Psychology Concepts- Divisions under Psychology

Psychology Concepts

Psychology today has a lot of ways to help you with understanding the world. Over centuries many psychologists worked on understanding the world and conducted extensive research to develop certain concepts and theories that could help understand the behavior and emotions of others. These theories have been in function since the 19th century when psychology for the first time was proved to be different from philosophy. Let’s see about the Psychology Concepts.

Psychology as a science is considered as a baseline to understand all human actions, behaviors, and the complex mental processes that individuals engage. William Wundt became the first-ever psychologist to give an actual concept related to psychology and today he is known as the father of psychology. 

Before Wundt, there were a lot of people who tried to associate psychology with superstitions and black magic. Some even mixed its meaning with philosophy. But today we finally have a subject that focuses on humans and not the soul within us.


Psychology is composed of two words ‘psycho’ and ‘logy.’ This term was coined by Willam Wundt in the 19th century. The word is made up of two German words where psycho means soul and logy refers to the study of science. Together it is known as the ‘Study of Souls.’ This term was coined keeping in mind the philosophical association with psychology. But today the major focus of psychology is on human behavior and emotions.

There is a lot you get to study within psychology. It teaches you the basic functioning of your brain, body, hormones, and the way messages are transmitted from one part of the body to another. It also teaches us about the various factors that can lead to trauma and harm to your mental health and how you can avoid them and control your stress and anxiety during hard times. It teaches you the various psychological disorders people suffer from, what is conditioning, how behaviors are learned etc.

Today the main thing we will be focusing on is the different concepts in psychology, their importance, and how these concepts can help you understand the world. There’s not a single concept that is true, thus we have a lot of concepts developed by various psychologists which can be used to get a deeper understanding of yourself and others. All the concepts mentioned here are based on extensive research and thus you can believe whichever one you wish to.

Psychological Concepts 

We shall be discussing 5 main concepts in psychology which have a lot of subtopics in them. These 5 main concepts are widely known and have extensive research to support their claims.

The five psychological concepts we will touch on are –

  • Biological
  • Psychodynamic
  • Behavioral
  • Cognitive
  • Humanistic 

Let’s start by understanding the Biological concept of psychology.

Biological Psychology

The concept tries to understand psychology from a biological perspective. Its main focus is on understanding human behavior using biological phenomena, paying close attention to the human brain, its functioning, hormones, immune system, vagus nerve, spinal cord, and genetics. 

The biological concept was first introduced by Ernst Weber and Gustav Fechner. Biological psychology has its roots in both structuralism and functionalism. Both structuralism and functionalism focus on the structure of the mind and consciousness and believe that as behaviors of an individual are controlled by the central nervous system, understanding the structure or purpose of the mind would help in predicting the behavior of an individual.

One notable debate that has been there for years in biological psychology is the impact of nature and nurture. Some believe that nature plays an important role in shaping behavior while many believe that nurture plays an important role in shaping behavior. Due to this, a study was conducted in psychology which is often called the Twin Study. This study was conducted on several identical and fraternal twins. The study revealed the role of genetics and environment in shaping an individual’s behavior. This study was carried out by a psychologist called Nancy Segal.

Various theories based on the biological perspective of psychology include- 

  • General Adaptation Syndrome
  • Body Type and Temperament Theory

Psychodynamic Theory 

It’s a famous concept developed by Sigmund Freud who is often called the father of modern psychology. He developed psychodynamic psychology which is called a psychoanalytic theory. The main focus of this theory is on the unconscious thoughts and patterns of the individual. Freud believed that the real motivations and behavior of an individual could only be known by tapping into his/her unconscious pool of thoughts. He even developed a method through which he could access the unconscious of his patients who used to visit him in his clinic.

He places considerable attention on every individual’s childhood experiences and how they impacted their adult life. He believed that interpersonal problems with family members and childhood experiences were the main cause for any individual’s behavior. Any type of trauma for example – loss of a mother, father, excessive punishment, lack of reassurance, love, happiness, etc can remain in the child’s unconscious and can stay with them. Due to such experiences, the child might find it hard to connect with others, trust others and maintain healthy relations with them. This can also lead to abnormal behavior and the development of various psychological disorders.

