A project report on human psychology. This report will also help you to learn about:- 1. Meaning of Psychology 2. Development of Definition of Psychology 3. Branches of Psychology 4. Applied Fields of Psychology.
- Project Report on the Meaning of Psychology
- Project Report on the Development of Definition of Psychology
- Project Report on the Branches of Psychology
- Project Report on the Applied Fields of Psychology
1. Project Report on the Meaning of Psychology:
Human behaviour is a complex thing. We are all interested in understanding it. We want to know why we act and react as we do. Why-do we feel afraid, sad or happy? Why do we differ from others in our abilities, likes and dislikes, interests and attitudes? Some people are very sociable; they like society. Others prefer to be alone. But why? Some of us are quick in doing things; others take time before they accomplish any task.
Some of us get easily provoked, whereas others manifest indifference or an attitude of peace and poise. What causes these differences in our reactions even if the stimuli are the same? Why is it that a child cannot bear the delay in the satisfaction of his desires and. wishes whereas an adult can tolerate frustrations of many kinds? All these and many more questions arise in our minds because we want to understand human nature, behaviour and experience.
The study of psychology will enable us to answer these questions in a scientific manner. It will help us to understand why, how and when we behave differently and what forces are there which make us so different from others.
Psychology has been studied in some form or another as far back as the time of Aristotle. He impressed on us, for the first time, the importance of environment on the behaviour of the individual. According to him ‘environment or objects in the environment cause movements which are carried to the sense organs of the individual and from there to the heart.’
The impression left on the heart later on becomes the source of ideas. These ideas combine together to give rise to the process of thinking and reasoning. Descartes was another thinker who tried to explain the emergence of thought and volition in a man. He said that it was man alone who was capable of these, because he had a soul.
Thus, in the beginning, psychology was all mixed up with philosophy and it was the philosophers who manifested interest in the subject of human behaviour by trying to find out the cause or the motivation for such behaviour. Gradually, it grew into an independent subject, and very recently, with the increased use of experimental methods, it has developed into positive science.
At present, psychology enjoys an important position among social sciences. A knowledge of psychology has come to be considered as of both academic and practical value in the field of medicine, law, business, social relations, social work, education, nursing and other areas of human endeavour.
2. Project Report on the Development of Definition of Psychology:
But how can psychology be defined? One of the earliest, definition is based on the derivations of the word ‘psychology.’ The word ‘psychology’ is derived from two Greek words, ‘psyche’ (which means soul or atman) and ‘logos’ (which means science or systematic study of knowledge or discourse).
a. Science of Soul:
Hence, the earliest definition of psychology was that it is the study of ‘soul’ ‘spirit’ or ‘atman’. It was believed that it was this spiritual entity, known in religious literature as ‘soul’ that was responsible for the higher mental activities such as thinking, willing and reasoning.
We have already said that Descartes contributed a great deal to this mode of defining psychology. But the word ‘soul’ was used rather vaguely and it was interpreted differently by Plato, Aristotle and Descartes. Again, its theological and religious metaphysical associations were regarded by many as derogatory to the progress of Psychology. For all these, this definition was gradually given up.
According to J.S. Ross, “Psychology, literally means the Science of the Soul, but this definition suffers from extreme vagueness as we cannot give any satisfactory answer to the questions what is soul?”
b. Science of Mind:
Later, Psychology was defined as the science of mind or as a study of the mental life of man.
This definition was given up as unsatisfactory because of the following reasons:
(a) The mind as an object does not exist; what exists is only the brain. In other words, the mind is not a thing but a function.
(b) It is difficult to study the mind apart from what it does. In other words, we can study it only when it functions or operates in human behaviour or activities.
(c) This definition ignores the physiological aspects of the human being, which are closely connected with the psychological factors.
(d) The term ‘mind’ itself is rather difficult to be defined. Some identify it with an immaterial substance, different from ‘body’ which is material. Others describe it as the sum-total or our mental states and processes – a bundle of sensations, perceptions and ideas. But, how these various units are interrelated or organised, is not clearly brought out.
c. Science of Consciousness:
Psychologist like William Wundt (1832-1920), William James (1842-1910) and others considered psychology as the science of consciousness. One of the chief characteristics of human beings is that we are aware of what we do. We are aware of our mental and motor activities. This definition was made popular by Vives, the Spanish philosopher.
