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What is psychology? Types of psychology

What is psychology? Types of psychology

What is psychology?


Psychology, by definition, is the study of both mind and behavior. It helps us define how a mind works, and how it affects the behavior of a person accordingly.

The human mind is very complex in nature and if there is something wrong with it, it becomes very hard to treat it if not done properly. This is especially because symptoms of mind are not physical most of the time, rather thoughts, emotions and memories are more of a nonphysical in nature. Psychology is therefore based on observation of human behavior and helps to recognize the changes in it in case of some abnormalities.

Psychology is studied by both psychiatrists and psychologists but they are not quite the same. Psychiatrists mostly deal with medications and other interventions to manage mental health conditions while psychologists deal with psychotherapy and behavioral modification techniques only.

The history behind the development of different types of psychology:

Psychology seems like a relatively new science but it can be traced back to 500 B.C. however, most advances in psychology have happened in the last 100 years or so. In the early days when psychology was evolving, William James, an American psychologist argued that the human mind is diverse and constantly changing, therefore it is almost impossible to look for building blocks that make experiences and hence define psychology. He further argued that how behavior and mental processes evolve should be of more importance. This gave rise to modern psychology that deals more with consequences and causes of human behavior. In either way, psychology remains a solid branch of science and looks into the causes of different types of behavior via objective and systemic approach for observation, measurement, and analysis. Psychology alone is a broad term and with time there was a need for psychology to be defined on basis of its application and hence this led to the formation of various types of psychology like neuropsychology, occupational psychology, military psychology and many more.

Main types of psychology:

To understand the depth of psychology, here are the few main types of psychology:

– Social:


It deals with the study of how people feel and think and how human behavior is impacted by these thought processes. It broadly looks at the attitudes, prejudice, discrimination and another social phenomenon with their impact on the self-esteem of a person and other areas.

Social psychology can be implemented in marketing, industries, career opportunities, organizational psychology, consultation and evaluation of different opportunities. Social psychologists also work in academia as professors or researchers.

It can be used to study behaviors exhibited by different people in unique social settings. It also concentrates on individual reactions and set of responses that a person might reach in a specific setting. This information later can be used in the aforementioned possibilities like marketing and industry for better outcomes.

– Abnormal:


It concentrates on what constructs a mental illness and how it originates. It looks at the emotions, thoughts and unusual patterns of behaviors that help develop a mental illness. This information is later used to assess, diagnose and treat different mental disorders.

When most people think about abnormal behavior they have extremes in their mind, abnormal, however, only means away from normal. Many psychologists who study abnormal psychology believe that family origins, cultures, religion and other social norms may affect what is interpreted as normal or abnormal.

Abnormal psychology is a subfield of psychology and it is based on the study of normal psychology, group interactions, social interactions, and adjustment behaviors and different roles that are expected of an individual based on normality. Many psychologists agree that abnormal psychology studies and deals with deviations from the norms.

It is employed by social workers, research psychologists, criminal psychologists, family and marriage therapists, and professional counselors, etc. Abnormal psychology can also be employed in educational institutes, military, government, modern prison systems, media, and human rights organizations.

– Biopsychology:

Biopsychology deals with the relationship between behavior and biology. It specifically looks at how the brain controls different behaviors by looking at the functionality of various neurotransmitters. In short, bio psychologists want to see how changes in the brain cause changes in the behavior of a person. Biopsychology has vast implementations. It can be sued in marketing, technology, and even politics. Biopsychology is also employed while making new drugs in the pharmaceutical industry. Biopsychologists help pharmacists design drugs that deal with neurological disorders. People mostly think of biopsychology as a research-oriented field, but there are many areas where it can be employed other than just labs.

– Cognitive:


It deals with the process that underlies how memory, attention, problem-solving ability and language learning work. Cognitive psychology can employ different techniques to study this phenomenon like neuroscience, behavioral experiments or case studies on individual or group basis.

Cognitive psychology is mostly employed in research by most psychologists. They can also employ it in academia and teach new findings that can be later used in different situations.

It can be employed by software developers, human-machine interfaces or organizational psychology. Many cognitive psychologists can work with different clients facing memory problems or attention difficulties in private settings as well. This can also be used to research how these problems arise and what are the common solutions that can be implemented in the general public, later on.

– Developmental:


It deals with people of all ages, it studies, how people grow over time and they develop, both psychologically and physically and how it affects them. It also helps identify any abnormal growth and developmental delays. So that quick intervention can help a person develop normally. It deals with certain interventions that could be employed to help people get back on track and develop healthily. As it is related to developing these fields’ help promote research and application of developmental science to childcare, educational and social policies. A developmental psychologist has the benefit of working with people of all ages. This helps them understand their growth and development, especially the process of aging. They can flag any sort of developmental delays in a timely fashion and suggest interventions that have shown to help a person or a child to regain a normal growth pattern. Developmental psychologists work as managers, childcare therapists, adolescent therapists, teachers, and counselors. Developmental psychology can help play an important role in evaluating, designing and implementing approaches of different cultures to human life in various settings. Developmental psychologists are often seen working in academia, education or healthcare departments while focusing on physical, social, personality or cognitive factors.


