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Branches of Psychology

Abnormal Psychology
Abnormal behavior is defined as behavior that is considered to be maladaptive
or deviant by the social culture in which it occurs. Though disagreement exists
regarding which particular behaviors can be classified as abnormal,
psychologists have defined several criteria for purposes of classification. One
is that the behavior occurs infrequently and thus deviates from statistical
norms. Another is

Applied Psychology
Applied psychology can be best understood by comparing it to the area of
psychology known as basic psychology, which is concerned with answering
questions about behavior through psychological theory and research. Applied
psychology utilizes this knowledge to actively intervene in the treatment of
individuals with mental or emotional disorders, and is also employed in
business, education, and gover

Counseling Psychology
While the counseling psychologist may diagnose, assess, and treat adjustment
difficulties, they often address problems which are more moderate than those
encountered by the clinical psychologist. Clients of counseling psychologists
are people who need help coping with the stresses of everyday life, and the
focus is on strengthening their existing resources rather than overcoming
disorders or defic

Cross-Cultural Psychology
Studies in this discipline attempt to expand the compass of psychological
research beyond the few highly industrialized nations on which it has
traditionally focused. While definitions of what constitutes a culture vary
widely, most experts concur that "culture" involves patterns of behavior,
symbols, and values. The prominent anthropologist Clifford Geertz has
described culture as &

Developmental Psychology
Developmental psychologists study how characteristics and behaviors first
appear and how and when they change. They study the relationships between

different types of development, such as cognitive and social, as well as

individual variations in development, both normal and deviant. Initially,
developmental psychology focused on childhood but was subsequently
expanded to cover changes that occur o

Differential Psychology
The earliest research in the field of differential psychology began in the late
nineteenth century with Francis Galton's investigation of the effects of
heredity on individual intelligence and his pioneering work in intelligence
testing, which was further advanced by James McKeen Cattell and Alfred
Binet. It was Binet who developed the first standardized intelligence test.
Growth in related

Educational Psychology
Educational psychology departments in many universities provide training to
educators, school psychologists, and other educational professionals. Applied
research in this field focuses on how to improve teaching, solve learning
problems, and measure learning ability and progress. Other concerns of
educational psychology include cognitive development, the dynamics of pupil
behavior, and the psychol

The pioneering work of Konrad Lorenz and Niko Tinbergen in the 1930s
established a theoretical foundation for ethology, which has had an effect on
such wide-ranging disciplines as genetics, anthropology, and political science
in addition to psychology. Ethologists believe that an animal must be studied
on its own terms rather than primarily in relation to human beings, with a
focus on its normal b

Etiology - The change in theory

Psychological etiology refers to the scientific investigation into the origins of a
disorder that cannot be explained biologically. Etiology is complicated by the
fact that most disorders have more than one cause. Early etiological theories
were the Freudian and post-Freudian psychoanalytic beliefs. Sigmund Freud
attributed mental or neurotic disorders to deep-seated or hidden psychic

Existential Psychology - History of the movement

Existential psychology is an approach to psychology and psychotherapy that is

based on several premises, including: understanding that a "whole" person is
more than the sum of his or her parts; understanding people by examining
their interpersonal relationships, understanding that people have many levels
of self-awareness that can be neither ignored nor put into an abstract context,

Experimental Psychology
Experimental psychologists work to understand the underlying causes of
behavior by studying humans and animals. Animals are studied within and
outside laboratory settings for a variety of reasons. A researcher may wish to
learn more about a particular species, to study how different species are
interrelated, to investigate the evolutionary significance of certain behaviors,
or to learn more about

Forensic Psychology
Forensic psychologists often work within the judicial system in such diverse
areas as determining an inmate's readiness for parole; evaluation of
rehabilitation programs; criminal competency; tort liability and damages;
eyewitness testimony and evidence; jury selection; and police training.
Forensic psychology may also be employed in other areas of jurisprudence,
including patent and tradem

Gestalt Psychology
The Gestaltists were at odds with the popular school of psychology of the day,
known as structuralism, whose proponents believed that the mind consists of
units or elements and could be understood by mapping and studying them in
combination. The Gestalt psychologists believed that mental experience was
dependent not on a simple combination of elements but on the organization
and patterning of expe

Health Psychology
Health psychology is a diverse area with a variety of emphases. Medical
psychology focuses on the clinical treatment of patients with physical illnesses,
offering practical advice people can use in order to improve their health. While
there is special emphasis on psychosomatic disordersthose that have
traditionally been most closely related to psychological factorsthe current

Humanistic Psychology - Theories and therapeutic

applications, Research
Humanistic psychology evolved in the 1960s as a reaction to psychodynamic
psychology and behaviorism. Humanists objected to the pessimistic view of
human nature advocated by psychodynamic psychologists who saw the selfish
pursuit of pleasure as the root of all human behavior. They also felt that the
behaviorists' beliefs that all human behavior is the product of environmental
influences red

Industrial Psychology
Some industrial psychologists, also called personnel or organizational
psychologists, may be employed by companies to administer tests which
measure employee aptitudes or skills in hiring and placement programs.
Others work for consulting firms which offer their services to companies on a
contractual basis to solve specific problems. The projects which they work on
may include facilitating interpe

Media Psychology - What does psychology have to do

with media?, Processing information
According to reports the average American household has the television on for
about seven hours a day. It is also reported that young people are increasingly
turning to the Internet as a form of escape and information-gathering. The
movie industry spends billions of dollars on new films every year. Advertising
currently has more outlets, like television, billborads, magazines, radio, the

Metapsychology describes the effort to construct or to postulate a systematic
and comprehensive set of general principles encompassing all of psychology,
specifically including elements that are theoretical in addition to elements that
are considered to have been empirically demonstrated; also known as
nomothetic psychology. In classical Freudian psychoanalytical theory, the
term metapsychology is

Occupational Therapist
Occupational therapists help persons with both physical and emotional
problems as well as learning difficulties. Although occupational therapy was

initially associated with reintegrating veterans of First and Second World

Wars into the work force, the term "occupation" used in the context of this
profession actually refers to any activity with which persons occupy their time.

