Você está na página 1de 7


PUP Open University System

Psychology is a huge topic and conveying the depth and breadth of the subject can be
difficult. As a result, a number of different fields of psychology have emerged to deal with
specific subtopics within the study of the mind, brain and behavior.

The following are just some of the major fields of psychology. For many of these specialty
areas, additional graduate study in that particular field is required.

Abnormal Psychology: Abnormal psychology is a field of psychology that deals with

psychopathology and abnormal behavior. The term covers a broad range of disorders,
from depression to obsession-compulsion to sexual deviation and many more.
Counselors, clinical psychologists and psychotherapists often work directly in this field.

Biopsychology: Biopsychology is a field of psychology that analyzes how the brain

and neurotransmitters influence our behaviors, thoughts and feelings. This field can be
thought of as a combination of basic psychology and neuroscience.

Clinical Psychology: Clinical psychology is the branch of psychology concerned with

the assessment and treatment of mental illness, abnormal behavior and psychiatric

Cognitive Psychology: Cognitive psychology is the branch of psychology that studies

mental processes including how people think, perceive, remember and learn. As part of
the larger field of cognitive science, this branch of psychology is related to other
disciplines including neuroscience, philosophy, and linguistics.

Comparative Psychology: Comparative psychology is the branch of psychology

concerned with the study of animal behavior. Modern research on animal behavior began
with the work of Charles Darwin and Georges Romanes and has continued to grow into a
multidisciplinary subject. Today, biologists, psychologists, anthropologists, ecologists,
geneticists and many others contribute to the study of animal behavior.

Counseling Psychology: Counseling psychology focuses on providing therapeutic

treatments to clients who experience a wide variety of symptoms. It is also one of the
largest specialty areas within psychology. The Society of Counseling Psychology describes
the field as a psychological specialty [that] facilitates personal and interpersonal
functioning across the life span with a focus on emotional, social, vocational, educational,
health-related, developmental and organizational concerns."

Developmental Psychology: This field of psychology looks at development throughout

the lifespan, from childhood to adulthood. The scientific study of human development
seeks to understand and explain how and why people change throughout life. This
includes all aspects of human growth, including physical, emotional, intellectual, social,

and perceptual and personality development. Topics studied in this field include
everything from prenatal development to Alzheimer's disease.

Educational Psychology: Educational psychology involves the study of how people

learn, including topics such as student outcomes, the instructional process, individual
differences in learning, gifted learners and learning disabilities.

Experimental Psychology: Experimental psychology is an area of psychology that

utilizes scientific methods to research the mind and behavior. Experimental psychologists
work in a wide variety of settings including colleges, universities, research centers,
government and private businesses.

Forensic Psychology: Forensic psychology is defined as the intersection of psychology

and the law, but forensic psychologists can perform many roles so this definition can
vary. In many cases, people working within forensic psychology are not necessarily
"forensic psychologists." These individuals might be clinical psychologists, school
psychologists, neurologists or counselors who lend their psychological expertise to
provide testimony, analysis or recommendations in legal or criminal cases.

Health Psychology: The field of health psychology is focused on promoting health as

well as the prevention and treatment of disease and illness. Health psychologists also
focus on understanding how people react, cope and recover from illness. Some health
psychologists work to improve the health care system and the government's approach to
health care policy.

Human Factors Psychology: Human factors is an area of psychology that focuses on a

range of different topics, including ergonomics, workplace safety, human error, product
design, human capability and human-computer interaction. In fact, the terms human
factors and ergonomics are often used synonymously, with human factors being
commonly used in the United States and ergonomics in Europe.

Industrial-Organizational Psychology: Industrial organizational psychology is a field

of psychology that applies psychological theories and principles to organizations. Often
referred to as I/O psychology, this field focuses on increasing workplace productivity and
related issues such as the physical and mental well being of employees. Industrial
organizational psychologists perform a wide variety of tasks, including studying worker
attitudes and behavior, evaluating companies and conducting leadership training.

Personality Psychology: Personality psychology looks at the patterns of thoughts,

feelings, and behavior that make a person unique. Some of the best-known theories in
psychology have originated in this field, including Freud's psychoanalytic theory of
personality and Erikson's theory of psychosocial development.

School Psychology: School psychology is a field that works within the educational
system to help children with emotional, social and academic issues. The goal of school
psychology is to collaborate with parents, teachers, and students to promote a healthy
learning environment that focuses on the needs of children.

