General Psychology for Postgraduate Students

Based on the CCH Syllabus
Hour-wise distribution of Topics(20 Hours)

1. Introduction
2. History of the development of psychology
3. Branches of Psychology
4. Schools of Psychology
5. Concept of Mind – Mesmer
6. Concept of Mind – Hypnosis
7. Sigmund Freud
8. Contemporary Schools of Psychology
9. Attention
10. Perception
11. Learning
12. Intelligence
13. Memory
14. Causes of Forgetting
15. Cognition, Ideation. Imagination
16. Emotion, Instinct & Sentiment
17. Conation” Drives & Motives
18. Behavior
19. Methods of studying Behavior
20. Relation between Body & Mind in Health & Disease

Psychology originated in man’s curiosity about the nature of his activities and experience. The great thinkers believed in an invisible something in man as the cause of behavior and experience. This was name ‘psyche’, which means soul or mind. lit was in the year 1590 that Croukle used the term psychology, derived from two Greek words ‘psyche’ and “logos”. Logos means a talk. Thus psychology means talk about the soul. But in modem rimes psychology is defined in a different way.

Psychology is as old as civilization. Historically psychology is the outgrowth of philosophy. It was the philosophers who turned their attention to the nature of human mind. Till the beginning of 19th century, Psychology had developed as a branch of philosophy; but in an attempt to be more scientific psychology has now become an independent science. The formal launching of psychology as a separate science occurred when Wilhelm Woundt, the famous psychologist, opened the first psychological institute at the  university of Leipzig in Germany.

Definition of  Psychology
In ancient times psychology was defined as the science of soul, i.e. the nature and character of soul. Different answers were given, and all of them were vague, since it was difficult to say where the soul exists, or what exactly it is. In the absence of a clear and definite knowledge, it was unscientific to define psychology as the science of soul. .

Later psychology came to be defined as the science of Consciousness. (William J James). Psychology was to investigate our internal experience, i.e. Thoughts, sensation and feelings. In this sense, psychology deals with all aspects of man’s conscious life such as ‘ knowing, feeling and willing. This definition was also rejected on the ground that conscious experience is strictly private and purely subjective. All internal processes are not conscious; there are unconscious processes also in our mind. The occurrence of dreams, disorders of personality and hypnotism prove this. Our aim should be to study the whole mind, and not merely the conscious part alone.

Another definition is that Psychology is the science of Behavior. (J.B.Watson, thefounder of Behaviorist school of psychology). Behavior to Watson is purely a ‘Stimulus-Response’ affair. But according to modem psychology, behavior includes external behavior as well as internal experiences.

According to modern concept, psychology is the science of human behavior and experience. Psychology is often referred to as the biosocial science, Man is a biological and social organism. Social interaction is man’s one of the most obvious traits, because it is fundamental to human existence. Behavior alone can be observed and studied. Psychology studies the behavior of the individual throughout the span of his life. It studies all aspects of cognitive activities like perception, intelligence, memory and forgetting, emotional activities

Psychology is considered as a Science, because it is the systematic study of human experience and behavior. The term no longer refers only to the study of the external world, but also to methods used in obtaining and interpreting available data. Science is aimed at an increased understanding of man and his universe, as well as betterment of man. Science systematizes common sense knowledge, which is not accurate. Scientific knowledge on the other hand is precise, complete and reliable. Psychology is a science, because it uses scientific _ methods. Description, production and control are the three related stages in scientific procedure. By adopting scientific methods, psychology becomes an objective science, which aims at precision and validity.

Psychology as a science is empirical. It rests on experiment and observation, rather than opinion, argument or belief. . The advantage of experimental methods is repetition of experiments, control of conditions, verification results and measurement of results. But in -psychology, experimental method has some limitations due to the fact that human beings are the subjects of experiments. Psychologists also make use of descriptive approach, which includes naturalistic observation, use of surveys and clinical methods.

History of the development of Psychology
Psychology is the study of human nature.
History: 3 stages in the development of psychology.

