Assignment: The Diverse Nature Of Psychology


The Diverse Nature of Psychology

Donna Lewis

University of Phoenix

The Diverse Nature of Psychology

Psychology is a type of science concerned with human and nonhuman behavior, cognition, emotion, and motivation (Spector, 2008). As a discipline, psychology includes obvious traces of different sciences while upholding an involvement of origin in scientific knowledge regarding human and nonhuman behavior. In this paper, the influence of diversity on psychology’s major concepts will be evaluated and two sub-disciplines will be identified along with two examples of subtopics. In addition, this paper will evaluate the way in which the identified sub-disciplines and subtopics can be applied to other disciplines as well as venues in contemporary society, the way in which the chosen sub-disciplines and subtopics relate to the author’s theoretical perspective, and the author’s psychological contribution to society regarding the areas of work, education, health, and leisure.

The Diverse Nature of Psychology as a Discipline

Compared to other sciences psychology is fairly new, approximately 125 years old consequently tying the history of psychology with modern psychology (Ciccarelli & White, 2009). Psychology as a discipline has two distinct features that differ from other disciplines. First, psychology uses scientific tools to evaluate and study human and nonhuman behavior. Second, psychology uses scientifically based applications based on conducted studies. Moreover, the central defining characteristic of psychology consists of possessing a data-based scientific study on behavior. The diverse nature of psychology is clear and present in the 54 divisions, each concentrating on a different perspective and aspect of human interaction, of the American Psychological Association (APA), a diversity not seen in other sciences (Plante, 2011; Shiraev & Levy, 2010; Stanovich, 2010). The diversity within psychology influences major concepts as well as contributes to different perspectives of behavior.

The Influence of Diversity on Psychology’s Major Concepts

Diversity uses an active impact on the major concepts of psychology. Much like in the past, today there is not a perspective that explains all aspects of human behavior or mental processes. Today, there are seven perspectives that include psychodynamic, behavioral, humanistic, cognitive, sociocultural, biopsychological, and evolutionary. Each perspective symbolizes a diverse assessment of human behavior as well as a unique explanation regarding psychological problems. Furthermore, each of the major concepts in psychology underlines various aspects of behavior. The major psychological concepts combined with the various perspectives define and explain behavior based on the theories involved in each perspective. Diversity in psychology lets psychologists obtain a broad range of speculation because behavior cannot be justifiably limited to one explanation. Furthermore, diversity allows the major concepts in psychology to be available to different cultural backgrounds.

Sub disciplines Clinical Psychology

Clinical psychology is a multifaceted field that corresponds to the difficulties of human behavior and emotion. Clinical psychology is a unique function of psychology in the area of behavioral and emotional issues (Plante, 2011). Clinical psychology can be defined as the incorporation of science, theory, and practice as a way to comprehend, calculate, and improve maladjustment, disability, and uneasiness along with to encourage human adaptation and personal development (Belar, 2008). Clinical psychology attempts to comprehend the associations between biological, psychological, and social factors that make individuals function. Moreover, clinical psychology concentrates on assessing, treating, and comprehending psychological as well as behavioral issues and disorders in addition to the interaction among the human psyche and the physical, emotional, and social characteristics of health and dysfunction (Plante, 2011).

Psychopathology and abnormal behavior

Psychopathology involves characterizing, occurrence, and treatment of disorders (Kring, Davison, Neale, & Johnson, 2007). Individuals who study psychopathology seek answers for the reasons behind why individuals behave, think, or feel in ways considered abnormal. To define abnormal behavior, one must consider the three critical reasons in which the context the behavior occurs in. First, to identify whether or not behave is abnormal one must comprehend the context surrounding the behavior (Hansell & Damour, 2008). Second, identifying the context assists in comprehending and explaining the behavior (Hansell & Damour, 2008). Finally, the demographic context in which the behavior occurs influences the behavior (Hansell & Damour, 2008).