Social Psychology: Social psychology looks at a wide range of social topics, including
group behavior, social perception, leadership, nonverbal behavior, conformity, aggression
and prejudice. It is important to note that social psychology is not just about looking at
social influences. Social perception and social interaction are also vital to understanding
social behavior.

Sports Psychology: Sports psychology is the study of how psychology influences

sports, athletic performance, exercise and physical activity. Some sports psychologists
work with professional athletes and coaches to improve performance and increase
motivation. Other professionals utilize exercise and sports to enhance peoples lives and
well-being throughout the entire lifespan.

Of all the branches mentioned above, I find Abnormal Psychology very interesting because I
would like to understand what makes an abnormal person the way he is and how his brain
thinks. I want to understand the boundaries that they cross to be qualified as abnormal.
When psychology was first established as a science separate from biology and philosophy,
the debate over how to describe and explain the human mind and behavior began. The
different schools of psychology represent the major theories within psychology.
In the past, psychologists often identified themselves exclusively with one single school of
thought. Today, most psychologists have an eclectic outlook on psychology. They often draw
on ideas and theories from different schools rather than holding to any singular outlook.
The following are some of the major schools of thought that have influenced our knowledge
and understanding of psychology:
Structuralism and Functionalism
Structuralism was the first school of psychology, and focused on breaking down mental
processes into the most basic components. Major structuralist thinkers include Wilhelm
Wundt and Edward Titchener. The focus of structuralism was on reducing mental processes
down into their most basic elements. Structuralists used techniques such as introspection to
analyze the inner processes of the human mind.
Functionalism formed as a reaction to the theories of the structuralist school of thought and
was heavily influenced by the work of William James. Major functionalist thinkers
included John Dewey and Harvey Carr. Instead of focusing on the mental processes
themselves, functionalist thinkers were instead interested in the role that these processes
Behaviorism became a dominant school of thought during the 1950s. It was based upon the
work of thinkers such as:

John B. Watson

Ivan Pavlov

B. F. Skinner

Behaviorism suggests that all behavior can be explained by environmental causes rather
than by internal forces. Behaviorism is focused on observable behavior. Theories of learning
including classical conditioning and operant conditioning were the focus of a great deal of
Psychoanalysis is a school of psychology founded by Sigmund Freud. This school of thought
emphasizes the influence of the unconscious mind on behavior.
Freud believed that the human mind was composed of three elements: the id, the ego and
the superego. The id is composed of primal urges, while the ego is the component of
personality charged with dealing with reality. The superego is the part of personality that
holds all of the ideals and values we internalize from our parents and culture. Freud believed
that the interaction of these three elements was what led to all of the complex human
Freud's school of thought was enormously influential, but also generated a great deal of
controversy. This controversy existed not only in his time, but also in modern discussions of
Freud's theories. Other major psychoanalytic thinkers include:

Anna Freud
Carl Jung

Erik Erikson.
Humanistic Psychology

Humanistic psychology developed as a response to psychoanalysis and behaviorism.

Humanistic psychology instead focused on individual free will, personal growth and the
concept of self-actualization. While early schools of thought were largely centered on
abnormal human behavior, humanistic psychology differed considerably in its emphasis on
helping people achieve and fulfill their potential.
Major humanist thinkers include:

Abraham Maslow

Carl Rogers.