1. Primitive mysticism

2. Branch of philosophy

3. Natural science

Primitive mysticism; – oldest concept
Originated in man’s consciousness to an inner spirit, a little man located somewhere in the body.
A man within a man – the soul imprisoned in the body. which regulates man’s nature, and behavior. In religions, the soul was recognized as a spiritual entity.

Branch of philosophy
Early Greek philosophers spoke of the psyche – the soul as the center of experience. The name psychology was then derived from the word psyche. Sometimes the word mind was used instead of soul. According to Plato mind was an assemblage of ideas. So psychology was referred to as the study of feeling and ideas.

Mind is a function of bodily processes,, Heart was supposed to activate all bodily processes and hence it was expressed that mind is located in the heart. Later Brain was explained as the activator of bodily functions, hence the seat of mind. Psychology was defined as the science of consciousness, i.e. whatever we are aware of. Unconscious experiences and facts of  behavior was not included in the definition of psychology. Later, philosophers continued to theorize about the nature of human experiences and behavior.

In 1690, the Englishman John Locke in his ‘Essay concerning Human Understanding’ put forth the idea that human knowledge is acquired during life, not inherited or based as ‘ innate ideas’. This is only partially true.

Many philosophers tried to explain the nature of mind and body relationship-
e.g. : Wilheim Leibiniz- Harmony between mind and body is predetermined by God.

Separate Natural Science
Psychology did not exist as a separate scientific discipline, until the end of 19th Century. Modem Psychology has its origin in Wilheim Wundt’s laboratory of experimental psychology established in Leibiniz in 1879.

Psychology emerged out of two traditions: Philosophy and Natural science. Many basic concepts of psychology trace their origin back to philosophy. Development of other natural sciences like physics, and, later biological sciences also influenced the growth and development of psychology as a natural science.

Wilheim Wundt (1839-1920)
He was a medical graduate, teacher in philosophy. His interests turned towards research in .physiology, particularly sense perceptions led to interests in psychology.

William James (1842-1910)
 Began as a medical student. He wrote the book – Principles of Psychology.
He was interested in analyzing how the mind functioned rather than observing its .
Wundt was not impressed by James. He commented, “It is literature, it is beautiful but it  is psychology.”
However &both played a major rote shaping the direction of psychology as a discipline.
He emphasized the importance of making careful observation and asking proper questions.


Definition -Psychology is the Science of behavior in relation with the environment.
Behavior may vary according to different factors:

1. Childhood, adulthood, old age
2. Conscious and unconscious Behavior
3. Normal and Abnormal behavior
4. Subjective and Objective behavior

Behavior-may be
1.Expressed / Social/ Outward
2 Intrapsychic (Unconscious processes)

Branches of psychology
1. Theoretical or Pure Psychology
2. Practical or Applied Psychology

Theoretical Psychology
1.Physiological – Studies the physiological basis of behavior.
2.Psychology of Cognition – deals with mental activities and processes like perception, thinking, understanding, reasoning etc.
3. Abnormal psychology- Studies the causes, types and development of abnormal behavior
4. Differential psychology- Studies the individual differences in behavior pattern, components of differentiation.
5. Parapsychology – Studies the basis of supernatural things or activities, superstitions, extra sensory perceptions etc.
6 Soc/a/ psychology- dynamics of group behavior- influence of culture, propaganda. etc.
7. Animal psychology

Applied Psychology
1. Child psychology: Developmental changes in behavior and attitudes with age.

2. Educational psychology :
Problems of education
Age level education
Methods of teaching
Detection of subnormal individuals etc

3. Industrial and Business psychology:
Setup of the building, institution and other arrangement
Selection of personnel for various jobs
Problems of occupational set up

4. Criminal Psychology:
Criminal behavior, causes and types.
Types of punishments

5. Psychology of war
Selection of personal for battlefield
Problems and counseling.

6. Psychometircs:
Developing various psychological tools for assessment techniques.

7. Counseling psychology :
Problematic Cases
Scientific assessment of a person
Positive and negative counseling

8. Clinical psychology:
Final word for other branches of psychology
Treatment methods
Research methods

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