Philosophy, Mind, and Cognitive Inquiry: Resources for Understanding Mental Processes

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Psychometrics, on the other hand, is mainly concerned with individual differences and population structure, mathematical psychology is concerned with modeling of mental and motor processes of the average individual. Psychometrics is more associated with educational , personality , and clinical psychology. Psychology of religion is the psychological study of religious experiences, beliefs, and activities. Psychologists in this field attempt to accurately describe the details, origins, and uses of religious beliefs and behaviors.

William James , the American psychologist and philosopher , is regarded as the founder of the field. His influence in the field endures, with his publication, The Varieties of Religious Experience , considered to be the classic work in the field. Social psychology is the study of the nature and causes of human social behavior, with an emphasis on how people think towards each other and how they relate to each other. It studies how individuals are influenced by their group membership and interactions, and other factors that affect social life, such as social status , role, and social class.

Social psychology investigates how we make sense of social situations. For example, this could involve the influence of others on an individual's behavior such as conformity or persuasion , the perception and understanding of social cues, or the formation of attitudes or stereotypes about other people. Social cognition is a common approach and involves a mostly cognitive and scientific approach to understanding social behavior.

Social cognition fuses elements of social and cognitive psychology in order to understand how people process, remember, or distort social information. The study of group dynamics reveals information about the nature and potential optimization of leadership , communication , and other phenomena that emerge at least at the microsocial level. Many social psychologists have become increasingly interested in implicit measures, mediational models, and the interaction of both person and social variables in accounting for behavior. Applied psychology encompasses both psychological research that is designed to help individuals overcome practical problems and the application of this research in applied settings.

Much of applied psychology research is utilized in other fields, such as business management, product design, ergonomics, nutrition , law and clinical medicine. Applied psychology includes the areas of clinical psychology, industrial and organizational psychology, human factors, psychology and law, health psychology, school psychology, community psychology and others. Clinical psychology includes the study and application of psychology for the purpose of understanding, preventing, and relieving psychologically-based distress or dysfunction and to promote subjective well-being and personal development.

Central to its practice are psychological assessment and psychotherapy, although clinical psychologists may also engage in research, teaching, consultation, forensic testimony, and program development, and administration. In many countries, clinical psychology is a regulated mental health profession. The work performed by clinical psychologists tends to be influenced by various therapeutic approaches, all of which involve a formal relationship between professional and client usually an individual, couple, family, or small group.

The various therapeutic approaches and practices are associated with different theoretical perspectives and employ different procedures intended to form a therapeutic alliance, explore the nature of psychological problems, and encourage new ways of thinking, feeling, or behaving. Four major theoretical perspectives are psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral, existential—humanistic , and systems or family therapy. There has been a growing movement to integrate the various therapeutic approaches, especially with an increased understanding of issues regarding culture , gender , spirituality, and sexual-orientation.

With the advent of more robust research findings regarding psychotherapy, there is evidence that most of the major therapies are about of equal effectiveness, with the key common element being a strong therapeutic alliance. Clinical psychologists do not usually prescribe medication, although there is a growing movement for psychologists to have limited prescribing privileges.

Counseling psychology is a specialty that facilitates personal and interpersonal functioning across the lifespan. The field encompasses research and applied work in several broad domains: counseling process and outcome; supervision and training; career development and counseling; and prevention and health. Some unifying themes among counseling psychologists include a focus on assets and strengths, person—environment interactions, educational and career development, brief interactions, and a focus on intact personalities rather than psychopathology.

Counseling psychologists are employed in a variety of settings, including universities, hospitals, schools, governmental organizations, businesses, private practice, and community mental health centers.


Educational psychology is the study of how human beings learn in educational settings, the effectiveness of educational interventions, the psychology of teaching, and the social psychology of schools as organizations. The work of child psychologists such as Lev Vygotsky , Jean Piaget and Jerome Bruner has been influential in creating teaching methods and educational practices. Educational psychology includes study of subjects such as theories of learning and motivation , span of life development, cognitive science, neurobiology, linguistics, psychosocial studies, and moral development.

Much of the research in this field is designed to address the desire of teachers to improve their skills, methods, and testing. The related area of school psychology combines principles from educational psychology and clinical psychology but focuses on the student rather than the teacher, with the goal of helping young people succeed academically, socially, and emotionally. School psychologists collaborate with educators, parents, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments for all students that strengthen connections between home and school.

