What are the Major Goals of Psychology?



There are four major/ main/ primary goals of Psychology. (Mnemonics- DEPC)

1. Describe

      • The First goal of psychology is to observe and gather information to understand the way the brain works and to know what is happening.
      • Find an accurate description of human behavior. It is hard to achieve an objective description of behavior & maintain an unbiased attitude.
      • By observing different human behavior, psychologists determine what is normal & healthy and what is not.
      • Psychology analyzes the thoughts, feelings, actions and goals of people through the help of various case studies, observations and surveys.
      • Example
        1. Pavlov’s dog experiment– Here the description of the observation is noticing the salivation of dog at the sight of food.
        2. In an observation, a psychologist would say, “The subject smiled, laughed, and danced around the room.”


2. Explain

      • Explain your described behavior.
      • Why does this behavior occur?
      • What circumstances cause it to occur?
      • To explain a behavior, psychologists must conduct experiments to ensure that the behavior is not random.
      • Pavlov used multiple dogs for experiments
      • When presented with an unconditioned stimulus (the food), the dogs began to salivate – which is the unconditioned response.
      • He notices that even the presence of his lab assistant, who fed the dogs, caused them to salivate. He realized that the lab assistant, which was once a neutral stimulus, had become a conditioned stimulus.

3. Predict

    • Forming a hypothesis.
    • Look for patterns, similarities in behavior.
    • Based on the observed behavior, a psychologist aims to predict how that behavior will appear again in the future.
    • If it applies to other people, will they show the same behavior?
    • Pavlov predicted that the bell- new neutral stimulus – would become a conditioned stimulus if he presented it with food enough times.

4. Control

      • By Understanding, explaining and predicting the behavior, we can easily define, change, influence, or control behavior.
      • To make constructive and lasting changes in people’s lives.
      • In Pavlovian experiment, the behavior of the dog is controlled. Salivation takes place only when the bell rings.
      • What did Pavlov’s discovery mean for the future of psychology?
        • It meant that teachers could take control of their classroom easier,
        • Parents can teach children good behavior.
        • People can manipulate their own and others’ thoughts.
        • It is useful for training new employees faster, increasing the success of students and reducing drug addiction.
        • Becomes possible to help someone get rid of a nasty habit.

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7 Replies to “What are the Major Goals of Psychology?”

  1. I wanted to ask that from which book did you read the goals of psychology. Actually I am a student of BA first year and I have psychology as one of my subject. So i purchased Robert A. Baron Indian edition. But now I think that its a good book but not all things are covered in the book. Thatswhy i want you to suggest me a book that can help me to study all the matters related to the subject.

  2. In Angola or any other countries around the world people have been suffered for years because of civil war.Many persons were traumatized,being married and having children later,they had no care to help them psychologically.How will be their situation to be integrated in the society.

    1. It is quite unfortunate to face civil war and other traumatized events. For now we can seek help from NGOs or other professionals. A suitable way is to find out online resources which are available free on internet.

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