What is psychology & its definition?

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What is Psychology?

The word psychology has Greek roots; it means study of the psyche (i.e “breath, spirit, soul”) and logos  means “science or study of” or “research“.

The symbol of Psychology is the 23rd Greek alphabet ‘Psi’ (Ψ) means soul or mind.

Earlier, It was ‘the science of mind’, then it became ‘the science of consciousness’ (by Wilhelm Wundt); study of unconscious (by Sigmund Freud) ; ‘a science of behavior’ (by John Watson), and finally ‘The study of human behaviour and mental processes.

  • Psychology is the scientific study of the activities of the individual in relation to his environment.

However, it studies mental processes, experience and behavior of Individual, dyadic (two persons) group and organizational. They have biological as well as social bases.

Basically It is

1 Study of consciousness
2 Study of unconscious
3 Study of behavior

a. Behavior
b. Mental processes
c. Scientific method


According to some psychologist, researches and experts like

  • William James (1890) defined psychology as, “the science of mental life, both of its phenomena and their conditions”.
  • John B. Watson (1913) defined It as, “the acquisition of information useful to the control of behavior”.
  • Ciccarelli & Meyer,2006 defined psychology as, “the scientific study of behavior and mental processes.”
  • Rathus, (2008) defines as, “the science that studies behavior and mental processes.
  • American Psychological Association (APA) defined, “Psychology is a multifaceted discipline and includes many sub-fields of study such areas as human development, sports, health, clinical, social behavior and cognitive processes.”
  • Psychology is the science of human and animal behaviour. It includes the application of this science to human problems. (Morgan et al., 1986)
  • The scientific study of behaviour and mental processes. (Feldman,1996)
  • The scientific study of behaviour and mental processes and how they are affected by an organism’s physical state, mental state and external environment (Tavris and Wade, 1997)
  • Psychology is all about human behaviour, about mental processes, and about the context in which behaviour and mental processes occur. (Das, 1998)
  • The science of behaviour and mental processes. (Lahey,1998)
  • The science of behaviour and cognitive processes. (Baron, 1999)
  • Scientific study of behaviour and mind. (Nairne, 2003)
  • A science in which behavioural and other evidence is used to understand the internal processes leading people (and members of other species ) to behave as they do. (Eysenck, 2004)

So, basically psychology studies, the nervous system, sensation and perception, learning and memory, intelligence, language and thinking, growth and development, motivation and emotion, personality, stress, psychological disorders, ways of treating those disorders, sexual behavior, and the behavior of people in social settings such as groups and organizations.

To check your understanding of Introduction to Psychology, solve this short test – Click here for MCQ test

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