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SubFields :
Psychology, historically, has been divided into many subfields of study; these fields, however, are interrelated and frequently overlap. Physiological psychologists, for instance, study the functioning of the brain and the nervous system, and experimental psychologists devise tests and conduct research to discover how people learn and remember. Subfields of psychology may also be described in terms of areas of application. Social psychologists, for example, are interested in the ways in which people influence one another and the way they act in groups. Industrial psychologists study the behavior of people at work and the effects of the work environment. School psychologists help students make educational and career decisions. Clinical psychologists assist those who have problems in daily life or who are mentally ill.


Philosophical Beginnings :
Plato and Aristotle, as well as other Greek philosophers, took up some of the basic questions of psychology that are still under study: Are people born with certain skills, abilities, and personality, or do all these develop as a result of experience? How do people come to know the world? Are certain ideas and feelings innate, or are they all learned?


Most modern psychology developed along the lines of Locke's view. Some European psychologists who studied perception, however, held onto Descartes's idea that some mental organization is innate, and the concept still plays a role in theories of perception and cognition.


  • Physicians who became concerned with mental illness also contributed to the development of modern psychological theories. Thus, the systematic classification of mental disorders developed by the German psychiatric pioneer Emil Kraepelin remains the basis for methods of classification that are now in use. Far better known, however, is the work of Sigmund Freud, who devised the system of investigation and treatment, known as psychoanalysis. In his work, Freud called attention to instinctual drives and unconscious motivational processes that determine people's behavior. This stress on the contents of thought, on the dynamics of motivation rather than the nature of cognition in itself, exerted a strong influence on the course of modern psychology.
    • Modern psychology still retains many aspects of the fields and kinds of speculation from which it grew. Some psychologists, for example, are primarily interested in physiological research, others are medically oriented, and a few try to develop a more encompassing, philosophical understanding of psychology as a whole. Although some practitioners still insist that psychology should be concerned only with behavior-and may even deny the meaningfulness of an inner, mental life-more and more psychologists would now agree that mental life or experience is a valid psychological concern.

    Physiological Psychology :
    The study of underlying physiological bases of psychological functions is known as physiological psychology. The two major communication systems of the body-the nervous system and the circulatory system-are the focus of most research in this area. The smallest unit of the nervous system is the single nerve cell, or neuron. When a neuron is properly stimulated, it transmits electrochemical signals from one place in the system to another. The nervous system has 12.5 billion neurons, of which about 10 billion are in the brain itself.



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