Industrial-Organizational Psychology

Industrial-organizational (I/O) psychology involves two combined subfields of psychology. The industrial psychology part is the original, older part that consists of a management perspective on organizational efficiency by means of human resources (Spector, 2008). The industrial side of I/O involves job design, employee selection, and training as well as performance appraisal. The organizational side concentrates on the employees as individuals such as understanding employee behavior as well as the well-being of the employees (Spector, 2008). I/O psychology is an evidence-based field and relates to the growth and use of scientific principles within workplaces. I/O psychologists conduct job analysis, employee surveys, design performance appraisals, design systems for selecting employees, and design training programs (Spector, 2008).

Workplace diversity and employee motivation

Workforce diversity involves the existence of human characteristics that combine differentiate each individual. Work diversity consists of differences in demographics of individuals of a workforce, for example, gender, race, ethnicity, and age (Schermerhorn, Hunt, & Osborn, 2004; Schermerhorn, Hunt, & Osborn, 2008). When a workforce becomes more diverse, providing ways in which the diversity is managed becomes more important because there is an increased probability of stereotyping and discrimination. Employee motivation refers to the ways in which an employee’s individual’s intensity, direction, and persistence are used as a way to achieve a goal (Robbins & Judge, 2009).

Disciplines of Psychology and Contemporary Society

The theories involved in psychology can be applied to different disciplines. Psychology is a discipline that can be applied in other areas because psychology interconnects the areas of science, behavior, and mental processes as well as in other areas. Clinical psychology uses evidence-based approaches as a way to comprehend and explain issues associated with human behavior. Clinical psychology involves the intellectual, emotional, biological, psychological, social, and behavioral areas of human functioning throughout an individual’s life span resulting in frequent interactions with other health care professionals to diagnose and treat disorders (Morgan & Cohen, 2008; Belar, 2008).

I/O psychology is a field that uses the same concepts, ideas, techniques, and theories used in other disciplines (Spector, 2008). For example, the historical basis of I/O derives from experimental psychology. I/O also is influenced by other disciplines such as industrial engineering, management, social psychology, philosophy, business ethics, anthropology, and sociology (Spector, 2008; van Vuuren, 2010).


Theoretical Perspective

In the process of learning the different theoretical perspectives in psychology, the author does not identify with one particular perspective because the author does not believe that one particular perspective explains human behavior. The psychodynamic perspective argues intrapsychic drives, motives, conflicts, and impulses influence human behavior; ego defense mechanisms are used as a way to deal with unresolved conflicts, needs, wishes, or fantasies contributing in behavior; early experiences are critical in psychological development and behavior; acknowledging and working through unconscious influences assist in improving psychological functioning and behavior; and transferential relationship assists in solving conflicts, improving psychological functioning, and behavior (Plante, 2011).

The cognitive-behavioral perspective involves overt and covert behaviors obtained through learning and conditioning within social environment. The cognitive-behavioral perspective includes operant conditioning, classical conditioning, social learning, and acknowledgement of theories to assist as well as treat disorders (Plante, 2011). I/O psychologists use cognitive-behavioral perspectives when dealing with workplace performance and employee motivation. The humanistic perspective focuses on individual perception and experience. I/O psychologists use the humanistic perspective when dealing with employee testing, workplace diversity, workplace performance, and employee motivation. When the clinical psychologist uses a humanistic approach, he or she helps patients by understanding the concerns, feelings, and the abnormal behavior through the patient (Plante, 2011). Finally, the family system perspective focuses on improved communication with families instead of just the patient experiencing the abnormal behavior.


Psychological Contribution to Society

At this point, the author has little psychological contributions to society. However, the author has used the knowledge she has gained throughout her education to identify specific psychological contributions from others. For instance, the author can identify that when filling out a job application or doing a job interview, she was involved in a process created by I/O psychologists. The author has also been able to use the processes a therapist or counselor uses when treating abnormal behavior to listen and communicate with friends and family.


Essentially, psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes. Psychology is divided into several subfields with each subfield focusing on a specific area of psychological functioning. Two subfields of psychology include clinical psychology and industrial/organizational psychology. Without diversity, psychologists would be limited in knowledge that is considered universal as well as limiting particular behavioral factors that influence human functioning.



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