this point, we present some of the definitions provided by some thinkers-
- Kolesnik W.B.-“Psychology is the science of human behavior.’’
- Woodworth R.S.-“Psychology is the science of activities of the individual in relation to the environment.”
- Bridges-“Psychology is the science of consciousness and behavior and unconsciousness determinants of behavior.”
- Murphy-“Psychology is the science which deals with the mutual interaction between organism and environment.”
- Boring, Langfeld and Weld-‘Psychology is the study of human behavior.”
- Munn N.L.-“Psychology is a positive science of experience and behavior interpreted in the terms of experience.”
- Warren-“Psychology is the science which deals with the mutual interaction between an organism and environment.”
- McDougall-“Psychology is the positive science of conduct and behavior.”
- Thouless-“Psychology is a positive science of human experience and behavior.”
- Pillsbury-“Psychology has been most satisfactorily defined as the science of human behavior.”
- Skinner C.E.-“Psychology deals with reactions to every kind of situation that life presents. By response or behavior is meant all forms of reactions, adjustments, activities, and experiences.
- C.V Good-“Psychology is the study of adjustments of the organism, especially the human organism to changing environment.
All these definitions through light on the following fundamental characteristics of psychology,
- Positive science: Psychology is a positive science. In it, the effect of action-reaction, causes and effect relationship, and consequences can be observed. (BEd 2nd Year What do you mean by Psychology Study Material)
- Cognitive science: In psychology, such cognitive activities, as remembering, imagination, forgetting, emotion, and sensations are studied. (BEd 2nd Year What do you mean by Psychology Study Material)
- Psychological being: Psychology studies the individual as a psychological being.
- Related to the environment: Psychology is related to the environment. It also studies the response of the environment. It makes a study of man’s physical and social behavior. (BEd 2nd Year What do you mean by Psychology Study Material)
- Studies human and animal, both: Psychology studies the behavior of not only human beings but also of animals.
Psychology is a Science Nature
Psychology as a discipline makes a study of human behavior; falls in the category of pure sciences. As James Drever has opined; psychology is that pure science which studies human and animal behavior; this behavior manifests the thoughts and emotions subsisting in the individual’s mind. (BEd 2nd Year What do you mean by Psychology Study Material)
Clarifying this view Drever has stated that the objective of psychology is to search for the causes of human and animal behavior and to make a systematic study of human nature. The history of the study of the particular science is in itself, of great significance. It can be seen that when applied to psychology, such a history shows how psychology has evolved as a science devoted to the study of human behavior. (BEd 2nd Year What do you mean by Psychology Study Material)
The development of physical, chemical, and biological sciences has imparted dynamism to the study of human behavior and also thrown elaborate light upon it. (BEd 2nd Year What do you mean by Psychology Study Material)
The study of man itself possesses a vast variety since it comprehends many aspects that have inspired to development of knowledge, as a result of which many traditional hypotheses and concepts have undergone modification.
Morgan, King, and Robinson used the word Psychology as a science. Many Psychologists such as-I.P. Pavlov, E.L. Thorndike, Freud, etc. have worked as scientists and their research findings have evolved many new theories in the field of human behavior.
Psychology is treated as a science on the basis of these characteristics-
- It is empirical: Psychology rests on experiment and observation of agreements and beliefs. Psychologists obtain data that others can verify. However, they may agree or disagree on the interpretation of their result and the meaning, of their observations. An important aspect of it is -empirical science. Psychology included is that the result or data are obtained by experimentation and observation. (BEd 2nd Year What do you mean by Psychology Study Material)
- A systematic approach to theory: Psychology as a science is also systematic. It makes the data systems and on that basis, events are observed in an orderly and economical way. Scientific theories are important tools for the organization of data. The theory has a different meaning in science. Scientific theories are general principles that summarise many observations and predict what can be expected to happen in new situations. The theory is a predictor. It helps for making observations or doing experiments. All theories are subject to modification and they grow and change as more and more of their predictions are tested. (BEd 2nd Year What do you mean by Psychology Study Material)
- Measurement: Measurement is another feature of much science. In psychology, we make use of classifications of different kinds of behavior. Measurement of Psychology is difficult because it has to study human traits. Though many tools have been developed to measure human qualities and dynamic behavior patterns.
- Definitions of terms: Proper definition of terms is essential to clear things in science. This is especially true of psychology. The procedure in psychology is to define concepts by relating them to observable behavior, i.e., intelligence, memory, motivations, learning, attention, and emotions definitions convey the same meaning to all psychologists. Psychology is an art also. The application of knowledge to practical problems is an art. It is a skill or acts for doing things that are acquired by study, practice, or special experiences. (BEd 2nd Year What do you mean by Psychology Study Material)
We may conclude, Psychology is defined as the science of human and animal behavior and the application of the science to human problems. (BEd 2nd Year What do you mean by Psychology)
Thus psychology is both –a science and an act.
In the modern age, psychology has emerged as an effective practical science. It has had a profound impact on the traditional ways of defining and elaborating human behavior, upon the traditional ways modes of thinking about problems, and the method of taking decisions. Binnet, Simon, Freud, and others have analyzed human behavior in entirely original ways.
Such concepts as the mental measurement of ability and others have provided new directions for thinking. Psychology offers help to parents, teachers, social workers, and doctors sphere of human and children’s behavior.