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The psychology profession encompasses a very broad range of fields that can be entered into post graduation. Every branch of psychology has a different focus and involves specific psychological issues and training. Popular branches of psychology include cognitive psychology, behavioral psychology, biopsychology, abnormal psychology, developmental psychology and comparative psychology. The branch of psychology known as cognitive psychology focuses on mental functions such as problem solving, decision-making and memory. Cognitive psychology also deals with how people learn, process and store information. The method of studying mental processes using cognitive psychology requires the extensive use of scientific research. Psychologist Ulric Neisser defined the term 'cognitive psychology' in 1967 by characterizing people as "dynamic information-processing systems whose mental operations might be described in computational terms."
Behavioral psychology, or behaviorism, stresses that behaviors are obtained through certain conditioning and environmental stimulation. The study of behaviorism suggests that all forms of thinking, feeling and acting can be regarded as behaviors. Common topics in behaviorism include Pavlov's Classical Conditioning and B.F. Skinner's operant conditioning. Another direction one can take in the psychology field is biopsychology, which is a combination of neuroscience and basic psychology. Biopsychologists focus on the way biological processes influence a person's cognition, emotions and other mental processes. Biopsychology is a useful tool for a host of other professions including physicians, educators and even lawyers.
The field of psychology that focuses on abnormal behavior and psychopathology is called abnormal psychology. Abnormal psychology studies behavior including psychoses, neuroses and mental retardation. This field of psychology also covers a wide range of mental disorders such as obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, and delusional disorders.
Developmental psychology is akin to human development and focuses on the psychological development of a person over time. Originally this field focused predominately on infants and children but has recently expanded to include adolescence and adult development. Topics such as language acquisition, social interaction and identity formation are included in this field.Comparative psychology is the study of animal behavior, which is said to offer a deeper understanding of the psychology of humans. Comparative psychology analyzes the differences and similarities between different species for a deeper understanding of interspecies relationships. Popular topics that are studied in comparative psychology include heredity, evolution, parental behaviors and adaptation.
This article is made possible by Helping Psychology and Argosy University. Drawing upon our more than 30-year history of granting degrees in professional psychology, Argosy University has developed a curriculum that focuses on interpersonal skills and practical experience alongside academic learning. Because getting a degree is one thing. Succeeding, quite another.
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