Open main menu

Welcome to the psychology portal

Human brain, lateral view, with brainstem

Psychology is the science of behavior and mind (not to be confused with neuroscience, which studies the neural underpinnings of psychological phenomena ex. neural circuits). Psychology includes the study of conscious and unconscious phenomena, as well as feeling and thought. It is an academic discipline of immense scope. Psychologists seek an understanding of the emergent properties of brains, and all the variety of phenomena linked to those emergent properties. As a social science it aims to understand individuals and groups by establishing general principles and researching specific cases.

In this field, a professional practitioner or researcher is called a psychologist and can be classified as a social, behavioral, or cognitive scientist. Psychologists attempt to understand the role of mental functions in individual and social behavior, while also exploring the physiological and biological processes that underlie cognitive functions and behaviors.


Psychologists explore behavior and mental processes, including perception, cognition, attention, emotion (affect), intelligence, phenomenology, motivation (conation), brain functioning, and personality. This extends to interaction between people, such as interpersonal relationships, including psychological resilience, family resilience, and other areas. Psychologists of diverse orientations also consider the unconscious mind. Psychologists employ empirical methods to infer causal and correlational relationships between psychosocial variables. In addition, or in opposition, to employing empirical and deductive methods, some—especially clinical and counseling psychologists—at times rely upon symbolic interpretation and other inductive techniques. Psychology has been described as a "hub science" in that medicine tends to draw psychological research via neurology and psychiatry, whereas social sciences most commonly draws directly from sub-disciplines within psychology.


While psychological knowledge is often applied to the assessment and treatment of mental health problems, it is also directed towards understanding and solving problems in several spheres of human activity. By many accounts psychology ultimately aims to benefit society. The majority of psychologists are involved in some kind of therapeutic role, practicing in clinical, counseling, or school settings. Many do scientific research on a wide range of topics related to mental processes and behavior, and typically work in university psychology departments or teach in other academic settings (e.g., medical schools, hospitals). Some are employed in industrial and organizational settings, or in other areas such as human development and aging, sports, health, and the media, as well as in forensic investigation and other aspects of law.

Selected article

Sorrowing old man ('At Eternity's Gate'), by Vincent van Gogh, 1890
Major depressive disorder (MDD) (also known as clinical depression, major depression, unipolar depression, or unipolar disorder; or as recurrent depression in the case of repeated episodes) is a mental disorder characterized by a pervasive and persistent low mood that is accompanied by low self-esteem and by a loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities. The term "depression" is used in a number of different ways. It is often used to mean this syndrome but may refer to other mood disorders or simple to a low mood. Major depressive disorder is a disabling condition that adversely affects a person's family, work or school life, sleeping and eating habits, and general health. In the United States, around 3.4% of people with major depression commit suicide, and up to 60% of people who commit suicide had depression or another mood disorder.

The diagnosis of major depressive disorder is based on the patient's self-reported experiences, behavior reported by relatives or friends, and a mental status examination. There is no laboratory test for major depression, although physicians generally request tests for physical conditions that may cause similar symptoms. The most common time of onset is between the ages of 20 and 30 years, with a later peak between 30 and 40 years. (Full article...)

Selected image

Shellshock2.jpg
Australian soldiers near Ypres in 1917, during World War I. Soldier on left is likely suffering from shellshock, now described as Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
image credit: public domain

Quotes

  • "Rationalization may be defined as self-deception by reasoning." — Karen Horney

Selected biography

B.F. Skinner at Harvard circa 1950.jpg
Burrhus Frederic (B. F.) Skinner (March 20, 1904 – August 18, 1990) was an American psychologist, behaviorist, author, inventor, and social philosopher. He was the Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology at Harvard University from 1958 until his retirement in 1974.

Skinner invented the operant conditioning chamber, also known as the Skinner Box. He was a firm believer of the idea that human free will was actually an illusion and any human action was the result of the consequences of that same action. If the consequences were bad, there was a high chance that the action would not be repeated; however if the consequences were good, the actions that led to it would be reinforced. He called this the principle of reinforcement.

He innovated his own philosophy of science called radical behaviorism, and founded his own school of experimental research psychology—the experimental analysis of behavior, coining the term operant conditioning. His analysis of human behavior culminated in his work Verbal Behavior, as well as his philosophical manifesto Walden Two. Contemporary academia considers Skinner a pioneer of modern behaviorism along with John B. Watson and Ivan Pavlov. (Full article...)

Did you know...

Self inflicted cuts on forearm

Subcategories

Related portals

WikiProjects

The following WikiProjects work to improve the quality and scope of articles related to psychology. Please join us at any of them.
Psi2.svg PsychologyCover of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.jpg PsychiatryNeuro logo.png Neuroscience

Psychology topics

Recognized content

Featured articles
Former featured articles
Featured lists
Good articles
Former good articles
Did you know? articles
In the News articles
Picture of the day pictures
Featured pictures

Associated Wikimedia

The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:

Wikibooks
Books

Commons
Media

Wikinews 
News

Wikiquote 
Quotations

Wikisource 
Texts

Wikiversity
Learning resources

Wiktionary 
Definitions

Wikidata 
Database