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Practitioners in this field work to understand and treat students with learning disabilities; to foster the intellectual growth of gifted students ; to facilitate prosocial behaviors in adolescents; and otherwise to promote safe, supportive, and effective learning environments. School psychologists are trained in educational and behavioral assessment, intervention, prevention, and consultation, and many have extensive training in research. Forensic psychology is the intersection between psychology and the criminal justice system.

It covers a broad range of practices primarily involving courtroom testimony on given issues. Forensic psychologists are required to understand criminal law in the relevant jurisdictions in order to be able to interact appropriately with judges, attorneys, and other legal professionals.

An important aspect of forensic psychology is the ability to testify in court, reformulating psychological findings into the legal language of the courtroom, providing information to legal personnel in a way that can be understood.

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Forensic psychologists may be appointed by the court to conduct competency to stand trial evaluations, competency to be executed evaluations, sanity evaluations, involuntary commitment evaluations, provide sentencing recommendations, sex offender evaluation and treatment evaluations, and provide recommendations to the court through written reports and testimony. Industrial and organizational psychology I-O applies psychological concepts and methods to optimize human potential in the workplace.

Industrial organizational psychologists look at questions regarding things such as who to hire, how to define and measure successful job performance, how to prepare people to be more successful in their jobs, how to create and change jobs so that they are safer and make people happier, and how to structure the organization to allow people to achieve their potential.

Industrial Psychology focuses on improving, evaluating, and predicting job performance while Organizational Psychology focuses on how organizations impact and interact with individuals. I-O psychologists are employed by academic institutions, consulting firms, internal human resources in industries, and governmental institutions. Research in psychology is conducted in broad accord with the standards of the scientific method, encompassing both qualitative ethological and quantitative statistical modalities to generate and evaluate explanatory hypotheses with regard to psychological phenomena.

Where research ethics and the state of development in a given research domain permits, investigation may be pursued by experimental protocols. Psychology tends to be eclectic, drawing on scientific knowledge from other fields to help explain and understand psychological phenomena. Qualitative psychological research utilizes a broad spectrum of observational methods, including action research, ethnography , exploratory statistics, structured interviews , and participant observation, to enable the gathering of rich information unattainable by classical experimentation.

Research in humanistic psychology is more typically pursued by ethnographic, historical, and historiographic methods. The testing of different aspects of psychological function is a significant area of contemporary psychology. Psychometric and statistical methods predominate, including various well-known standardized tests as well as those created ad hoc as the situation or experiment requires.

Academic psychologists may focus purely on research and psychological theory, aiming to further psychological understanding in a particular area, while other psychologists may work in applied psychology to deploy such knowledge for immediate and practical benefit.

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However, these approaches are not mutually exclusive and most psychologists will be involved in both researching and applying psychology at some point during their career. When an area of interest requires specific training and specialist knowledge, especially in applied areas, psychological associations normally establish a governing body to manage training requirements. Additionally, areas of practical psychology, where psychologists offer treatment to others, may require that psychologists be licensed by government regulatory bodies.

Experiments are one of the primary research methodologies in many areas of psychology.

Experimental psychological research is conducted in a laboratory under controlled conditions. This method of research relies on the application of the scientific method to understand behavior. Experiments use several types of measurements, such as rate of response, reaction time, and various psychometric measurements.

Experiments are designed to test specific hypotheses deductive approach or evaluate functional relationships inductive approach. They are important for psychological research because they allow researchers to establish causal relationships between different aspects of behavior and the environment.

Ethical principles for research involving human subjects have been developed over the years. Also, a number of influential psychological studies, including Stanley Milgram 's obedience to authority studies, led to the establishment of further controls on human experimentation. Later, most countries and scientific journals adopted the Declaration of Helsinki, a set of ethical principles regarding human experimentation developed for the medical community by the World Medical Association WMA.

All of these measures encourage researchers to obtain informed consent from human participants in experimental studies. Given the ethical issues of experimenting with human subjects, animal studies using non-human primates , cats , dogs , rats and other rodents are often used in psychological experiments. In the s, Ivan Pavlov famously used dogs to demonstrate classical conditioning. Animal learning experiments are also important for investigating the biological bases of learning and memory.

Ideally, controlled experiments introduce only one independent variable at a time, in order to ascertain its unique effects upon dependent variables. These conditions are approximated best in laboratory settings. In contrast, human environments and genetic backgrounds vary so widely, and depend upon so many factors, that it is difficult to control important variables for human subjects. Of course, there are pitfalls in generalizing findings from animal studies to humans although animal models can be helpful in developing an understanding of many aspects human behavior.

