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What is Psychology?

Psychology is the science of the mind. The human mind is the most complex machine on Earth. It is the source of all thought and behaviour.

Psychology is a science that seeks to answer the what, how, when and why about behaviour. To do so, psychology shares parts of many other sciences. For example, in studying the effects of brain functioning on behaviour, psychology overlaps with the neurosciences, physiology and computer science. In the study of social behaviours, psychology overlaps with sociology, cultural anthropology and socio-biology; and in the study of thinking and reasoning, there is overlap philosophy and artificial intelligence.

While other disciplines address many of the same problems, psychology differs from these areas in the way it attempts to answer these questions. Psychology relies heavily on experimental procedures where individuals are observed under controlled conditions.

The experimental approach is not the only methods used by psychologists - psychologists also rely on clinical observations and careful study of humans and animals in more natural settings - but the experimental method allows psychologists to address and sometimes answer questions which remain speculative for other disciplines. Experimental methods sometimes limit the kind of questions that can be asked. This means that some of the problems new students want answered may not be treated or treated only superficially. Someone turning to psychology for an immediate solution to his or her personal problems may well be disappointed, at least initially. Many people do find, however, that a scientific understanding of behaviour gives greater “insight” into their own behaviour in ways that may not be appreciated immediately.

Cape Breton University

P.O. Box 5300, 1250 Grand Lake Rd.

Sydney, Nova Scotia

Canada B1P 6L2

Toll Free: 1-888-959-9995 (Canada/US)

Tel: (902) 539-5300

Fax: (902) 562-0119

registrar@cbu.ca