Many objections were soon mind to this definition also:
(i) There are a number of activities of which we are conscious in the beginning and which on being performed for a number of times become automatic. When they become automatic, they do not need attention. This is the nature of our habitual actions. Thus these habitual actions, through outside the field of consciousness, are still within the scope of Psychology.
(ii) Recently, the unconscious is regarded as an important part of the mind and its study is very much within the province of Psychology. The ‘unconscious’, as has been established by Freud, has an important impact on our conscious behaviour. Merely defining Psychology as the science of consciousness, therefore, will be narrowing its scope.
(iii) It is difficult to give explanations of this concept in quantitative terms. Consciousness can be studied only with the help of ‘introspection’. “Every individual’s consciousness being his own, introspection is a private affair; its study can only be subjective or speculative”. We have immediate knowledge of our own ‘consciousness’ only. Consciousness of others can, at best be inferred. This is the method of analogy and it is ‘unscientific’. On the basis of findings on one’s individual, we cannot set up any generalisations or universal rule of behaviour.
(iv) Again, the use of introspection can obtain, at best, for us a complete description of the consciousness of one individual. But it does not explain why any particular consciousness takes the form it does, and how it can be controlled or utilised to the best advantage of human beings. For all these difficulties, the definition of psychology as the science of consciousness, was discarded.
d. Science of Behaviour:
The latest and the modern concept of Psychology at the beginning of twentieth century, is in terms of behaviour. The term behaviour was popularised by J.B. Watson (1878-1950). According to Behaviourists – Psychology is the science of behaviour. Watson says, “Psychology is the Positive Science of behaviour “. Behaviour can be successfully studied by several means, besides the simple method of serving it.
R.S. Woodworth has described the journey of psychology from the soul to the behaviour in the following striking statement “First Psychology lost its soul, then it lost its mind, then it lost its consciousness, it still has behaviour of sort.”
Meaning of the Term Behaviour:
The term ‘Behaviour’ is used in a very broad sense. Generally behaviour is the reaction of the organism towards stimuli present in the environment. Behaviour includes all activities of the individual. It includes motor activities like walking playing or building. It includes such activities as give us knowledge, for example perceiving, remembering, imagining, thinking or reasoning. It includes emotional activities like feeling happy, sad, angry or frightened. Thus, the word behaviour in its broad sense not only covers our overt behaviour but also our inner experiences or mental processes.
1. According to R.S. Woodworth:
“Any manifestation of life is active and behaviour is a correlated name for all such manifestation.”
2. According to James Drever:
“Behaviour is the total response which man or animal makes to the situation in life with which either is confronted.”
3. According to C.E. Skinner:
“By behaviour or response is meant all forms of processes, adjustments, activities and experience of the organism. ”
Psychology as a Positive Science:
It must be noted that Psychology is Natural or Positive Science, not a Normative Science. It describes the facts of human behaviour and its lack as they are rather than as they ought to be. Ethics is a normative science because it deals with behaviour as it should be. Logic is also a normative Science because it deals with how we should think.
In positive sciences, we merely describe behaviour as we discover or find it without evaluating it, without saying whether it is good or bad, desirable or undesirable, but in normative sciences, we seek to evaluate behaviour and thus attempt to influence or improve behaviour of others. Psychology explains to us why and how we behave at different stages of growth. Like all other sciences it seeks to understand, predict and control the behaviour as such.
Definition of Psychology:
1. “Psychology is the positive science of behaviour” – Watson
2. ”Psychology is the scientific study of the activities of the individual in relation to the environment.” – Woodworth, US.
3. “Psychology is the study of human nature.” – Boring. Langfeld and Weld
4. “Psychology is the study of human behaviour and human relationships.” – Crow and Crow
5. “Psychology is the science of behaviour and experience.” – Skinner, Landsman(1977)
6. “Psychology is the science of human behaviour.” – Kolesnik, W.B.
7. “Psychology is the science that studies behaviour and mental process.” – Hilgord, Atkinson and Atkinson (1975)
8. “Psychology is the science of the facts or phenomena of self.” – Dewey John
9. “Psychology is the positive science of conduct and behaviour.” – McDougall
10. “Psychology may be most satisfactorily defined as the science of human behaviour.” – Pillsbury
11. “Psychology is the positive science which studies the behaviour of men and animals, so far as that behaviour is regarded as an expression of that inner life of thought and feeling which we call mental life”. – James Drever; Psychology; The Study of Man’s Mind.