In the same way that Jane Goodall studied the role of chimpanzee social and family life, psychologists conduct similar observational studies in human social, professional, and family lives. Sometimes the participants are aware they are being observed and other times it is covert, the participants do not know they are being observed. Ethical guidelines need to be taken into consideration when covert observation is being carried out.

Neuropsychology involves the study of both healthy individuals and those who have suffered either brain injury or mental illness. Cognitive neuropsychology and cognitive neuropsychiatry study neurological or mental impairment in an attempt to infer theories of normal mind and brain function. This typically involves looking for differences in patterns of remaining ability known as "functional disassociations" which can give clues as to whether abilities are comprised of smaller functions, or are controlled by a single cognitive mechanism.

In addition, experimental techniques are often used which also apply to studying the neuropsychology of healthy individuals. These include behavioral experiments, brain-scanning or functional neuroimaging - used to examine the activity of the brain during task performance, and techniques such as transcranial magnetic stimulation, which can safely alter the function of small brain areas to investigate their importance in mental operations. Computational modeling is a tool often used in mathematical psychology and cognitive psychology to simulate a particular behavior using a computer.

This method has several advantages. Since modern computers process extremely quickly, many simulations can be run in a short time, allowing for a great deal of statistical power. Modeling also allows psychologists to visualize hypotheses about the functional organization of mental events that could not be directly observed in a human.

A common criticism of psychology concerns its fuzziness as a science. Because some areas of psychology rely on "soft" research methods such as surveys and questionnaires, critics have claimed that psychology is not an objective science. Objectivity, validity, and rigor are key attributes in science, and some approaches to psychology have fallen short on these criteria. Many phenomena that psychologists are interested in, such as personality , thinking, and emotion, cannot be directly measured.

On the other hand, greater use of statistical controls and increasingly sophisticated research design, analysis, and statistical methods, as well as a decline at least within academic psychology departments in the use of less scientific methods, have lessened the impact of this criticism to some degree. There is also debate within psychology, for example between laboratory-oriented researchers and clinical practitioners.

A number of authors have argued that there is a serious gap between psychological theory and its application—in particular, the application of unsupported or unsound clinical practices. There has been a "marked upsurge in the prevalence of unsubstantiated and in some cases demonstrably ineffective or harmful techniques in clinical psychology, psychiatry, and social work over the past few decades. This debate about the nature of therapeutic effectiveness and the need for evidence-based psychotherapy has led to the formation of task forces to define, identify, and disseminate information about empirically supported psychological interventions.

Research in psychology has involved experiments that raise serious ethical questions. The following examples are quite extreme:. Current ethical standards of psychology would not permit such studies to be conducted today. Ethical guidelines also state that using non-human animals for scientific purposes is only acceptable when the harm physical or psychological done to animals is outweighed by the benefits of the research. University psychology departments have ethics committees dedicated to the rights and well-being of research subjects.

Researchers in psychology must gain approval of their research projects before conducting any experiment to protect the interests of human participants and laboratory animals. New World Encyclopedia writers and editors rewrote and completed the Wikipedia article in accordance with New World Encyclopedia standards. This article abides by terms of the Creative Commons CC-by-sa 3. Credit is due under the terms of this license that can reference both the New World Encyclopedia contributors and the selfless volunteer contributors of the Wikimedia Foundation.

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  6. Embeds 0 No embeds. No notes for slide. Philosophy, mind, and cognitive inquiry resources for understanding mental processes studies in cognitive systems 1. Cole Publisher : Springer This series will include monographs and collections of studies devoted to the investigation and exploration of knowledge, information, and data-processing systems of all kinds, no matter whether human. Its scope is intended to span the full range of interests from classical problems in the philosophy of mind and philosophical psychology through issues in cognitive psychology and sociobiology concerning the mental capabilities of other species to ideas related to artificial intelligence and computer science.

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    Philosophy, Mind, and Cognitive Inquiry: Resources for Understanding Mental Processes
    Philosophy, Mind, and Cognitive Inquiry: Resources for Understanding Mental Processes
    Philosophy, Mind, and Cognitive Inquiry: Resources for Understanding Mental Processes
    Philosophy, Mind, and Cognitive Inquiry: Resources for Understanding Mental Processes
    Philosophy, Mind, and Cognitive Inquiry: Resources for Understanding Mental Processes

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