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Introduction : Psychologist
The word psychology has had several different meanings from ancient to modern
times. Here is its present definition: Psychology is the science that studies the behavior
of organisms. This definition should guide you throughout your study of this
Three words in the definition merit special attention:(1) science, (2) behavior,
and (3) organisms. Modern psychology is considered a science because it bases its
conclusions on data, information obtained by systematic observations. The
research methods used by psychology are covered in chapter 2.
Behavior has three aspects: (1) cognitive processes, (2) emotional states, and
(3) actions. Cognitive processes refer to what an individual thinks. Emotional
states refer to what an individual feels. Actions refer to what an individual
An organism is any living creature. Consequently, the behavior of dogs, rats,
pigeons and monkeys can be legitimately included in the study of psychology.
Such organisms have indeed been subjects in Psychologist experiments. However,
traditionally the principal focus of psychology has been humans. When animals
are used in experiments, the implicit goal is often to explore how such basic
processes as learning and motivation, as studied in animals, can cast a light on our
understanding of human behavior.
(a) What does psychology study?
(b) What are the three aspects of behavior?
Answers: (a) The behavior of organisms; (b) Cognitive processes, emotional states, and
Although you now know the modern definition of psychology, it is important
to realize that the word psychology has its roots in ancient meanings associated with
philosophy. The Greek word psyche means soul. Consequently, to philosophers
living 400 to 300 B.C., psychology(Psychologist) was the “study of the soul.” This was the
meaning given by Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. In view of the fact that these
thinkers, particularly Socrates and Plato, did not believe that animals have souls, it
becomes evident why for many centuries psychology’s main attention has been
1 Introduction: The Foundations of Psychology
2 Research Methods in Psychology: Gathering Data
3 The Biology of Behavior: Is the Brain the Organ
of Mental Life?
4 Sensation: Studying the Gateways of Experience
5 Perception: Why Do Things Look the Way
6 Learning: Understanding Acquired Behavior
7 Motivation: Why Do We Do What We Do?
8 Emotions: Riding Life’s Roller Coaster
9 Thinking: Exploring Mental Life
10 Intelligence: In Pursuit of Rational Thought and
11 Developmental Psychology: How Children
12 Sex and Love: Are You in the Mood?
13 Personality: Psychological Factors That Make
You an Individual
14 Abnormal Psychology: Exploring Mental Disorders
15 Therapy: Helping Troubled People
16 Social Psychology: Interacting with Other People