10 Basic Psychology Disciplines

Posted July 26, 2018 | By csponline

Abstract head and shoulders

There are several basic psychology disciplines that represent the breadth of the science.

In the study of the human mind and behavior, it is only natural that dozens of disciplines and sub-fields develop to help explain a certain perspective. Some people even separate psychology disciplines into two major groups: applied psychology and experimental psychology.

The following section looks at some basic psychology disciplines.

10 Basic Psychology Disciplines

Here is a sample of some basic psychology disciplines.

  1. Abnormal Psychology: This field approaches abnormal behavior in mental health. Research looks into psychological disorders such as anxiety, depression and mental illness like eating disorders and post-traumatic stress. Psychotherapists, clinical psychologists and various counselors and therapists work directly in the field.
  2. Cognitive Psychology: Topics like perception, attention, thinking, reasoning, problem solving, memory, language and emotion are central to cognitive psychology, which looks at internal mental states. Cognitive psychology is primary a research field, although some professionals consult for businesses.
  3. Developmental Psychology: Research in this field consists on the cognitive, emotional and social changes occurring across the lifespan. This is another field primarily engaged in research, although some developmental psychologists help evaluate the effectiveness of intervention programs like Head Start.
  4. Educational Psychology: This field approaches how students learn, teaching psychology and a wide range of educational issues like giftedness, learning disabilities and how parents, teachers and administrators can improve student outcomes.
  5. Health Psychology: Health psychology seeks to understand how certain psychological, behavioral and cultural factors contribute to physical health and illness. Health psychologists promote healthy behaviors and work on preventing and treating illness and disease; health-related issues can include smoking cessation, stress management, weight management and nutrition.

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  1. IndustrialOrganizational Psychology: This field applies psychological principles to the workplace. Research is focused on improving productivity, efficiency, motivation and other real-world problems. An important sub-field is human factors, which looks at human-computer interactions to enhance how people work with certain products and machines.
  2. Neuropsychology: Neuropsychology combines psychology with neurology to examine the psychological effects of the nervous system. Sample research questions can include how changing brain chemistry — due to injury, environmental factors or hormones — impact mental health and behavior.
  3. Personality Psychology: This field examines individual differences that make people unique. Patterns, feelings and behaviors are analyzed at an individual perspective to shed light on how personalities develop and how to classify different types of people. A number of personality theories have emerged, such as psychoanalytic, behaviorist and humanistic theories.
  4. Social Psychology: How are people’s thoughts, behaviors and feelings influenced by others? Social psychology attempts to answer these types of questions. This field bridges the gap between psychology and sociology, by analyzing the individual in relationship to the presence (or perceived presence) of other people. Social psychology looks at topics like nonverbal communication, leadership, social interactions, group behavior and social influences on decision-making.
  5. Sports Psychology: This field examines the relationship between psychological topics and sports, exercise and physical activity. Some professionals help professional athletes and coaches with motivation and performance, while others may help people use exercise and sports to improve their well-being.

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Also published on Medium.