Understanding the Importance of Psychology in Everyday Life

May 5, 2023 imentiv

“Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behavior”

Psychology is a vast field that deals with people's behavior, cognitive attitude, performance, and mental functioning. Understanding how the mind works can be helpful in everyday life by allowing individuals to build strong relationships and make the best decisions. Since psychology can be applied in all areas of life, people unconsciously or consciously apply psychology in their daily life, be it during conversations with friends, conflicts with partners, or disciplining children. Often, they aren't aware of the scientific basis behind their actions.

How can psychology benefit one's personal and professional life?

  • To build relationships: Psychology makes it easier to live with others by understanding them more and working with their emotion and behavior.
  • To improve communication: A greater understanding of how humans think and behave will help people communicate better. They will be more effective in understanding what a person means by gestures, emotions, and actions.
  • To build self-confidence: By understanding more about yourself and your personality, you can gain more self-confidence. You will learn more about your weaknesses and can build on them.
  • To enrich careers: You will be able to understand your coworkers more and stand a better chance of building friendships. It helps to deal with their actions to enrich your career.

Gaining insights into people's behavior can help us understand why individuals react the way they do in certain situations. Consequently, these insights can help us connect with others deeper and improve our relationships and interactions.

Let's explore the various fields of psychology to deepen our understanding of human behavior and its role in shaping our lives.

What are the 8 different areas of psychology?

  • Abnormal psychology: Abnormal psychology studies emotions, thoughts, and behaviors that may signal a mental health problem. If a behavior causes issues for someone or others, it can be considered "abnormal" and may need mental health treatment.
  • Cognitive psychology: Studies mental processes like problem-solving, memory, language, and learning, exploring how people think, perceive, communicate, remember, and learn. It has close connections with neuroscience, philosophy, and linguistics, and focuses on how information is acquired, processed, and stored.
  • Bio psychology: Explores the link between biology and behavior, with a focus on how the brain and neurotransmitters control and regulate behavior. It aims to understand how biological changes influence behavior.
  • Social psychology: Studies how social influences impact human behavior by using scientific methods to understand how feelings, behavior, and thoughts are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of other people.
  • Developmental psychology: Psychologists research and analyze how individuals grow and adapt both physically and psychologically from birth to death, with the aim of understanding and enabling individuals to achieve their maximum potential.
  • Clinical psychology: Applies scientific principles to diagnose, treat and prevent mental health issues that affect people's ability to function well. It also helps people adapt, adjust and develop personally.
  • Occupational/ organizational psychology: Psychologists assess and advise on work performance and training. They assist companies in enhancing their operations and understanding workplace behavior, leading to increased efficiency, job satisfaction, and employee retention.
  • Health psychology (also known as behavioral medicine or medical psychology): Examines how behavior, biology, and social context impact health and illness. Health psychologists take a holistic approach to patient care, considering factors such as socioeconomic status, education, and behaviors that can impact disease outcomes. They work in tandem with other medical professionals in clinical settings.

All the fields discussed above provide the foundation for Applied Psychology, which uses their principles and techniques to solve real-world problems and improve the lives of individuals and communities. By applying the knowledge gained from these areas of psychology, we can create solutions to complex issues in areas such as business, education, product design, and law, among others. In this way, Applied Psychology plays a critical role in shaping and improving the world around us.

Since the media has become a source of shared cultural experience that people use to understand the world around them, it is important to explore what we are getting from the media. Media psychology, a subfield of applied psychology, focuses on the impact of media and technology on human behavior, emotions, and cognition.

Media psychology analyzes how media and emotions are interrelated. Emotions have a significant impact on our reactions to the media, and they reveal what we feel. These reactions are learned through experience but can be altered. To modify them, we need to recognize our emotions. Media psychologists utilize changing emotions with emotions to enhance individuals' emotional responses to media content, leading to a more satisfying media experience.

How does psychology help us understand people?

Psychology helps us understand people by exploring their beliefs, attitudes, and experiences, as well as the social and cultural factors that shape them. This involves studying various psychological phenomena like social influence, decision-making, motivation, and emotion. By analyzing how individuals think and feel in everyday situations, we can gain valuable insights into the underlying mechanisms that drive human behavior.

Two classic examples of how understanding psychology can help us make sense of behavior

In the field of psychology, few stories are as famous as that of Phineas Gage (in 1848), a railroad construction worker who survived a traumatic brain injury that forever altered his personality and behavior. The incident led doctors and scientists to discover that specific parts of the brain control different aspects of our personality and that damage to these areas can have significant effects on behavior. Gage's story is a classic example of how understanding psychology can help us make sense of the changes we see in ourselves and others after traumatic events or injuries. His story is a prime example of how understanding psychology can help us comprehend the impact of brain injuries and trauma on behavior in everyday life.

Another one is the Kitty Genovese case, a well-known example of how bystanders can fail to intervene in an emergency, despite someone being in clear danger. In 1964, a young woman named Kitty Genovese was attacked and killed in New York City while dozens of witnesses reportedly did nothing to help her. This incident brought attention to the bystander effect, a psychological phenomenon where people are less likely to intervene in an emergency when other people are around. It is thought that in such situations, people may assume that someone else will help, or they may feel a diffusion of responsibility. The Kitty Genovese case serves as a reminder that understanding psychology is crucial in everyday life, as it can help us identify and address potential barriers to taking action in emergencies.

On the other hand, much research has shown that factors like social norms, group dynamics, cognitive heuristics, and emotional states can all influence our perceptions and judgments, revealing more about how psychology can help us understand people. Different people can get different meanings from the same message because perception is affected by belief systems, attitudes, and needs.

We can see many examples in our daily life that show how psychology affects us all the time.

  • Why does one child perform better in school than the other or how is it that some of us are friendly and relaxed while others are often tense or stressed out?
  • You may have heard of Coulrophobia, an irrational fear of clowns that can cause panic and nausea. The prevalence of evil clowns in popular culture plays a role, but there are also psychological reasons why we fear them.
  • According to Forbes, receiving a compliment has the same positive effect as receiving cash. When you reward yourself for a job well done, it can make your brain want more of that good feeling, which relates to your emotions and psychology.
  • Think of the ads that appeal to or convince you to buy something likely using a psychological-based advertising tactic.

Let’s take a look at some examples of common psychological effects in our daily life:

Halo Effect: It is a cognitive bias where our overall impression of a person or thing affects our judgment of them. For example, if we perceive someone to be attractive or successful, we may assume that they also possess other positive qualities such as intelligence or kindness, even if we have no evidence to support those assumptions.

Confirmation bias: If someone believes that all politicians are corrupt, they may only seek out information that confirms this belief, such as news stories about political scandals, while ignoring stories about honest politicians.

Priming effect: If someone is shown a picture of a wallet before being asked to name their favorite store, they may be more likely to choose a store that sells wallets, even if they weren't consciously aware of the influence of the picture.

Framing effect: If a product is described as "90% fat-free" instead of "10% fat," people may be more likely to buy it because the framing emphasizes the positive aspect of the product.

Anchoring effect: If a car salesperson starts negotiations by suggesting a price of $50,000, the buyer may be more likely to agree to a higher price than if negotiations had started at $30,000.

Availability heuristic: If someone hears about a shark attack on the news, they may overestimate the likelihood of it happening to them, even though the actual risk is shallow.

In short, psychology is a vast field that can help us understand ourselves and others better. We can create solutions to complex issues in various areas of life by applying the knowledge gained from psychology. Understanding psychology and emotions are essential in our everyday life, and it can help us improve our relationships, communication, and overall mental well-being.

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