What Is Psychology?

Psychology is the scientific study of human and animal mind and behaviour. It is a subject that grew out of medicine and philosophy, arising out of the great ‘mind-body’ debate ie does our mind exist independently of the body. In 1879, in Germany, Wilhelm Wunt opened up the first laboratory designed to study the human mind: Psychology was born.

The name psychology is actually derived from two Greek words, ‘psyche’ (mind/spirit/soul) and ‘logos’ (study/word). Psychologists use their findings to gain insight into people generally, but also to help individuals and those who, as part of their jobs, have to deal with people. For example, the police are now better at managing football crowds because of the work of psychologists; schools have better policies for dealing with bullies and children with learning difficulties. Psychologists work with advertisers to work out what will tempt you to buy things, and they work with chemists to design drugs to relieve conditions like schizophrenia and depression.

Psychology covers an enormous range of issues: indeed it covers anything that humans do! Sleep, dream, worry, refuse to eat, eat too much, form relationships, memorise, forget, think, learn.

Psychologists also find animal behaviour interesting. They are interesting in their own right, but they are also interesting because they can help us to gain insight into human behaviour too. Psychologists’ work has led to better management of animals on farms and to the effective use of animals as assistants of humans eg police dogs and horses.

So, if you’re interested in people, you will be interested in Psychology.Now find out about the AS/A level Psychology course by going to the link ‘The Course’ or to Year 1 and Year 2.