Portal:Psychology
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Portal:Psychology

Welcome to the psychology portal

Human brain, lateral view, with brainstem
Psi , Greek letter commonly associated with psychology.

Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of conscious and unconscious phenomena, as well as feelings and thought. It is an academic discipline of immense scope, crossing the boundaries between the natural and social sciences. Psychologists seek an understanding of the emergent properties of brains, linking the discipline to neuroscience. As a social science, psychologists aim to understand the behavior of individuals and groups.

A professional practitioner or researcher involved in the discipline is called a psychologist. Some psychologists can also be classified as social, behavioral, or cognitive scientists. Some psychologists attempt to understand the role of mental functions in individual and social behavior. Others explore the physiological and biological processes that underlie cognitive functions and behaviors.

Psychologists explore behavior and mental processes, including perception, cognition, attention, emotion, intelligence, subjective experiences, motivation, brain functioning, and personality. Psychologists' interests extend to interpersonal relationships, psychological resilience, family resilience, and other areas within social psychology. Psychologists also consider the unconscious mind. Research psychologists employ empirical methods to infer causal and correlational relationships between psychosocial variables. Some, but not all, clinical and counseling psychologists rely on symbolic interpretation.

While psychological knowledge is often applied to the assessment and treatment of mental health problems, it is also directed towards understanding and solving problems in several spheres of human activity. By many accounts, psychology ultimately aims to benefit society. Many psychologists are involved in some kind of therapeutic role, practicing in clinical, counseling, or school settings. Other psychologists conduct scientific research on a wide range of topics related to mental processes and behavior. Typically the latter group of psychologists work in academic settings (e.g., universities, medical schools, hospitals). Another group of psychologists is employed in industrial and organizational settings. Yet others are involved in work on human development, aging, sports, health, forensics, and the media. (Full article...)

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Reading is an important means through which children develop their vocabulary.

Vocabulary development is a process by which people acquire words. Babbling shifts towards meaningful speech as infants grow and produce their first words around the age of one year. In early word learning, infants build their vocabulary slowly. By the age of 18 months, infants can typically produce about 50 words and begin to make word combinations.

In order to build their vocabularies, infants must learn about the meanings that words carry. The mapping problem asks how infants correctly learn to attach words to referents. Constraints theories, domain-general views, social-pragmatic accounts, and an emergentist coalition model have been proposed to account for the mapping problem. (Full article...)

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Melencolia I, a 1514 woodcut by Albrecht Dürer, an allegory of melancholia
image credit: public domain

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  • "Knowing reality means constructing systems of transformations that correspond, more or less adequately, to reality." -- Jean Piaget

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Photograph of Rivers taken by Henry Maull

William Halse Rivers Rivers FRS FRAI ((1864-03-12)12 March 1864 - (1922-06-04)4 June 1922) was an English anthropologist, neurologist, ethnologist and psychiatrist, best known for his work treating First World War officers who were suffering from shell shock in order to return them to combat. Rivers' most famous patient was the poet Siegfried Sassoon, with whom he remained close friends until his own sudden death.

During the early years of the 20th century, Rivers developed many new lines of psychological research. In addition, he was the first to use a type of double-blind procedure in investigating physical and psychological effects of consumption of tea, coffee, alcohol, and drugs. For a time he directed centres for psychological studies at two colleges, and he was made a Fellow of St John's College, Cambridge. He is also notable for having participated in the Torres Strait Islands expedition of 1898 and his consequent seminal work on the subject of kinship. (Full article...)

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