People have always had to study each other's behavior closely, but it was only in the nineteenth century that psychology emerged as an academic and scientific discipline, and only in the twentieth century that it also became a major field of professional activity. References to the human mind and how it may operate and translate into overt behavior can be traced back to specimens of written history, poetry, and philosophical speculations dating centuries B.C.E. During the last one hundred years, psychological science has made tremendous strides, both in understanding behavior and mental processes and in applying this to practical problems, for example, in education and health, in industry and other work contexts, and in personal guidance and psychotherapy.
[...] Beyond the health sector and education, other applied sciences closely linked with psychology include business in these fields psychological knowledge is sought and applied to develop more effective problem solving strategies. Finally, psychology has traditional links with philosophy and epistemology (the descriptive and normative analysis of scientific knowledge acquisition) and is a contributing field of science to such multi-disciplinary sciences as neuroscience and cognitive science. Neuroscience covers the scientific study of the structure and functioning of the nervous system, including so called behavioral neuroscience that specializes in the study of behavior and experience in a neurobiological context. [...]
[...] Psychological Methodology The methods of psychological science enable psychologists to gain knowledge about human behavior and conscious experience by systematic observation and experiment and to investigate, on the basis of such data, variations, dependencies, causes, correlates, and consequences of human behavior. In this way empirical generalizations become feasible and descriptive laws of behavior can be deduced and tested. One important distinction in psychological methodology relates to the objectivity versus subjectivity of a method, that is, the degree to which its application and results prove independent of the persons applying the method, their explicit or implicit expectations, beliefs, or values. [...]
[...] Thus in the study of human learning or of language behavior, perspectives of structure and of content must become integrated, and the methodology of psychological science has to develop so as to provide for this approach from both a biological and a social perspective. Human Behavior as a shared object of study There are several other sciences that also have human behavior or aspects of it as their object of study. They can be clustered into three groups, depending on whether they follow a biological-medical, a social, or a predominately applied approach. [...]
[...] Furthermore, comparative psychological research allows us to apply the methods of scientific inquiry to the study of folk psychology itself, yielding new insights into how people think people will behave, how they conceptualize human nature and behavior and its causes, including their own behavior. As psychology began to develop as a scientific discipline and advance beyond folk concepts, it also led to unexpected discoveries and insights into human behavior, its evolution, its development, and its causes. A pertinent example is the discovery that a memory trace, once established, tends to persist in long-term memory. [...]
[...] In psychological assessment, testing, and counseling or therapy, psychologists are committed to assure strict confidentiality of results as related to concrete individuals. Typically, regulations differentiate between species (for example, vertebrates versus non-vertebrates, with especially strict regulations for work with non-human primates) and include rules for animal care (housing, feeding, etc.). Today in many countries funding agencies, universities and other institutions for psychological research have set up ethics committees to guide researchers and agencies in the preparation of research proposals and in granting decisions. [...]
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