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What is Psychology?
How can you ensure that people give up smoking? How effective are terrifying images on a packet of cigarettes to reduce smoking? Answering such questions requires a real understanding of human behaviour.
Psychology studies human behaviour. It explains from various perspectives why people do what they do. There are several different specializations within psychology. Social psychology, for example, studies ordinary human behaviour; Clinical Psychology, on the other hand, focuses on behaviour that deviates from the ‘norm’. Work and Organizational Psychology deals with the relationship between job characteristics and the functioning and performance of employers and employees. Developmental Psychology studies the development of human behaviour throughout the lifespan. Clinical Neuropsychology investigates disturbances in the functioning of the brain as a result of disease or disorder. Finally, Cognitive Psychology and Psychophysiology examine the relationship between the functions of different regions of the brain and the behaviour of healthy individuals.
Psychology therefore also studies ordinary behaviour, its underlying biological structures and the environmental factors that influence it. What happens, for example, when a number of people witness an accident, as opposed to when you witness an accident on your own? You might think that the more people are present, the more help they will offer. But the reality is that the more people there are who witness an accident or an emergency, the more likely it is that each of them will think that someone else will offer help. This confusion about who is responsible for offering help is a good example of ordinary human behaviour. It is important to investigate such behaviour and the mechanisms behind it, because only then will we be able to understand, predict and change it.
Is this the right programme
You are fascinated by people and their behaviour. You find it interesting to delve into theories about human behaviour. You are a good listener, and you are not averse to studying large quantities of English texts and statistics. You are able to plan well and to study independently, in addition to the twelve contact hours a week. You feel at ease with yourself and you are curious.
Diversity in organizations
Learned behaviours can develop into automated processes, making them difficult to ignore. You can see this for yourself when you are given the task of naming a colour and the name of the colour does not match the colour in which it appears. This test, known as the ‘Stroop Task’, shows that it is difficult to ‘turn off’ automated processes, and that these processes divert our attention away from the task at hand.
Why is one person less likely to be overworked than another? What causes agoraphobia? Does your personality change as you get older? What happens in the human brain when you use drugs or alcohol?
What is psychology?