To summarize the study of psychology in the simplest form: ask questions; be willing to wonder. Psychology is a complex and ever-evolving field of study that it seems impossible we may one day actually understand the processes, dysfunctions, and deepest innerworkings of the human mind. Psychological processes affect each of us, and it is important for us to all gain a basic understanding of the foundation of the study. Through the process of the mind studying itself, we begin recognizing and working towards and understanding of our own cognitive dissonances, mental strengths and weaknesses, and functions.
We can also apply different fields of thinking to the same concept and understand psychology in terms of a wide range of subjects, including but not limited to behavioral, biological, feminist, evolutionary, cognitive, and sociocultural perspectives. Psychology seeks to answer monumental and sometimes arguably unsolvable questions; however, pursuit, even in the face of uncertainty, offers the only hope of achieving progress. General Psychology offered me a great deal of insight into operant and classical conditioning and how they work to form new habits, change old ones, or to teach a certain behavior to occur as a result of another specific behavior. Although psychologists can use these techniques on patients, individuals who understand psychology in the most basic sense can use these principles to change their own bad habits, reinforce good ones, or to help influence others to do the same.
Understanding the positive impact of intermittent reinforcement may also help individuals who struggle with maintaining lifestyle changes or meeting goals. For example, if an individual decided that he or she would like to take up a new habit, such as going to the gym, that person may have more success if they initially follow their program “intermittently.” A person who has never maintained an exercise routine is much more likely to overexert themselves at the beginning if they attempt to go every single day. These individuals are much more likely to face burnout and abandoned their routine than someone who begins with a few days a week and works his or her way up to an every day schedule.
Psychologists and individuals can apply these same techniques to an infinite number of habits, goals and issues faced by billions of individuals. Aside from understanding how to form and break habits, understanding general psychology helps us to understand “who we are,” by examining different genetic and environmental influences on our personalities. Understanding that our personalities develop from many different aspects of “who we are,” it is helpful to understand more specifically that we “are” our behavior, mannerisms, thoughts, motives, and emotions. Each one of these aspects of our personality are specific enough to be more thoroughly examined in detail. In addition, a psychologist or individual may rely in information about the individuals’ past to determine what influences their personality.
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