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The Diverse Nature of Psychology

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The Diverse Nature of Psychology

Mary Terroy

PSY/490

March 19, 2018

Christine Garwick-Foley


The Diverse Nature of Psychology

Psychology is defined as the scientific study of the human mind, motivations, emotions, cognition, and behaviors (Plante, 2011). The diverse nature of psychology can be seen in the subdisciplines it entails. The subdisciplines are divided into specializations; some are concerned with both psychological science and the application of this science to real-world problems such as experimental, social or clinical (Plante, 2011, p.5). According to the American Psychology Association, there is 54 division of psychology; this gives a clear indication of how diverse psychology is (APA, 2018), Psychology evolved from its beginning as a philosophy to its scientific discipline. In this paper, we will address how diversity influenced major concepts in psychology and two subdivisions and two subtopics in psychology and how they can be applied to other disciplines. As well as how the relate a theoretical perspective.

Diversity and Major Concepts in Psychology

Psychology and its ever-evolving nature and lack of one unified theory require diversity within its discipline. As mention, the APA recognized 54 divisions (APA, 2018) and five major concepts of psychology that focuses on a certain area such as biological, behavioral, cognitive, psychodynamic/psychoanalytical, and social/sociocultural; with several sub-disciplines with a verity of sub-topics. The verity of major concepts in psychology was developed through research and experiments on human and non-human behavior, thus allowing for different ways to approach, assessing, diagnosing psychological issues and human and non-human and treatment of this behavior (Kowalski & Westen, 2011 p. 28).

Sub-disciplines and Subtopics in Psychology

Some sub-disciplines in psychology are Motivation, Behaviorism, and Cognition, each having subtopics. Looking at these sub-disciplines we can explore their subtopics, for example, the subdiscipline of motivation its subtopics may include the theory of emotions or approaches and avoidance theories to approach and understand human behavior (Deckers, 2010). Also, the subdiscipline of cognition and its subtopics may include cognitive dissonance and false memories; these subtopics may help in explanation of one's behavior (Olson & Hergenhahn, 2009).

When looking at motivation, it has been described as the "drive" or "reason" behind our behaviors. Motives are both internal and external, physiological and psychological needs. That is influenced by our emotions such as fear, happiness, surprise, anger, disgust, and sadness (Deckers, 2010), While there are many theories on how our emotions motivate our behavior. According to Deckers, (2010, p. 325) theorists such as James-Lange, and Cannon "built their theories on how the human body has a unique physiological response, that connects to emotions" (Deckers, 2010). Known as the cognitive arousal theory, this theory suggested when one feels aroused he/she will be motivated to react. For example, a loud explosive noise such as a firecracker. The loud noise it will trigger a person's feelings of fear, anxiety. Which then will cause the person's instinctual fight or flight response, they may react by ducking or jumping, hiding or running (Deckers, 2010), The approaches and avoidance theories may also play a role on how one may handle a similar situation. The approach and avoidance theory depend on negative and positive stimulus received from emotions. If the stimuli are cause positive emotion, then you are likely to repeat the activity, but if the stimuli cause a negative emotional response, you will avoid repeating the action. For example; If a child walks up to a strange dog and reaches out to pet the dog; the dog bites him/her. The dog's reaction triggers a negative emotional response causing fear of dogs. On the other hand, if the child pets the strange dogs and receives a positive response from the dog such as wagging of the tail and friendliness the child will repeat this activity because of the positive emotions that were triggered (Elliot & Covington, 2001).

In reference to cognitive dissonance, Olson & Hergenhahn (2009, p.419) suggest "this occurs when a person personal beliefs, behavior or attitudes are different then what they expect". For example, when working on a team assignment and he/she does not agree with the way the assignments are being done, agree with his/her personal views or beliefs about the subject but goes along with the team to keep everyone happy, this then leaves him/her feel uncomfortable. (Olson, & Hergenhahn, 2009).

About false memories, this may happen when our brain remembers the event that may not have happened in the way they did or not happen at all. An example of this could be ten people witness an accident; each person will recall a different memory of this event because of their own experience. When called as a witness they may recall the event falsely because of how the trauma of witnessing the accident, which may have caused them to store false memories (Willingham, 2007, p. 217).

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