Psychology is an important field of study mainly because it can be used to enhance the lives of people as it increases an individual's level of self-understanding, well-being, and quality of relationships. The main reason for the impact of psychology on people's lives is because this field focuses on describing, explaining, predicting, and controlling the mental and behavioral processes of an individual. As a broad field of study, the field of psychology consists of several important topics like introduction to psychology, its scientific method, sensation and perception, learning, and memory. Developing an understanding of the field of psychology through its basic topics is significant in comprehending the wide impact of the field on people's lives.
As an important field of study with huge impacts on the lives of people, psychology can be described as the science of mental and behavioral processes that seeks to define and explain the various aspects of human feelings, perceptions, thoughts, and actions (Hamilton, 2001). The field is guided by several psychology approaches like behavioral, biological, and psychodynamic approaches. Psychodynamic approach was introduced by Freud who argued that unconscious desires and conflicts are deeply rooted on symptoms-free will. Through this theory, the behavioral aspects of a person are the product of his/her interactions with psychological factors outside the conscious awareness. In contrast, the behaviorism approach is a school of psychology that focuses on examining observable and measurable behavior. The biological approach uses biological processes and genetics to describe human behavior, study the brain and the central nervous system. Given that the field of psychology focuses understanding human functioning; its professionals focus on describing and explaining the behaviors of human beings in their respective environments ("What do Psychologists Do?" n.d.). Consequently, psychologists generally engage in every aspect of human thinking processes, feelings, and behavior ("What Does a Psychologist Do?" n.d.).
In order to fully describe the functioning of human beings in their specific environments, psychology uses various scientific methods, types of psychological analyses, and research samples and settings. The scientific method used by psychologists to probably influence the mental behaviors and processes of an individual is a set of principles and procedures to collect data, develop questions, and reach conclusions. In addition to predicting describing human behaviors and reasons for their occurrences, the psychological scientific method enables researchers to forecast and even transform human behavior (Cherry, n.d.). The main steps in the psychological scientific method are problem identification, formulation of an experiment, conducting the experiment, evaluating hypothesis, and communicating results ("The Scientific Method in Psychology," n.d.). There are three main types of research methods used in psychology i.e. descriptive, correlational, and experimental studies. The descriptive research methods are used to observe and explain behavior through observation, interviews, surveys, case studies, and standardized tests. The correlational research methods show the strengths of relationships between two or more characteristics or events. In contrast, experimental research is used by psychologists to determine the causes of an individual's behavior ("Psychology's Scientific Methods," n.d.).
The use of several research methods have resulted in the discovery and explanation of various aspects that affect human thoughts, feeling, and actions. An example of such aspect is sensation and perception, words that are normally used interchangeably though they have different meanings. Sensation is described as the passive process of gathering information from the outside world into a person's body and brain. On the other hand, perception is described as the active process of choosing, arranging, and interpreting the information brought into the brain through sensation. Sensation basically occurs when the sensory organs absorb energy from an environmental physical stimulus and the sensory receptors transform the absorbed energy into neural impulses that are then sent to the brain. The process is followed by perception that occurs when the brain arrange or organizes the information and converts it into meaningful information ("Sensation and Perception," n.d.). As sensation and perception helps a person to gather and interpret information from the external environment, they help to facilitate learning.
Learning can be regarded as permanent change in a person's behavior, which is the product of the person's experience gained from sensation and perception. Learning in this field is primarily described through behavioral psychology in three major ways i.e. observational learning, operant conditioning, and classical conditioning.…