Psychology occupies a prominent place in the educational theory of today and it is not easy to over emphasize the contribution it has to made. At the same time one must be aware of pressing its claims too far, for there are many questions in education which it is powerless to decide. These questions concern the aim of education. Now Psychology is not concerned with aims, it is a positive, not a normative science that is to say; it deals with facts as they are, nor as they ought to be.
The Psychologist, as a Psychologist, merely studies behaviour, not seeking to influence it or improve it, his business is not to assess the moral worth of behaviour, and for him its most reprehensible forms are just as interesting and important as its lofliest manifestations, education, however is very much concerned with aims, ideals, standards and values and these in themselves are beyond the province of pure Psychology.
It is Philosophy not Psychology, that tells the educater what he ought to do. Thus education cannot be described as applied Psychology nor ought the school to be regarded as a mere Psychological laboratory.
3. Project Report on the Branches of Psychology:
We have defined psychology as the science of behaviour. Behaviour is a complex phenomenon and has various aspects. It can be studied from various angles and points of view. This speaks of the wide scope of psychology. The recent growth of psychological knowledge has been so tremendous that for purposes of detailed and accurate study the subject matter of psychology.
It has been divided into many special fields or branches. These divisions single out of the entire realm of psychology, specific and particular phenomena for study. It may be noted, however, that these divisions are not sharp or mutually exclusive. These various fields fall under two groups, general and applied.
Some of the important branches in the former are as follows:
(i) General psychology deals with the principle of all aspects of psychology. It describes the universal characteristics of human behaviour and deals with the mental life of the normal human adult, in its various aspects, such as perception, nervous system, feelings and emotions, intelligence and its measurement, attention, the learning process, memory, imagining and thinking and many others.
(ii) Physiological psychology analyses the physiological structure of the human being in relation to the working of his mind and underlying his behaviour. The structures and functions of sense organs, nervous system muscles and glands are described in detail. Lashley and Sherrington have enabled us to understand human behaviour as influenced by the physiological structure of the brain.
We have already said above that physiological psychology as a science and gave rise to experimental psychology. It has significant relationship with neurology, which is making valuable contributions to our understanding of the human mind and its working.
(iii) Comparative and animal psychology is devoted to the development of knowledge about living organisms other than human beings such as the tadpoles, cats, dogs, mice, rats and primates. The hypothesis thus formulated can throw light on the development of human behaviour, by comparison and contrast.
The thesis underlying is, there is continuous life process ‘from animal to man’. “The classical definition of man as a rational animal” is based on this doctrine. “One of the major contributions of the comparative psychologists is the development of scientific laboratory experiments and techniques of study psychological problems.” (Boaz). The earlier experiments of Thorndlike on animal learning bear the truth of this statement.
(iv) Abnormal psychology deals with the deviations of the human adult from the normal. It studies mental disorders of all types, their causes and treatment. It is allied to psychiatry, the medical field for the treatment of psychological and psychosomatic disorders and maladjustments. Abnormal psychology has been very much influenced by the contribution of Freud, Adler and Jung and their disciples all over the world.
(v) Genetic psychology is also called developmental psychology. It studies the behaviour as it develops from birth, through childhood, adolescence, and maturity to an old age. The factors that influence the growth or development of human behaviour are also discussed.
(vi) Different psychology or the psychology of individual differences deals with individual differences among human beings. Strictly speaking, it forms part of general psychology itself, but in recent years the testing movement has been so much developed and the study of individual differences has become so wide in its scope, that some psychologists prefer to make it a different branch by itself. The use of mental tests for the assessment of various human abilities and differences was first made by Francis Galton of England in 1883. He may, therefore, be regarded as the founder of differential psychology.
(vii) Social psychology studies the behaviour of an individual as it is influenced by others and the relations of groups to one another. It deals with the psychological interrelations of people forming families, crowds, societies and mobs and of the leader with his followers.
