Psychology Meaning, Definition and History

What is Psychology?

Psychology is derived from two Greek word’s “Psyche and Logo” Psyche means “spirit or soul or human mind” and logo means “to study” Psychology has originated out of a separate discipline, earlier it was viewed as a part of philosophy which studies the mind and the mental process of humans and animals.

Psychology is a science that is in charge of investigating the mind of the human being andconsequentlyhis behaviorobjectively separating his mental state and his behaviorso that it can be explained in detail how the functioning of that cognitive area of the human being isbrainfind the origin of mental phenomena that can occur in humans genetically or for reasons beyond their control and develop a series of elements or laws that can regulate themIn addition to thispsychology needs other sciences in order to understand the human mentality.

As late as sixteenth century psychology was known as “the science of soul.” The definition was later rejected as soul was considered a very ambiguous word and it was not possible to study the soul. The new definition which we offered was that “Psychology is the science of mind.” But difficulty regarding the meaning of mind still persisted. A very prominent question was raised. “How can we study mind?” Since no satisfactory answer was forthcoming psychology began to be defined by some thinkers as “science of consciousness”. Fringe of consciousness. This definition took into consideration only one level of consciousness. In the modern times a number of psychologists have offered psychology. Some of them are given below:



Definition of Psychology

    • “Psychology discuss itself with the technological study of human behavior”. –Munn
    • “Psychology is the study of human behavior and human relationships.” –Crow and Crow
    • “Psychology can be defined as the science of the activities of the individual in relation to environment.” This definition is considered best.  –Woodworth

    Latest Definitions
    “Psychology is the scientific study of mental processes and behavior.” –Bootzin and Bower (1991)
    “Psychology is the Scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of humans and other animals”.  -Crooks and Stein (1991)


  • In (384-322 b.c.) Aristotal ; about the relationship of the soul to the body
  • In (427-347 b.c) Plato felt that soul could exist separately from the body, a view that has become known as dualism. Rene’ Descartes in 17th century agreed with Plato. Philosophers tried to understand or explain the human mind and its connection to the physical body
  • In 1879- Wilhelm Wundt also known as father of modern psychology. His motives to solve philosophical problems through scientific experiments and to study our conscious experiment- called Structuralism.
  • The idea about natural selection, in which physical traits that help an individual adapt to its environment and survive are passed on to its offspring. Charls Darwin’s
  • Jorge Sanchez conducted ‘research in the area of intelligence testing, focusing on cultural biases in such tests
  • Psychological events such as perceiving and sensing could not be taken down into any smaller elements and still be properly understood. ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’. The Gestalt psychologist believed that people naturally seek out of patterns in the sensory information available to them. –Wertheimer
  • There is an unconscious mind into which we push, or repress, all of our threatening urges and desires, He believed that these repressed urges causes nervous disorder in his patients, (1990) –Sigman Freud’s
  • In (1924)
  • John B, Walson He challenged functionalist viewpoint ant psychoanalysis with his own “science of behavior”. Or behaviorism He felt that the only way to do that was to ignore the whole “consciousness” issue and focus only on observable behavior- something that has to be directly seen and measured, his idea was based on Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlav (dog experiment).
John Dewey
John Dewey
E.B Titchener
E.B Titchener
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud


Goals of Psychology


1. Measurement and description.

Before we can understand or manipulate a phenomenon, we first should be able to describe and measure it. To develop tests and techniques for measuring IQ, learning, attitude, aptitudes etc. is the primary goal of psychology.
Each measuring techniques must have :
(i) Reliability–A Person’s score should not change with repeated testing.
(ii) Validity–A test must measure what it is supposed to measure. The questions of reliability and validity of measurement and description apply to all techniques developed by Psychologists for the assessment of behavior.

2. Prediction and Control

. It depends on measurement. Prediction goes hand in hand with behavior modification and control. Psychologists try to change or modify the behavior of mentally sick in a way that would help the person. A biologist, for example, after first acquiring an understanding of how the AIDS virus invades a healthy body, might then seek to predict conditions under which infection is likely to occur, followed by efforts to control or influence the infection process in a manner that minimizes transmission of the virus.

3. Understanding and Explanation.

Final goal is to isolate the reasons for what is observed. Understanding of various behavioral phenomena is expressed in the language of theories. Theories are tentative attempts to organize and fit into a logical framework all of the relevant data or facts scientists have observed regarding certain phenomenon. For example, psychologists who study sleep and dreaming often formulate theories why we need sleep or why we dream. Good psychological theories generate predictions which are assumptions about how people should respond under certain conditions assuming the overall theory is correct. Thus psychologists seek to understand the most complex part of the world human behavior. explanations for psychological phenomenon has far Achieving adequate reaching implications.


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