 Studies of the various personalities are among individuals and what makes them different. It implements the principles of evolutionary biology to study personality traits among various individuals. It also utilizes behavioral and social learning and how these two affect personality development as well. For personality psychologists, the understanding of how various personalities arise and develop among individuals is the key. This helps them to diagnose, assess and treat various disorders of personality and help and individual live a quality life.

It can be implemented broadly. It is utilized mostly in research, human resources leadership development, teaching, marketing strategies, and public policy making.



It links law and psychology together. In this field, social and psychological knowledge is applied to criminal and civil law. By utilizing concepts of forensic psychology, forensic assessment of court systems are done to evaluate the competency of culprits to stand trial and things like custodian assessments. A forensic psychologist can also apply their knowledge in prison psychology, police psychology and even court consultations as an expert.

It is also utilized in therapy, especially for inmates who are suffering from depression and other mental health disorders. Psychologists who specialize in this field can utilize their knowledge to conduct suicide risk assessments, mental health evaluations for incarcerated prisoners, and other neurological disorders assessments like dementia or Alzheimer’s in inmates. Forensic psychology is especially helpful in helping young minds who are in juvenile prisons and make sure they get to the right path with time.

Organizational psychology:

It is also known as industrial psychology. This branch studies work and its relevance among individuals, society, and businesses. The knowledge of organizational psychology is applied to the well being and issues faced by individuals, teams or organizations. It also deals with improving workplace behavior, the relationship between employer and employees and well beings of a team. Many psychologists who study industrial or organizational psychology work in research departments or academia. They can work as an executive or career coach, as a manager or in human resources, talent acquisition manager, performance manager, team efficiency expert, training specialist, and acquisition or merger consultant.

It is one of the most important branches of psychology as most people work every day and hence the need for occupational psychology in different work settings.


psychology of addiction

This type looks at the structural and functional components of the brain about psychological and behavioral processes.

It is employed to study behavioral changes after a brain injury either suspected or diagnosed such as stroke. This can help doctors see what the possible side effect of such injuries are and how treatment needs to be modified to provide the best prognosis to the patient.


It is most probably known by other names like medical psychology or behavioral medicine. Health psychology studies how a person’s biology, behavior, and social environment changes and influences his health or effects his illness.

It is employed to focus on a person as a whole unit, noting what is influencing their health either positively or negatively. The common factors that might influence general health include education, socioeconomic status, social background, culture, and religion. Health psychologists work in a clinical setting along with other medical personnel and use psychological studies to improve doctor-patient relationships, adherence of patients to medications, healthy psychology may also be employed in cognitive behavioral therapy or biofeedback for pain management. Healthy psychologists work as clinical researchers as well as academic scholars.


It is a special branch of psychology that deals with design research and implementations of different psychological theories and dates to predict behaviors of enemies and devise countermeasures. It also deals with psychological states of friendly forces and how to improve mental health in military personnel.

Military psychologists may work as researchers or treat mental and emotional health issues among military personal. Research here is mostly targeted toward finding the best people for the job, this is done by looking for the best traits with optimum psychological health. Research can also be utilized to find newer ways to treat disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder etc.

It is also employed in diagnosing and treating mental health disorders in military personnel. In addition to PTSD, other common issues include depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Military psychologists mostly employ cognitive-behavioral therapy or exposure therapy to deal with psychological issues.

Comparative psychology:

In this type behavioral patterns of different animals are studied and compared to human behaviors as well. It provides knowledge about several evolutionary traits.

It uses different methods to explore the behaviors of different species. Cross-species comparison can lead to certain similarities and provide information about emotional evolution. It is a developing field.


This type deals with the study of human learning and educational interventions in different settings. Educational psychology employs both behavioral and cognitive aspects of human learning behavior. This helps psychologists learn about what makes a person differently based on intelligence, affect, motivation and cognition.

It can be employed in teaching to provide a solid foundation of educational experience and guide different practices. This helps build a student-teacher relationship and helps students with psychological issues to perform better. Educational psychology is also being employed in special education to maximize learning in special needs children. Educational psychology is also employed for career counseling and psychologists may work as counselors, teacher consultants, and course writers. They may also be work in behavioral or academic intervention and crisis management.

Some of the other branches of psychology also include:

  • Art 

  • Consumer

  • Ambition

  • Animal

  • Advertising

  • Altruistic

  • Counselling

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