It studies various types of group phenomena such as public opinion, propaganda, attitudes, beliefs and inter- group inter-race and inter-national conflicts and tensions. Sociology and cultural anthropology have influenced social psychology in many ways. McDougall, by publishing his book “Introduction to Social Psychology” in 1908 became a pioneer in the field.
(viii) Child psychology is a growing branch of psychology. It is concerned with the factors that influence early development such as heredity, parental influences, family relationships, play associations and community factors. It deals with the various developmental processes like motor, intellectual, emotional and social and brings out how the language development and learning take place. Dr. Arnold Gessell of Yale University, Piaget of France have made significant contributions to the fund of knowledge about child psychology.
(ix) Parapsychology is one of the most recent development of psychology. It deals with problems like extra sensory perception, telepathy and clairvoyance etc. For a number of years para-psychology was not given recognition mostly because its data were collected through the anecdotal method and stray impressions of people. The scientific and experimental touch has been given to the manipulation of its data by Rhine’s work in America and at the universities of London and Cambridge.
The Duke University in the U.S.A. is making a special study of this branch. Recently, an institute of para-psychology has been established in Rajasthan under Dr. Banerji. It is carrying out experiments on the various phenomena of para-psychology in co-operation with psychologists of various other countries of the world. India, it is assumed, has a great deal to contribute to the theoretical framework of this branch of psychology.
4. Project Report on the Applied Fields of Psychology:
The finding of psychology have been applied to the various aspects of life in order to increase our general efficiency in many walks of life. The purpose of these fields is the solution of practical problems arising therein.
These applied fields are clinical psychology, industrial psychology of business management, legal and crime psychology, military psychology, adjustment psychology or mental hygiene and educational psychology:
(i) Clinical Psychology:
Psychology, we have observed, is the study of behaviour. Clinical psychology is the study of the behaviour of a particular individual client or patient. The clinical psychologist evaluates his personality and the factors, which are most important to the harmonious integration of the personality.
This presupposes a complete understanding of the individual which he (the clinical psychologist) gains by employing various tools in the diagnostic process. Diagnosis done or understanding achieved, it is by treatment procedures. Thus, in the words of Boring, Langfeld and Weld, clinical psychology is the application of dynamic and abnormal psychology to the problems of human adjustment.
(ii) Industrial and Business Psychology:
In 1903, W.D. Scott published a book on the theory of advertising and that gave an impetus to the movement for applying psychology to business and industry. Munsterberg’s book “Psychology and Industrial Efficiency”, published in 1913 gave further impetus of this movement.
He raised three problems in his book:
(a) Selection of men who are best fitted for a particular work on the basis of mental abilities and interests.
(b) Discovering the environmental conditions conducive to the maximum amount of work by the worker.
(c) The improvement of public relations by the business man in order to promote sales.
The scope of industrial psychology has expanded greatly during these years. Psychologists have developed vocational aptitude tests, vocational selection tests and standards of industrial training of apprentices and other trainees. They have made research studies on the optimum interpersonal relationships industry, which have helped in increasing general efficiency and production and in decreasing frustrations in personal life of workers.
(iii) Psychology Applied to Crime:
It is an important field of psychology. Psychologists have studied crime and criminal behaviour, the various factors that cause crime- socio-economic, personality, biological and cultural. Psychology applied to crime has also made a great contribution in shaping the modern methods of treating a criminal.
It has laid emphasis on the reformation and retraining of the criminal and suggested suitable programmes of rehabilitation. The greatest contribution of psychology as applied to crime is the plea for changing our attitude to the juvenile delinquent. It has strengthened the movement for establishing juvenile courts, reception homes, guidance clinics training or certified schools.
(iv) Military Psychology:
Military psychology has developed greatly after the first world war.
Some of the important subjects that fall within the scope of military psychology are:
(a) Psychological tests for selection of army personnel.
(b) The problem of morale in the fighting forces and among the civil population.
(c) Problems of evacuation of children from the war affected areas, their placement and their psychological rehabilitation.
(d) The problem of war rumours and propaganda.
(e) Psychological measures to mobilise the entire strength of the country.
(f) Problems of vocational readjustment of service men after the war.
(g) Psychological and vocational rehabilitation of army personnel who have been physically handicapped during war.
(h) How to minimise the possibilities of an outbreak of war and a study of group tensions and racial prejudices that cause war.