PSYCHOLOGY – Psychology is the scientific study of human and animal behavior with the object of understanding why living beings behave as they do. As almost any science, its discoveries have practical applications. As it is a rather new science, applications are sometimes confused with the science itself.
Physiological psychology is a field akin to neurophysiology that studies the relation between behavior and body systems like the nervous system and the endocrine system. It studies which brain regions are involved in psychic functions like memory, and activities like learning. It also studies the complex interaction between brain and hormones that gives rise to emotions.
Animal behavior is studied by psychologists mainly in laboratory. The study of animal behavior in their natural habitats is undertaken by the science of ethology. The comparative study of human and animal behavior is one of the sources of evolutionary psychology, that tries to understand how evolution has shaped the way we think and feel.
The area of cognitive psychology concerns with the ways we perceive and we express, how we store our perceptions and later recall them, and the way we think. Perception, memory, speech, and thinking are the main subjects of this branch. The study of decision making is a topic that has a great practical importance.
The study of emotion and the study of personality are two related fields that delve into the profound question of why we are different and why we feel how we feel. While some scientists propose genetic traits as the reason, others look to the social environment as the cause of our differences. As in nature or nurture.
Gestalt – Psychology
Wolfgang Kohler. Max Wertheimer and Kurt Koffka co-founded the school of Gestalt psychology. This approach is based upon the idea that individuals experience things as unified wholes. This approach to psychology began in Germany and Austria during the late 19th century in response to the molecular approach of structuralism. Rather than breaking down thoughts and behavior to their smallest element, the Gestalt position maintains that the whole of experience is important, and the whole is different than the sum of its parts.
Gestalt psychology should not be confused with the Gestalt therapy of Fritz Perls, which is only peripherally linked to Gestalt psychology.