The Handy Psychology Answer Book by Lisa J. Cohen

The handy psychology answer book by Lisa J. Cohen (Handy answer book series) pdf

answer bookWhat is psychology?

Psychology involves the systematic study of mind and behavior. This extremely broad domain includes questions of motivation and information processing, normal and abnormal behavior, mental health and mental illness, the individual and the group, and people functioning in the context of their lives.

How does psychology relate to everyday life?

Psychology relates to every part of everyday life. The questions of psychology relate to how and why we love and suffer and desire, how we raise our children, how and why we succeed or fail at work. Psychology also relates to why we are so fascinated with celebrities and why their marriages so often fail. While the science of psychology may seem abstract at times, the implications touch every arena in which people think, feel or act.

How does psychology interact with biology and sociology?

The human mind does not function in isolation. It exists within both a biological and a social context. Therefore psychology serves as an interface between biology, specifically the biology of the brain, and sociology, the study of the behavior of groups.

What do psychologists do?

Psychology is a remarkably varied field, involving both the performance of scientific research and the application of its findings. Psychologists work as scientists, clinicians, teachers, authors, consultants, and evaluators. They perform empirical research, provide therapy and assessment, and evaluate mental status or disability in numerous settings, such as the government, schools and the judicial system. Psychologists also consult on wide-ranging problems for businesses, schools, the military, the police force, sports teams and even rock bands. As the study of human behavior, psychology is can potentially apply to any field of human endeavor.

What is the difference between psychologists and psychiatrists?

The responsibilities of psychologists and psychiatrists often overlap; both psychologists and psychiatrists can diagnose and evaluate mental illness, provide psychotherapy, and conduct research. Nonetheless, their background and training differ considerably. In general, psychologists are students of the mind and behavior while psychiatrists are experts in mental illness. Psychologists are trained in academia and their highest degree is the doctorate (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) in psychology. They do not prescribe medicine, unless they are certified by the few states that have prescription privileges for psychologists. Moreover, not all psychologists are involved with clinical work. In contrast, psychiatrists are trained in the medical field. They are all physicians, having completed medical school and having obtained an M.D. (or D.O.). Their training is almost entirely clinical and focuses on the evaluation and pharmacological treatment (i.e., medication) of severe mental illness.

What came before psychology?

Modern psychology is a child of the scientific revolution. Without the systematic application of reason and observation that forms the foundation of the scientific method, there would be no modern psychology. Nonetheless, contemporary psychology is not without precedents, and within Western history there are many precursors, ancestors so to speak, of psychology as we know it today. Ancient Greek philosophy, medieval Christianity, and post-Renaissance philosophers of the past several centuries all addressed the core questions of psychology in ways that both differed from and anticipated much of what we know today.

What did the ancient Greeks have to say about psychology?

Twenty-five hundred years ago, ancient Greek philosophers turned their remarkably sophisticated inquiries away from the whims of the gods and toward questions of the natural world. Questions about humanity’s place in the world naturally followed. What is knowledge and how do we gain it? What is our relationship with emotions? While some of their answers to these questions appear bizarre by modern standards, much of it remains strikingly current.

What is the Greek root of the word “psychology”?

The word psychology derives from the Greek words psyche, meaning soul, and logos, meaning a reasoned account in words. It is important to note, though, that the Greeks’ conception of the mind was quite different from ours. In general, the Greeks understood the mind in more concrete ways with less emphasis on the complexity of subjective experience.

Did Homer have a Concept of the Mind?

Homer’s legendary epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, date back to the eighth century b.c.e. Although Homer’s epics are timeless stories of passion and drama, his understanding of human psychology is radically different from our view today. There is no real concept of consciousness in Homer, no sense of the characters’ behaviors being motivated by their own internal feelings or thoughts. Instead characters’ motivations are imposed on them through the whims of the gods. Athena makes Odysseus do whatever he does. Abstract ideas of mental life, of consciousness, do not exist and awareness is understood in concrete, bodily terms. For example, the Greek word noos (later spelled nous), which later came to mean consciousness, was more concretely understood as vision or sight. The word psyche, which in later years referred to the soul or the mind, in Homer’s day meant only blood or breath, the physical markers of life.

When did the Greeks turn to questions of psychology?

The pre-Socratic philosophers—i.e., those who predated Socrates—lived in the early fifth century and sixth centuries b.c.e. Philosophers such as Alcmaeon, Protagoras, Democritus, and Hippocrates introduced concepts remarkably pertinent to modern ideas. Shifting focus from the gods to the natural world, they attributed mental activity to nous (the later spelling of noos), which some even located in the brain. Several of these philosophers believed that our knowledge of the world is only learned through the sense organs. As we can only know what we see, hear, smell or touch, all human knowledge is necessarily subjective and will differ from individual to individual. This belief in the relativism of human knowledge is a radical idea that remains pertinent to modern psychology.

What are the four bodily humors?

Hippocrates was a brilliant physician who introduced the notion of the four bodily humors, a concept that would influence medical theories for almost 2,000 years. Hippocrates based his physiological theory on the ideas of another pre-Socratic philosopher, Empedocles (c. 492-c. 432 b.c.e.), who believed the entire world to be composed of earth, air, fire, and water. The bodily elements of black bile, yellow bile, blood, and phlegm corresponded with each of Empedocles’s four elements. Although Hippocrates attributed all mental processes (such as joy, grief, etc.) to the brain, he believed that both mental and physical health rested on a harmonious balance of the four bodily humors. Over five centuries later, the Roman physician Galen (130-201 c.e.) expanded Hippocrates’s ideas to create a typology of personality. The melancholic personality (from black bile) tended toward the depressed; the choleric (from yellow bile) tended toward anger, the sanguine (from blood) tended toward the vigorous, courageous, and amorous, and the phlegmatic (from phlegm) tended to be calm and not easily perturbed. Each personality type resulted from an excess of its respective bodily humor. Although modern science has disproved this theory, Galen’s terms are still used to describe personality traits.

This book is intended to find a middle ground, to provide a rigorous and scientifically grounded book that is nonetheless accessible and engaging to the general public.

Language: English
Format: PDF
Pages: 513