The study of paranormal activities and phenomena has been riddled with
controversy since its conception. It is claimed that some people, utilizing
senses beyond the ordinary, exhibit powers that cannot be explained by
traditional science. Skeptics of the paranormal point to the fact that in over a
century since the first serious studies of the paranormal began, usually dated
to the opening of the

Philosophical Psychology
One of the central questions in philosophical psychology has been the
relationship between the mind and body, a perennial area of inquiry
throughout the history of philosophy. Other topics considered in this
discipline include memory, perception, and consciousness; the nature of the
self; the existence of free will; the relationship between thought and emotion;
and so-called irrational phenomena,

Physiological Psychology
The area of experimental known as physiological psychology has evolved in
the 1990s. Increasingly, the field is being referred to as behavioral
neuroscience, replacing physiological psychology and biological psychology.
Nonetheless, the goals of psychologists in this field remain the same: to utilize
basic research to explain behavior in physiological terms, working on the
assumption that for ever

Psychiatrists treat patients privately and in hospital settings through a
combination of psychotherapy and medication. There are about 41,000
practicing psychiatrists in the United States. Their training consists of four
years of medical school, followed by one year of internship and at least three
years of psychiatric residency. Psychiatrists may receive certification from the
American Board of P

Psychoanalysis - Psychoanalysis and the development of

personality, Freud's critics
Developed in Vienna, Austria, by Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), psychoanalysis
is based on an approach in which the therapist helps the patient better
understand him- or herself through examination of the deep personal feelings,
relationships, and events that have shaped motivations and behavior. Freud
developed his theories during the end of the 19th and the early part of the 20th
centuries in Vienna

As psychology has grown and changed throughout its history, it has been
defined in numerous ways. As early as 400 B.C., the ancient Greeks
philosophized about the relationship of personality characteristics to
physiological traits. Since then, philosophers have proposed theories to
explain human behavior. In the late 1800s the emergence of scientific method
gave the study of psychology a new focus


Psychophysics originated with the research of Gustav Fechner (1801-1887),
who first studied the relationship between incoming physical stimuli and the
responses to them. Psychophysicists have generally used two approaches in
studying our sensitivity to stimuli around us: measuring the absolute
threshold or discovering the difference threshold. In studying the absolute
threshold using the method of

Psychosurgery involves severing or otherwise disabling areas of the brain to
treat a personality disorder, behavior disorder or other mental illness. The
most common form of psychosurgery is the lobotomy, where the nerves
connecting the frontal lobes of the brain and the thalamus or hypothalamus
are severed. Performed first in the late 1930s, by the 1940s lobotomies were
recommended for patients d

Psychotherapy - Psychodynamic approach, Behavioral

techniques, Cognitive methods, Family and group

Psychoanalysis, the first modern form of psychotherapy, was called the

"talking cure," and the many varieties of therapy practiced today are still
characterized by their common dependence on a verbal exchange between the
counselor or therapist and the person seeking help. The therapeutic
interaction is characterized by mutual trust, with the goal of helping
individuals change destruc

School Psychology
Developed in 1896 at the University of Pennsylvania in a clinic that studied
and treated children considered morally or mentally defective, the field of
school psychology today includes 30,000 psychologists, most of whom work in
educational systems throughout the United States. School psychologists, in
various roles within the school systems they serve, focus on the development
and adjustment of t

Social Psychology
Social psychology is the study of human interaction, including
communication, cooperation, competition, leadership, and attitude
development. Although the first textbooks on the subject of social psychology
were published in the early 1900s, much of the foundation for social
psychology studied in the 1990s is based on the work of the behavioral
psychologists of the 1930s. Behavioral psychologists

In his 1975 work, Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, entomologist Edward O.
Wilson first coined the term "sociobiology" to create a new field of study
combining biology and social sciences, especially anthropology and sociology.
Sociobiologists study the biological nature of human behavior and personality
according to the tenet that all social behavior has a biological basis. The field

Sports Psychology
Sportswhich involve emotion, competition, cooperation, achievement, and
playprovide a rich area for psychological study. People involved in sports
attempt to master very difficult skills, often subjecting themselves to intense
physical stress as well as social pressure. When psychologists began studying
sports in the 1930s and 1940s, they focused on motor performance and the

Statistics in Psychology
Psychologists rely heavily on statistics to help assess the meaning of the
measurements they make. Sometimes the measurements involve individuals
who complete psychological tests; at other times, the measurements involve
statistics that describe general properties of groups of people or animals. In
psychological testing, the psychologist may interpret test results in light of
norms, or the typical

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