This article has been composed to analyse psychology in both a clerical and in-depth manner in a manner that will help its reader comprehensively understand what critical thinking, and psychology in general, entails. It is purposed to enlighten an individual on the component skills it takes for one to think critically as is dictated by psychology. Emphasis is laid on the manner in which psychologists make use of critical thinking at times when they engage in such professional activities that involve scientific thinking as generation of hypotheses, analysis of tricky situations in efforts of determining the cause, critical decision making, as well as during reading of critical writings and literature reviews. These fundamental thinking skills are covered in this article together with other valuable concepts of psychology.
To start with, we are first going to define the terms 'psychology' and 'critical thinking' in order to have a clear understanding of what these two terms really mean. The various categories of psychology and their usefulness in the society will then be discussed in order to shed light on their importance. Just like every coin has two sides, we will then look at the weaknesses of psychology that act as drawbacks to its efficiency. In conclusion, we will consider how important, or not, psychology is to our society so as to be embraced by all and sundry.
Psychology is defined as the study of the mind and behaviour of an individual that embraces all the aspects of both conscious as well as unconscious experiences and his or her thoughts. It is both an applied science and an academic discipline whose chief objective is to understand people, or groups of people, by coming up with principles that are general to them all and researching particular cases ("The Definition of Psychology:", 1938). A professional researcher or practitioner of psychology is referred to as a psychologist.
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Psychologists are categorised into cognitive, behavioural and social scientists. These professionals try to comprehend the roles played by mental functions in people and social behaviours. Additionally, they explore biological and physiological processes underlying cognitive behaviours and functions. In order for psychologists to effectively carry out their tasks, critical thinking comes in handy to help them get through situations and evaluate the answers they might be seeking. Let's have a look at what critical thinking is then.
Critical thinking, simply put, is a kind of disciplined thinking which is governed by intellectual standards that are very clear. This takes into account such activities like: identification and analysis of truth claims and arguments, determining and subsequently overcoming biases and prejudices, forming arguments and reasons that concur with what one believes, taking into consideration objections to one's beliefs as well as, making choices that are rational on the steps to take with basis on the beliefs (Geng, 2014). Critical thinking, therefore, is a kind of reflective and purposeful judgement. This can be deduced from the mental processes of evaluation, analysis and discernment that are involved. This is what psychologists utilise in studying the mind and behaviour of people.
Psychologists explore a wide range of concepts and fields. Some of them are: perception, attention, cognition, emotion, phenomenology, intelligence, personality, functioning of the brain, motivation as well as inter-personal relationships that include family resilience, psychological resilience and other similar areas. The unconscious mind has also been considered by some psychologists of various other orientations. They utilise empirical ways in inferring correlational and causal relationships between the psychosocial variables. Additionally, some, particularly the counselling and clinical psychologists, at other times depend on symbolic interpretations and inductive tactics. "Hub science" is a term that has been accorded to psychology due to the psychological findings which link to perspectives and research from the natural sciences, social sciences, philosophy, humanities and medicine (Morawski, 1986).
Psychology plays a key role in the society. This is because psychological knowledge is usually implemented in the evaluation and subsequent treatment of problems of mental health. This kind of knowledge is also fundamental in critically understanding as well as solving troubling issues in the various spheres of human activities. The ultimate aim of psychology is to be of value to the society, even by many other accounts.
Most psychologists are engaged in some form of therapeutic roles. They are, thus, most likely to be found in a school, counselling or clinical setting. They are involved in carrying out scientific researches on a variety of topics that are associated with behaviour and mental processes. They, therefore, typically work in departments of psychology in universities or conduct lectures in other almost similar academic settings such as hospitals and medical schools. Other psychologists are given jobs in organizational and industrial settings or in such areas as sports, human aging and development, media, health as well as in some fields of law like forensic investigations (Mick, 2016).
Despite the various many strengths of psychological approaches to solving problems, these methods also have their weaknesses. One weakness, for instance, is that a behavioural psychological approach over-emphasizes on the 'nurture' side of nurture/nature debates. This is because it proposes that all sorts of behaviours are learnt but biological and cognitive elements have been proven over time to have an effect on behavioural tendencies. A good example is assuming that individuals learn habits by making observations of others obtaining rewards for particular actions. This is downright questionable.
The cognitive approach, also, has a weakness of being too mechanical as it compares human beings to computers saying that they share similar processes. This is not true since human beings are more complicated than computers. For instance, their emotions have the likelihood of affecting their output. The biological approach of psychology does not also go without its share of limitations. One of its weaknesses is that it's nomothetic. This acts as a weakness because the approach develops theories on certain disorders and generalises them to be applying to each and every individual. It ignores the fact that individuals are different; they are unique (Kitzinger, 1991).
Psychology, despite its cons, ought to be embraced by everyone. This is because it goes a long way in helping people overcome their own challenges. By critically thinking about issues that they face in their everyday lives before taking any step whatsoever, they will be in positions of making informed and better judgements. This will aid them in not making hasty decisions that they might come to regret later on. Critical thinking is of immense value to an individual as it enables him or her to evaluate, analyze, restructure as well as explain his or her thinking, thereby decreasing the risks of action on false premises. Even with these skills of critical thinking, it should be noted, mistakes have a possibility of happening mainly as a result of the thinker's sociocentrism or egocentrism or failure to be having the relevant facts.
Taking into account the standards of critical thinking of precision, accuracy, relevance, consistency, logical correctness, completeness and fairness, we can say that this article does abide by these standards as all of them are evident in the article. Psychology as a subject has been clerically discussed and it leaves a reader with no gray areas as far as the subject matter is concerned.
- Geng, F. (2014). An Content Analysis of the Definition of Critical Thinking. Asian Social
- Science, 10(19). http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/ass.v10n19p124
- Kitzinger, C. (1991). Politicizing Psychology. Feminism & Psychology, 1(1), 49-54. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0959353591011005
- Mick, D. (2016). Buddhist Psychology: Selected Insights, Benefits, and Research Agenda for Consumer Psychology. Journal Of Consumer Psychology. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcps.2016.04.003
- Morawski, J. (1986). Psychologists for Society and Societies for Psychologists: SPSSI's Place Among Professional Organizations. Journal Of Social Issues, 42(1), 111-126. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-1550.1986.tb00208.x
- The Definition of Psychology:. (1938). Nature, 141(3579), 997-997. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/141997f0
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