- 1.1: Prelude to Psychology
- How does the human brain work? And what is the connection between the brain’s internal processes and people’s external behaviors? This textbook will introduce you to various ways that the field of psychology has explored these questions.
- 1.2: What Is Psychology?
- The word psychology was coined at a time when the concepts of soul and mind were not as clearly distinguished. The root ology denotes scientific study of, and psychology refers to the scientific study of the mind. Since science studies only observable phenomena and the mind is not directly observable, we expand this definition to the scientific study of mind and behavior.
- 1.3: History of Psychology
- Anyone interested in exploring issues related to the mind generally did so in a philosophical context prior to the 19th century. Two men, working in the 19th century, are generally credited as being the founders of psychology as a science and academic discipline that was distinct from philosophy. Their names were Wilhelm Wundt and William James. This section will provide an overview of the shifts in paradigms that have influenced psychology from Wundt and James through today.
- 1.4: Contemporary Psychology
- Contemporary psychology is a diverse field that is influenced by all of the historical perspectives described in the preceding section. Reflective of the discipline’s diversity is the diversity seen within the American Psychological Association (APA). The APA is a professional organization representing psychologists in the United States. The APA is the largest organization of psychologists in the world, and its mission is to advance and disseminate psychological knowledge.
- 1.5: Careers in Psychology
- Psychologists can work in many different places doing many different things. In general, anyone wishing to continue a career in psychology at a 4-year institution of higher education will have to earn a doctoral degree in psychology for some specialties and at least a master’s degree for others. In most areas of psychology, this means earning a PhD in a relevant area of psychology.
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