Portal:Psychology

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International Psychoanalytic Congress, 1911
Human brain, lateral view, with brainstem

Psychology is the science of behavior and mind, including conscious and unconscious phenomena, as well as feeling and thought. It is an academic discipline of immense scope and diverse interests that, when taken together, seek an understanding of the emergent properties of brains, and all the variety of epiphenomena they manifest. As a social science it aims to understand individuals and groups by establishing general principles and researching specific cases.

In this field, a professional practitioner or researcher is called a psychologist and can be classified as a social, behavioral, or cognitive scientist. Psychologists attempt to understand the role of mental functions in individual and social behavior, while also exploring the physiological and biological processes that underlie cognitive functions and behaviors.


Psychologists explore behavior and mental processes, including perception, cognition, attention, emotion (affect), intelligence, phenomenology, motivation (conation), brain functioning, and personality. This extends to interaction between people, such as interpersonal relationships, including psychological resilience, family resilience, and other areas. Psychologists of diverse orientations also consider the unconscious mind. Psychologists employ empirical methods to infer causal and correlational relationships between psychosocial variables. In addition, or in opposition, to employing empirical and deductive methods, some—especially clinical and counseling psychologists—at times rely upon symbolic interpretation and other inductive techniques. Psychology has been described as a "hub science" in that medicine tends to draw psychological research via neurology and psychiatry, whereas social sciences most commonly draws directly from sub-disciplines within psychology.


While psychological knowledge is often applied to the assessment and treatment of mental health problems, it is also directed towards understanding and solving problems in several spheres of human activity. By many accounts psychology ultimately aims to benefit society. The majority of psychologists are involved in some kind of therapeutic role, practicing in clinical, counseling, or school settings. Many do scientific research on a wide range of topics related to mental processes and behavior, and typically work in university psychology departments or teach in other academic settings (e.g., medical schools, hospitals). Some are employed in industrial and organizational settings, or in other areas such as human development and aging, sports, health, and the media, as well as in forensic investigation and other aspects of law.

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Transpersonal psychology is a school of psychology that integrates the spiritual and transcendent aspects of the human experience with the framework of modern psychology. It is also possible to define it as "spiritual psychology". The transpersonal is defined as "experiences in which the sense of identity or self extends beyond (trans) the individual or personal to encompass wider aspects of humankind, life, psyche or cosmos". It has also been defined as "development beyond conventional, personal or individual levels".

Issues considered in transpersonal psychology include spiritual self-development, self beyond the ego, peak experiences, mystical experiences, systemic trance, spiritual crises, spiritual evolution, religious conversion, altered states of consciousness, spiritual practices, and other sublime and/or unusually expanded experiences of living. The discipline attempts to describe and integrate spiritual experience within modern psychological theory and to formulate new theory to encompass such experience. (Full article...)

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George Armitage Miller (February 3, 1920 – July 22, 2012) was one of the founders of the cognitive psychology field. He also contributed to the birth of psycholinguistics and cognitive science in general. Miller wrote several books and directed the development of WordNet, an online word-linkage database usable by computer programs. He authored the paper, "The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two," which experimentally discovered an average limit of seven for human short-term memory capacity. This paper is frequently cited in both psychology and the wider culture. He also won awards such as the National Medal of Science.

Miller started his education focusing on speech and language and published papers on these topics, focusing on mathematical, computational and psychological aspects of the field. He started his career at a time when the reigning theory in psychology was behaviorism, which eschewed any attempt to study mental processes and focused only on observable behavior. Working mostly at Harvard University, MIT and Princeton University, Miller introduced experimental techniques to study the psychology of mental processes, by linking the new field of cognitive psychology to the broader area of cognitive science, including computation theory and linguistics. He collaborated and co-authored work with other figures in cognitive science and psycholinguistics, such as Noam Chomsky. For moving psychology into the realm of mental processes and for aligning that move with information theory, computation theory, and linguistics, Miller is considered one of the great twentieth-century psychologists. (Full article...)

Did you know...

Carl Jung
  • ...that ASNOVA was a group of architects that linked psychology and architecture by building laboratories and expounding psychological theories?

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