Humanistic psychology remains quite popular today and has had a major influence on other
areas of psychology including positive psychology. This particular branch of psychology is
centered on helping people living happier, more fulfilling lives.
Gestalt Psychology
Gestalt psychology is a school of psychology based upon the idea that we experience things
as unified wholes. This approach to psychology began in Germany and Austria during the
late 19th century in response to the molecular approach of structuralism. Instead of
breaking down thoughts and behavior to their smallest elements, the gestalt psychologists
believed that you must look at the whole of experience. According to the gestalt thinkers,
the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Cognitive Psychology
Cognitive psychology is the school of psychology that studies mental processes including
how people think, perceive, remember and learn. As part of the larger field of cognitive
science, this branch of psychology is related to other disciplines including neuroscience,
philosophy and linguistics.
Cognitive psychology began to emerge during the 1950s, partly as a response to
behaviorism. Critics of behaviorism noted that it failed to account for how internal processes
impacted behavior. This period of time is sometimes referred to as the "cognitive revolution"
as a wealth of research on topics such as information processing, language, memory and
perception began to emerge.
One of the most influential theories from this school of thought was the stages of cognitive
development theory proposed by Jean Piaget.
Psychology is a very interesting field of study because it deals with the human behavior. It
helps us understand what people do and the underlying conditions why they do it. This
enables us to understand, not only the people around us but ourselves as well.
Science is a method consisting of observation, theory formation, and test. The requirements
for good science are common to the first two steps. Both the observation and the
subsequent theory must be well enough defined that the theory can be tested, which also
means the observation has to be sharpened to a particular phenomenon. The final stage,
testing, is typically divided into two phases. The first is to set the methodology; that is, to
devise the test or set of tests that will most rigorously challenge the theory. A good test will
produce results that are unexpected if the theory is wrong and ideally will be specific to the
predictions of the theory.
Global Warming theory is an example of a theory that does not fit the scientific model. The
observations are not really up to the standards of being well defined; several regions of the
earth's surface have experienced decreasing temperatures and the relationship between
enthalpy (heat energy) and temperature on this watery and icy world is complex. In fact,
the theory appears to have preceded most observations. The theory is adequately defined,
but nobody has been able to devise a test methodology for the part of the theory that
identifies the theorized warming as being the result of human activity. There are also
methodological problems with measuring the rate of change of the enthalpy of the earths
surface. Lay people in particular are tempted to reverse the scientific process in cases like
this: theorize, and then observe to try to support the theory. surface. Lay people in
particular are tempted to reverse the scientific process in cases like this: theorize, and then
observe to try to support the theory.


1. Differentiate the following terms: Need, Drive, Motive and Urge
A need is anything necessary but lacking or the lack of something wanted or deemed
necessary. It is a physiological situation that must be resolved. A drive is a physiological
state corresponding to a strong need or desire. Motive is an emotion, desire or
physiological need or similar impulse that acts as an incitement to action while urge is the
psychological feature that arouses an organism to action toward a desired goal.
2. Define and classify motivation.
Motivation is the force that initiates, guides and maintains goal-oriented behaviors. It is
what causes us to take action, whether to grab a snack to reduce hunger or enroll in college
to earn a degree. The forces that lie beneath motivation can be biological, social, emotional
or cognitive in nature.
Researchers have developed a number of different theories to explain motivation. Each
individual theory tends to be rather limited in scope. However, by looking at the key ideas
behind each theory, you can gain a better understanding of motivation as a whole.
3. Discuss the different theories of motivation and give examples.
Instinct Theory of Motivation
According to instinct theories, people are motivated to behave in certain ways because they
are evolutionarily programmed to do so. An example of this in the animal world is seasonal
migration. These animals do not learn to do this, it is instead an inborn pattern of behavior.
William James created a list of human instincts that included such things as attachment,
play, shame, anger, fear, shyness, modesty and love. The main problem with this theory is
that it did not really explain behavior, it just described it. By the 1920s, instinct theories
were pushed aside in favor of other motivational theories, but contemporary evolutionary
psychologists still study the influence of genetics and heredity on human behavior.
Incentive Theory of Motivation
The incentive theory suggests that people are motivated to do things because of external
rewards. For example, you might be motivated to go to work each day for the monetary
reward of being paid. Behavioral learning concepts such as association and reinforcement
play an important role in this theory of motivation.
Drive Theory of Motivation
According to the drive theory of motivation, people are motivated to take certain actions in
order to reduce the internal tension that is caused by unmet needs. For example, you might
be motivated to drink a glass of water in order to reduce the internal state of thirst. This
theory is useful in explaining behaviors that have a strong biological component, such as
hunger or thirst. The problem with the drive theory of motivation is that these behaviors are
not always motivated purely by physiological needs. For example, people often eat even
when they are not really hungry.

Arousal Theory of Motivation

The arousal theory of motivation suggests that people take certain actions to either
decrease or increase levels of arousal. When arousal levels get too low, for example, a
person might watch and exciting movie or go for a jog. When arousal levels get too high, on
the other hand, a person would probably look for ways to relax such as meditating or
reading a book. According to this theory, we are motivated to maintain an optimal level of
arousal, although this level can vary based on the individual or the situation.
Humanistic Theory of Motivation
Humanistic theories of motivation are based on the idea that people also have strong
cognitive reasons to perform various actions. This is famously illustrated in Abraham
Maslow's hierarchy of needs, which presents different motivations at different levels. First,
people are motivated to fulfill basic biological needs for food and shelter, as well as those of
safety, love and esteem. Once the lower level needs have been met, the primary motivator
becomes the need for self-actualization, or the desire to fulfill one's individual potential.

4. Discuss the motivation behavior relationships.