Thursday, 3 October 2019

Self Improvement Tips

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Psychology and Self improvement

 The word psychology 
has had several different meanings from ancient to modern times. Psychology is the science that studies the behavior of organisms. Here is its present definition:This definition should guide you throughout your study of this book. Three words in the definition merit special attention:
(1) science, 
(2) behavior,
 (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,
 (3) actions. 
Cognitive processes refer to what an individual thinks. Emotional states refer to what an individual feels. Actions refer to what an individual does. 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 psychology 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.

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 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 given to human beings. The ancient philosophers asserted that the soul is the seat of consciousness. It is consciousness that makes mental life possible. This is why psychology is often thought of as the science of the mind.

Contemporary, scientific psychology has four explicit goals:
 (1) describe
 (2) explain
 (3) predict
 (4) control behavior
 These goals are the same commonsense goals that we all use in everyday life. 

Fields of Psychology: Of Laboratories and Clinics

Psychology as a profession expresses itself in different fields, or domains of interest. There are a number of fields of psychology, such as clinical, experimental, counseling, developmental, physiological, human factors, and industrial.

 Clinical psychology is the field associated with psychotherapy and psychological testing. A clinic is a place where sick people go for help; consequently, clinical psychologists try to help persons with both well-defined mental disorders and serious personal problems. The word psychotherapy, in terms of its roots, means a “healing of the self.” In practice, a clinical psychologist who employs psychotherapy attempts to work with a troubled person by using various methods and techniques that are designed to help the individual improve his or her mental health. This is done without drugs. 

Experimental psychology is the field associated with research. Experimental psychologists investigate basic behavioral processes such as learning, motivation, perception, memory, and thinking. Subjects may be either animals or human beings. Ivan Pavlov’s experiments on conditioned reflexes, associated with the learning process, used dogs as subjects. 

The great majority of experimental psychologists are found at the nation’s universities. Their duties combine research and teaching. In order to obtain a permanent position and achieve academic promotion, it is necessary for the psychologist to publish the results of experiments in recognized scientific journals. Experimental psychology is not a large field of psychology in terms of numbers of psychologists. Only about 6 percent of psychologists are experimental psychologists. On the other hand, experimental psychology represents a cutting edge of psychology.

counseling psychologist provides advice and guidance, often in a school setting. Sometimes he or she will, like a clinical psychologist, attempt to help individuals with personal problems. However, if the problems involve a mental disorder, the individual will be referred to a clinical psychologist or a psychiatrist. 

developmental psychologist is concerned with maturational and learning processes in both children and adults. Although a developmental psychologist is usually thought of as a “child psychologist,” it is important to realize that a given developmental psychologist might have a particular interest in changes associated with middle-aged or elderly people. 

A physiological psychologist, like an experimental psychologist, does research. Subject areas include the structures and functions of the brain, the activity of neurotransmitters (i.e., chemical messengers), and the effect that hormones produced by the endocrine glands have on moods and behavior.

 A human factors psychologist combines a knowledge of engineering with a knowledge of psychology. For example, he or she may be part of a team that is attempting to redesign an aircraft control panel in an attempt to make it more “user friendly” in order to reduce pilot error associated with misperceptions.

 An industrial psychologist usually works for a corporation. The principal aim is to provide a work environment that will facilitate production, reduce accidents, and maintain employee morale. A theme that guides industrial psychology is “the human use of human beings.”

The principal functional units of the brain and the nervous system are neurons. The neuron is a living cell with a cell wall and a nucleus. Unlike other cells of the body, neurons specialize in transmitting messages. Of particular importance are two structures called the dendrite and the axon. A neuron often has more than one dendrite; dendrites are reminiscent of a root system. They act like antennas, picking up information and sending it in the direction of the cell body.

Three basic kinds of neurons are
 (1) sensory, 
(2) association,
 (3) motor

Sensory neurons make it possible for us to be in contact with the outside world. They are sensitive to light, sound, chemicals that induce taste sensations, and so forth. The rods and cones in the retina of your eye are sensory neurons.

 Association neurons communicate with each other. Most of the neurons in your brain are association neurons. They allow you to think, remember, and perceive. It is the rich complexity of association neurons that makes selfconsciousness possible.

 Motor neurons communicate with muscle fibers, and these too are cells of the body. Complex contractions and relaxations of muscle fibers make it possible for us to talk, walk, and otherwise act.
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