goals of psychology

The 5 Major Goals of Scientific Psychology (Explained)

The Major Goals of Psychology

The science of psychology is complete only with the study of behavior, mental processes, and organism’s behavior toward their environment. People’s behavior is studied through scientific methods. Psychology, as science has basically the following main aims or goals: understand, predict, describe, influence, and control behavior, and improve the quality of life.

Let’s talk about these goals,

Understand

The first one of the important goals of scientific psychology is the establishment of facts and principles through which behavior can be better understood. Different scientific methods enable us to evaluate and explain the facts and relationships of behavior and mental processes.

For example, jealousy is often considered a reflection of basic insecurity growing out of distrust of one’s capabilities. It is futile to label unpleasant behavior as “jealous” and think we have explained it.

The person whom one is jealous of is considered to be superior to one in better looking, more intelligent, socially more presentable, etc. If we are to deal adequately with jealous behavior, we must seek the underlying causes. An understanding of the principles of psychology is valuable in dealing with social and natural problems.

Predict

Understanding leads naturally to better prediction and control of behavior. Prediction of mental activity of the individual’s actions can be made through psychology because behaviors are the outcome of a great many conditions or factors.

Just as the astronomer predicts the time of eclipse, and chemist predicts the mixture of two compounds, psychologists can predict the actions, if knows all the laws affecting an individual at that moment. Psychologists have sometimes attempted to arrange behavior into levels of predictability, ranging from simple to complex behavior which is affected by many factors and is often difficult to predict.

A successful prediction is based on a thorough knowledge of the stimuli which provoke the behavior. For example, predicting how anxiety a group of employees will experience from knowing how much stress they are under on a job.

Describe

The third goals of psychology are to describe the information. The information gathered through scientific research methods enables us to accurately and completely describe psychological facts and relationships when adequate descriptive information has been acquired. Through this, reasonably accurate predictions can be made and explanations are proposed to help understand these facts and relationships.

For example, information gathered in a survey on the frequency of smoking cigarettes with high nicotine among college students would tell us they are at a high risk of lung diseases such as bronchitis.

Influence and Control

Finally, when enough understanding and ability to predict has been acquired, we can sometimes intentionally influence people in ways that improve and enrich their lives. This practical aim has been specialized by different applied branches of psychology. It has helped not only the individual but also the institutions and associations to secure better adjustments to the situation. It has helped man’s approaches toward life and the world.

For example, clinical psychologists work in mental hospitals, clinics, social service agencies. Educational and vocational psychologists deal with personal and social adjustment problems, business psychologists apply to interview, screening, selecting personnel, incentive plans, and training programs. All these approaches are influencing and controlling the behaviors of others. Today, many psychologists have helped people understand behavior and mental processes through psychological knowledge and principles.

Subjective Well Being (SWB) of Life

The ultimate aim of psychology is to relieve humans from stress, frustration, conflicts, and anxiety of various kinds so that they can adjust well to their environment. This applied aspect of psychology tries to solve human problems by developing positive interrelationships with each other. Developing a positive relationship, in turn, enhances optimism, feeling of self-worth, confidence, willpower, and finally satisfaction in every aspect of life contributing to one’s own well-being and to the well-being of the people around.

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