Concept of Psychology - BBA BBS TU Notes

 Concept of Psychology 

"The  greatest  discovery  of  my  generation  is  that  human  beings  can  alter  their  lives  by  altering their attitudes of mind."  - William James

This   famous   quote   is   directly   related   to   human   behavior   in   general   and   psychology  in  specific.  If  you  ask  common  people  to  give  the  meaning  of  psychology,  they  may  explain  it  as  the  matter  of  mental  disorder  or  mental  problem  or  unconscious  state  of  the  mind  or  something  like  that.  If  you  go  further to get the meaning, they may explain it is as the study of rat, cat or dog or  they  further  may  explain  it  as  the  capacity  of  reading  other’s  mind  and  so  forth. In this specific topic, concept of psychology, we try to understand the real meaning of psychology.

Bikram Adhikari - tu notes

Meaning of Psychology

The  word  psychology  is  derived  from  the  root  words  –  “psyche”  and  “logos”.  The  meaning  of  “psyche” is mind and “logos” means knowledge or  study.  Therefore,  psychology  is  the  study  of  mind. Actually, it is the scientific study of behavior and  mental  process.  Therefore,  to  understand  the  clear  meaning  of  psychology,  it  is  necessary  to  understand   the   meaning   of   scientific   study,   behavior and mental process.  

Scientific Study 

It is based on empirical or measurable evidence that is subject to the principles of logic  and  reasoning.  Psychologists  use  the  scientific  method  to  conduct  their  research.  The  scientific  method  is  a  standardized  way  of  making  observations,  gathering  data,  forming  theories,  testing  predictions,  and  interpreting  results.  Researchers observe in order to describe and measure behavior. Human behavior is  the  responses  of  individuals  or  groups  of  humans  to  internal  and  external  stimuli.  The  stimuli  is  the  plural  form  of  stimulus  which  a  thing  or  event  that  evoke a specific functional reaction in an organ or tissue of the living being.


It refers  to  the  collection  of  every  physical  action  and  observable  emotion  associated   with   individuals,   as   well   as   the   human   race.   Human   behavior   includes all the motor activities (like walking, swimming, dancing etc), cognitive activities  (like  thinking,  reasoning,  imagining,  etc)  and  affective  activities  (like  feeling,  happy,  sad,  angry  etc).  It  includes  not  only  the  conscious behavior  and  activities  of  the  human  mind  but  also  the  sub-  conscious  and  unconscious.  Likewise, it covers overt and covert behavior involving all the inner experiences and mental process. 

Overt  behavior  is  any  bodily  action  that  persons  can  directly  observe.  Some  examples  of  overt  behavior  include  walking,  dancing,  running,  using  body  language  such  as  hand  gestures  and  facial  expressions.  Covert  behavior  is  any  mental,  social  or  physical  action  or  practice  that  is  not  immediately  observable.  Covert  behaviors  are  unobservable  actions,  which  can  only  be  deduced  by  one.  A huge majority of psychologists reason that behaviors are only endless actions and  behaviors,  which  are  observable.  However,  behavior  is  psychophysical  in  origin, and both internal and external world play equal role in occurrence of the behavior. Anything that brings alteration in the environment can be categorized as  behavior,  which  means  even  when  the  actions  are  unobservable,  they  are  behaviors.  Examples  of  these  covert  behaviors  are:  perceiving,  remembering,  reasoning,  thinking,  creating  and  dreaming  among  many  more.  In  business  community, a person can demonstrate various forms of behavior like leadership skills,  unafraid  to  take  risks,  competitive  spirit,  ability  to  take  the  initiative,  communication  skills,  personal  and  professional  integrity,  likeability  and  so  forth.  In  conclusion,  the  term  behavior  refers  to  the  entire  life  activities  and  experiences of the entire living organism.

The  behavior  of  an  organism  is  influenced  by  organism’s  physical  state,  mental  state,   and   external   environment.   Physical   state   relates   primarily   to   the   organism’s  biology  -  most  especially  the  state  of  the  brain  and  central  nervous  system.  Mental  state  is  a  mental  condition  likebeliefs  and  desires,  knowledge  and  thoughts,  mental  images,  emotions  and  moods,  sensations  and  so  forth,  which  influence  human  behavior.  The  influential  factor  for  human  behavior  is  the  external  environment.  The  geographical  climate,  conducive  environment  of  the residential and work place, social and economic status of the family, values, dietary  habits,  physical  health  and  so  forth  may  influence  the  behavior  of  the  human.  All  organisms  function  in  an  environment  that  is  constantly  presenting  them with problems and challenges that must be solved

Mental Process or Mental Function 

These terms often used interchangeably for all the things that individuals can do with   their   minds.   These   include   perception,   memory,   thinking   (such   as   generating idea, imagination, and reasoning), decision making, problem solving, attention,  emotion  and  so  forth.  Sometimes  the  term  cognitive  function  is  used  instead  of  mental  process.  The  psychology  studies  about  these  activities  of  the  organism in general and human behavior in specific.

In 1890, William James defined psychology as "the science of mental life, both of its phenomena and their conditions". This definition enjoyed widespread currency for decades.  However,  this  meaning  was  contested,  notably  by  radical  behaviorists  such  as  John  B.  Watson,  who  in  his  1913  manifesto  defined  the  discipline  of  psychology  as  the  gaining  of  information  useful  to  the  control  of  behavior.  In  addition,  since  James  defined  it,  the  term  more  strongly  indicates  techniques  of  scientific  experimentation.  Hence,  psychology  is  the  study  of  the  mind  and  behavior. Psychologists follow scientific methods to study psychology.

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