Various theories related to psychodynamic psychology are-

  • Karen Horney’s Theory of Neurosis
  • Carl Jung’s theory of Collective Unconscious

Behavioral Psychology 

The theory believes in the notion that an individual’s environment determines the behavior of an individual. The environment in which an individual grows teaches them certain acceptable ways of behaving and that’s how behavior is learned. This theory is also known as behaviorism and was developed by John Watson. It focuses on reinforcements and conditioning and how they can help induce positive, negative behavior in a child, individual.

There are two famous theories related to behaviorism and how the outside environment can condition a particular response. The two theories include –

  • Classical Conditioning- This theory includes a stimulus, conditioned response, and an unconditioned response. In this individual, an animal learns behavior unconsciously. Whenever a stimulus is placed in front of the individual a conditioning is given it can be anything, from ringing a bell to clapping. The stimulus causes the person to elect a response which is called a conditioned response due to the presence of the stimulus. This activity is repeated several times. The end goal of the experiment is to elicit the conditioned response without the stimulus. This is a simple way how behaviors can be learned.
  • Operant Conditioning- This conditioning is learned consciously through the help of punishments and reinforcements. Reinforcements are actions, things that help the subject to induce the desired behavior. Reinforcements can be of various types, positive, negative, and aversive. The most profitable one is positive reinforcements which can include food, rewards, etc. Negative reinforcement includes pain-causing actions, like cold weather, hot summers, etc. While aversive reinforcements include electric shocks, drowning in water, etc.

Cognitive Psychology 

This theory’s main focus is on the functioning of the mind and how information is retained in the memory system and other higher cognitive activities like perception, understanding, memory, sensing, thinking, attention, etc. This type of psychology focuses on understanding the underlying process of information retention.

Ulric (Dick) Neisser is considered the father of cognitive psychology. This approach tries to understand how human beings think and what goes on in their minds. How can the study of cognitive processes benefit psychologists? The real benefits of learning this field of psychology are to solve problems like memory disorders, brain injury, memorizing problems, help in learning a new language or skill, etc.

Various theories developed based on cognitive psychology include-

  • Genetic Epistemology was developed by Jean Piaget, an expert in child development and the various stages a child goes through and how parents can behave with them at each stage for optimum growth of the child.

Humanistic Psychology 

The concept was developed in response to Sigmund Freud’s Psychodynamic theory and B.F Skinner’s Behavioral Theory. Humanistic psychologists didn’t believe that human behavior was guided by unconscious desires or was a product of environment as psychoanalytic theorists and the behaviorist believed. Humanistic psychologists thought that human behavior was guided by a motivation that came from within rather than an outside force or unconscious force.

They focus on concepts like, the free will of the individual and their potential to self-actualize, which means to reach your fullest potential. This theory focuses on the whole person rather than individual parts of their mind and environment.

There are two famous humanistic theories which are widely known and used since the 20th century.

  • Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs Theory – This theory emphasizes the self-actualizing power that every individual has. In the development of this theory, Abraham studied the lives of various self-actualized people who have reached their fullest potential. It was then that he understood that humans have some needs that need to be fulfilled to reach the highest potential. The needs from the bottom to the top go like this –
  1. Physiological needs
  2. Safety needs
  3. Belongingness needs
  4. Esteem needs
  5. Self-Actualization.
  • Carl Rogers Humanistic Theory- In this theory Carl Rogers emphasizes the importance of self-concept. Self-concept means the way an individual looks at oneself and values oneself. He also talked about the unconditional positive regard that is quite important to develop a positive self-concept.

These were some of the famous psychological concepts.


Psychology is a wide field and the above-mentioned concepts are just a tiny part of the ocean, filled with deep knowledge that teaches us how to understand others.

Psychology Concepts- Divisions under Psychology

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