What is Psychology?:
Psychology is the scientific study of mental processes and human behavior, and their interactions with the physical and social environment. The word comes from the Greek terms psyche (soul or mental activity) and logia (study).
According to the Austrian psychologist, H. Rohracher, psychology “is the science that investigates the processes and conscious states, as well as their origins and effects.” This definition reflects the difficulty of covering all psychic phenomena in just one concept. There are two fundamentally distinct aspects that are both possible and justifiable: the natural sciences, which looks for a causal explanation, and philosophical sciences, which seeks to explain the meaning of it.
Psychology aims to describe sensations, emotions, thoughts, perceptions and other motivator states of human behavior. Animal behavior of is studied by Ethology.
Most of research in psychology relies on the observation method, wherein the systematic observation, bounded by the conditions of what’s observed, is the most applied one. In some cases, the observation is occasional, i.e., it does not follow a pre-established plan.
The study of human nature has been conducted since ancient times by theorists, philosophers and theologians. However, these studies were confounded with philosophy. Socrates, Plato and Aristotle were the precursors of the human soul.
Psychology with naturalist orientation saw its apogee in the nineteenth century and was intended to confirm observations by experimental means. This observation method was eventually allied to sensory physiology (J. Müller, H. Helmholtz) and to the invention of measuring psychophysical methods (E. H. Weber, G. Th. Fechner).
In the late nineteenth century, researchers from this era began to focus their studies in investigations of “conscious experience” (analysis of sensations), through research in the newly created psychological laboratories.
The German psychologist, Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920), was the founder of the first experimental psychology laboratory in Leipzig, Germany (1879). Experimental psychology has emerged in Germany, with Wundt, and France, with Ribot, which expanded upon the research of thought, will, conditioned reflexes (Pavlov), introduction of factor analysis (Ch. Spearman) and finally, of intelligence measurement (A. Binet).
These experimental investigations lead to the separation between Philosophy and a new discipline that was called Modern Psychology.
The psychological currents known today were originated from three main currents: Gestalt (the psychology of the form), behaviorism (behavior analysis) and Psychoanalysis (analytical psychology).
Social psychology is the branch of psychology that got further development in the first half of the twentieth century. Its study object is social behavior of human beings in the group context and deals with phenomena such as social gathering, interdependence and social interaction.
Organizational psychology is related to work psychology and studies the phenomena occurring in the context of organizations and institutions. It also includes situations in the labor process and situations related to human resource management.
It’s the area of evolutionary psychology that deals with research and study of psychic manifestations in children’s age. Since the groundbreaking work of W. Preyer (Die Seele des Kindes, 1888), child psychology in the US (S. Hall), Switzerland (J. Piaget) and Germany (K. Groos) has become a branched science where psychoanalysis and individual psychology play an important role. In addition to the registration of each of the evolution stages, there are several functions investigated individually, as the evolution of speech, memory, feelings, values, etc.