Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Diverse Nature of Psychology

The diverse nature of psychology is evident in its 54 divisions of the American Psychological Association, each addressing a different perspective of psychology and a unique aspect of human interaction (Plante, 2011). Psychology permeates and has broad implications for human interaction as well as for the sciences and other disciplines. The psychological science, through its diverse distinctions supports and studies a variety of perceptions and perspectives, serving and honoring the individuality of the human experience (Shiraev & Levy, 2010). Psychological diversity influences the major concepts and contributes to a unique perspective of human behavior. In sum, the whole of psychology has a far greater ability to encompass humanity's entirety because of its diverse and diffuse nature.

The Influence of Diversity on Major Concepts in Psychology
Diversity exerts a dynamic influence on the major concepts in psychology. The psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, and humanistic perspectives, represent varied perceptions of human behavior, each offering a unique solution to a psychological challenge, or an exclusive theory on human nature. Each of the major concepts emphasizes different aspects of human behavior, such as the cognitive, social, spiritual, and unconscious factors, which contribute to such behavior. The variety of perspectives and the confluence of these variations reflects the diverse nature of thinking among the human population. As no two individuals perceive an event in the same way, no two psychologists view every aspect of psychology the same. The major concepts define and explain human behavior according to theories unified under one specific aspect or perspective of psychology.

Alternatively, diverse thinking may engage a wide range of thought, but may limit the ability to focus on one particular idea or consolidated theory. Although psychology benefits from its diverse nature, it lacks such unification. Older sciences with unifying theories such as chemistry and physics appear more directed. Psychology is often criticized for its "soft" nature and may continue to struggle with its reputation as long as there are disputes between researchers, practitioners, and other branches of the science. Psychology may never have one unifying theory, but it is important for the science as with any other science to gain credibility in regard to therapeutic efficiency and in its use and application of the scientific method to determine the most effective therapeutic strategy. Perhaps the cohesion found in psychological disciplines is the unifying goal of and dedication to improving the quality of life for people and solving human problems as they change and evolve over time.

Subdivisions and Subtopics in Psychology and Their Effect on Other Disciplines

Abnormal Psychology

Abnormal psychology studies abnormal behavior and psychopathology and emphasizes the research and treatment of mental disorders (Hansell & Damour, 2008). This branch of psychology has implications in psychotherapy and clinical psychology as well as neuroscience. Subdivisions in this area include the biological basis of mental illness and the study of effective treatment options (Plante, 2011). Neuroscientific exploration studies the biological basis of mental illness as well as other physiological illness and seeks to understand the implicit relationship between the body and the mind by which science gains a more holistic perspective of multiple causality (Deckers, 2010).

Theories in abnormal psychology focus on the development of cognitive abilities, morality, social functioning, identity, and other life areas (Hansell & Damour, 2008). Understanding abnormal psychology and the ravaging effects of mental illness helps individuals suffering from the range of these disorders. Applying the behaviors in psychological disease in neuroscientific exploration assists in determining and addressing the biological components of the disease or disorder (Deckers, 2010). Furthermore, the relationship between neuroscience and the biological basis of psychology supports more accurate diagnosis and therapeutic chemical interventions (Plante, 2011, Wickens, 2009).

Lifespan Development

Developmental psychology focuses on human growth and development over the lifespan. The subtopic that discusses the effects of nature and nurture plays important roles in understanding human development and how experiences in early childhood have far-reaching implications in ongoing human social development (Berger, 2008). Developmental psychology plays a significant role in education whereby educational facilities embrace various theories of early childhood development to offer a more appropriate educational experience that aligns with developmental theory (Blume, 2006). In later childhood and adolescence, education and programs in the judicial system have developmental theories central in their aim to affect problematic behaviors in teens.

Comparison and Contrast of Two Theoretical Perspectives

Two major theoretical perspectives in psychology are psychoanalytical and the cognitive-behavioral perspectives. Each of these two major psychological perspectives maintain unique and diverse perceptions of mental conflict and illness (Feist & Feist, 2009). Psychoanalytic theory claims underlying unconscious directives bear responsibility for disordered human thought and behavior, whereas in the cognitive-behavioral paradigm, thoughts influence behavior and vice versa (Plante, 2011). The former emphasizes the need to bring unconscious internalized conflicts into consciousness for resolution and reconciliation although the latter claims by altering one's thoughts, behavior will follow and consequently change and similarly, changing one's behavior will assist in changing one's thoughts. Psychoanalytic therapy is often long and tedious whereas cognitive-behavioral therapy is often shorter in duration and enables the client to implement practical solutions immediately (Plante, 2011). The benefit of cognitive-behavioral therapy has been empirically proven for a number of disorders, although much of psychoanalysis has neither lent itself to verifiability nor falsifiability. The common goal of both perspectives is to reconcile inappropriate thoughts and behavior that interfere with the quality of life and to relieve personal conflict and disordered thinking (Feist & Feist, 2009).


Although viewpoints and perspectives in the science of psychology sometimes appear abysmal, each attempts to address disease and disorder from its distinct scientific point of reference. Each perspective addresses human behavior from a distinct viewpoint, although none is an all-encompassing composite (Kowalski & Westen, 2009). Diversity permeates the major perspectives in psychology as well as their divisions and subtopics, which affects other disciplines as well as secular and popular thought. Abnormal psychology and lifespan development affect thought in education and neuroscience as well as other disciplines and fields of psychology (Hansell & Damour, 2008). The diverse character of the psychodynamic and cognitive-behavioral perspectives exemplifies the distinct nature of psychological perspectives, although both support the unifying goal of psychology to improve the quality of life for people and resolve human conflict.


Berger, K. S. (2008). The developing person through the life span (7th ed.). New York: Worth Publishers.

Blume, L.B. (2006)., Inc. Retrieved from

Deckers, L. (2010). Motivation: Biological, Psychological, and Environmental (3rd ed.). Boston: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon.

Feist, J., & Feist, G. (2009). Theories of personality (7th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill.

Hansell, J., & Damour, L. (2008). Abnormal psychology. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Kowalski, R. M., & Westen, D. (2009). Psychology. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Plante, T. G. (2011). Contemporary clinical psychology. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Shiraev, E. B. & Levy, D. A. (2010). Cross-cultural psychology: critical thinking and contemporary applications (4th ed.). Boston: Pearson/Allyn Bacon.

Wickens , A.P. (2009). Foundations of Biopsychology (2nd ed.). New York: Pearson/Prentice Hall.


  1. There is a substantial amount of quotes from Corey...yet that author is not listed underneath the references...

  2. That's interesting because I had not yet come upon Corey. I didn't read any Corey until grad school. Can you be more specific about quotes?