Psychology Majors Keep It Personal

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Jennifer Brown
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Have you ever been interested in why people do what they do? Have you wondered what processes and pathways the brain uses to help you stay focused? These answers may be found in the field of psychology. Psychology is such a diverse field of science that may be right for you! Unlike hard sciences, psychology is like sociology in that it focuses on people, but instead of the global or societal level, it takes it to a personal one.

People and their behavior are what I find intriguing, and therefore I first decided to study psychology. Little did I know, there is so much more to psychology than the cognition or development. There are many subfields just waiting to be explored.

I took a course on positive psychology this semester. Upon taking the class, I learned that positive psychology is not just “how to be happy.” It is about broadening the traditional methods of psychology that focus on the negative views of mental illness and human behavior, to include the positive and beneficial view that helps our well-being. Positive psychology is all about how to find out the positive traits and strengths we as humans have, analyzing theories regarding what positive behaviors and cognitions are related to higher life satisfaction, and so much more.

Experimental psychology, another subfield of psychology, focuses on research with experimental methods. One of my classes I am taking is a research methods class and I have learned how experimental methods of research differ from non-experimental methods. For instance, a survey you take online that may be part of a research study isn’t a real experimental study. It is a study, but the questionnaires themselves are not part of experimental research. What is the difference? Well, experimental studies manipulate the independent variable, while non-experimental studies don’t.

Are you interested in health? The field of health psychology is another fascinating field. Like positive psychology, health psychology also focuses on character strengths, but it is more in relation to our health behaviors, physical, emotional, and psychological health. Health psychologists try to figure out treatments for patients in a variety of settings and focus on their whole well being, a concept known as the biopsychosocial perspective. That is, they consider the impact of biology, psychology, and the social influences in a person’s life and their impact on one’s quality of life and health.

A popular area of interest in psychology is counseling. Counseling psychology is very like clinical psychology in that it aims to treat clients using therapeutic methods. The differences between these two fields are minimal, but essentially, counseling psychologists focus on the lesser mental health concerns, such as relationships concerns or mild forms of disorders, while clinical psychologists focus on more serious disorders, such as schizophrenia, and major depression.

One of the fields I am interested in is neuropsychology. This is the study of the brain and how certain behavior is modified by certain pathways and connections within the nervous system.

Whatever field you are interested in, know that psychology is focused on the individual and how findings relate to people versus a society. Psychology is a very interesting major which leads to a very interesting work environment for your career! I hope I was able to shine a light on the various forms of psychology classes that you can explore with a major in Psychology!


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