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Thread: What's involved in a psychology degree?

  1. #1

    Default What's involved in a psychology degree?

    Right I'm about to embark on a mission to study this subject but before I finalize my choice about where to go. There are some questions I have about psychology based courses.

    1. What is cognitive psychology?
    Google search throws up alot of information about low-level sensory input processing and storage, but what about higher level thinking?

    2. What is developmental psychology?
    There are talks about moral and reasoning development. Things like the theory of mind. Does this overlap with cognitive psychology?

    3. What is biological psychology?
    Impression I've gotten is that it's related to low level proccessing but I could be wrong.

    Is cognitive and biological psychology more concerned with how things occur, rather than why it occurs?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Array LostInNerSpace's Avatar
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    Jan 2008


    Quote Originally Posted by Kai View Post
    3. What is biological psychology?
    Impression I've gotten is that it's related to low level proccessing but I could be wrong.
    I did Tai Chi for a while. At the time I thought it was kind of pointless. The Chinese talk about "Chi" flowing through the body and I initially thought it was a pile of horse s#!t. I read somewhere that feeling is the physical manifestation of emotion in the body. It only recently occurred to me that what the Chinese called "Chi" (energy) could well be this physical manifestation of emotion (feeling) flowing through the nervous system. Thinking for me often requires some kind of bodily movement. Pacing, walking around in circles, waving my arms around or maybe even some exaggerated steering movements. This is the so called mind/body connection. Tai Chi (meditation in motion) has relieved anxiety more than anything I have tried. Makes me think I should probably do more.

    I recently read about a study whereby the authors revealed how people can mitigate physical pain by swearing out loud. Swearing or even just shouting out load might temporarily redirect trapped nervous system emotion in the form of feeling thereby relieving pain if only for a split second.

  3. #3
    ish red no longer *sad* Array nightning's Avatar
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    Apr 2007


    Psychology degree...

    Usually divided into BA and BSc, some differences in the courses you take depending on which you choose... Arts or Science. Psychology is both. The Arts side focus more on behavioural/social aspects while the Science end focus more on neural pathways, chemicals and drugs that can influence behaviour.

    Cognitive psychology - Science branch... also related to neuropsychology (Actually I'm not even sure if there's much difference between the two). I guess with cognitive psych, there's the association of the brain being like a computer. Feedback and feedforward circuitry. The sensory and motor pathways are studied mostly because those are the easiest the access anatomically and simplest to understand. People would like to move onto more complex things like emotions, thinking etc but the brain is not easy to study.

    Developmental psychology - This as far as I understand it is an "Arts" discipline. The basic courses simply looks at changes in behaviour and attitudes of people as they age... from Infancy to youth to adulthood and old age. Beyond that, I don't know too much about it.

    Biological psychology - It's a mix between Arts and Science? It's related to anthropology (Arts) and evolution (Science). Comparative psychology I think... similarities and differences across species. Cultural aspects as well.
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  4. #4


    I am taking a intro developmental psychology course right now. It's theories of human psychological development, from infancy to old age. The different social and cognitive needs of humans as they develop, and what happens during each stage of development. Also, how physical development affects the individual psychologically (like puberty, or decreased abilities with age). There is also focus on learning theories, like behaviorism (Pavlov), punishment, positive and negative reinforcement (Skinner) and how these describe the learning process in humans.

  5. #5
    Member Array katerp's Avatar
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    Jun 2008


    Cognitive psychology deals with the mental processes involved in thought and behavior like memory, perception, problem solving, and language. Topics you'll learn about if you study cognitive psychology are things like how people categorize things, memory techniques like mneumonics, short-term and long-term memory capacity, what catches attention, why eyewitness testimony is often not accurate, etc. It breaks most thinking down into simple information processing.

    Developmental psychology deals with the physical, social, emotional, and mental changes that occur as one develops throughout the lifespan. Most courses tend to focus on babies, children, and teenagers. Developmental psychology draws from many different branches of psychology to explain how people change over time, so there would be some overlap.

    Biopsychology deals with how thought and behavior are influenced or determined by genetics, hormones, and other biological influences. For example a biological psychologist woud be more likely to say a person's depression is caused by a genetic predisposition or a chemical imbalance, while a cognitive psychologist would likely say depression is due to pattern of negative thinking and attributions.

    Wikipedia actually has pretty good articles on all three.
    Biological Psychology

    Cognitive Psychology

    Developmental Psychology

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