Using Positive Psychology to improve your life
Whenever persons hear the word psychology, most times they respond by either asking, “Can you read my mind?” or making a commanding statement, “I hope you are not trying to psyche me out”. To these responses I usually smirk and quickly change the topic, as it is quite evident that there is a misconception as it relates to what the study of psychology entails; the effectiveness of the discipline and the methodology used in an effort to create improvement in the person’s life.
Psychology isn’t about reading minds or trying to control others, per se. There’s no voodoo magic behind the science; the four main goals of psychology are to describe, explain, predict and control the behaviour and mental processes of others. I assume by now, your eyebrows rose to the word Control? Well yeah, you heard me right. But it’s not control in the way that you’re imagining. Let me explain…
Psychology is a science. It aims to understand the behaviour of others and gather information about the way the brain works in order to better serve humanity. By observing different human behaviours, psychologists determine what is normal and healthy and what is unhealthy. Psychology analyzes the thoughts, feelings, actions and goals of people through the help of various case studies, observations and surveys. Once psychologists can describe a behaviour or phenomenon, they can use that as a basis for learning more about that behaviour.
Why does this behaviour occur? Under what circumstances will it occur again? In order to explain a behaviour, psychologists must conduct experiments to ensure that the behaviour is not an anomaly.
If there’s only one person (or animal) exhibiting this behaviour, it certainly isn’t a cultural norm.
Based on past observed behaviour, a psychologist aims to predict how that behaviour will appear again in the future and if other people will exhibit the same behaviour. This discovery held a lot of importance in the world of psychology and allowed many people to influence the behaviour of others.
This control speaks specifically to the ability each person has to influence another person to do things good or bad. It meant that teachers could take control of their classroom easier, parents could teach their children to exhibit good behaviour, and manipulative older siblings could control the behaviours of their younger siblings. In the four main goals of psychology, “control” is used to help people better their lives.
(Continued nest week)