Recent developments in psychology are focused on finding underlying reasons for psychological phenomena, or explaining how and why people psychologically process information and experience emotions. These studies are called scientific because they test their theories through rigorous experimentation and statistical analysis.
One of the most influential areas of study within psychology is referred to as behavioral science. This area applies systematic observation and testing of causal factors to determine how and why things happen. For example, psychologist Walter Mischel conducted an experiment where he would give three-year-olds limited access to sugary snacks for one minute at a time. He then tested these children several years later to see what kind of jobs they had achieved.
The researchers found that it did not matter if the child was rich or poor, male or female, white or black — only those given the snack consistently responded by acting out and trying to achieve more goals. The reason? They wanted the treat that was being denied them.
Another important branch of behavioral science is something called social influence theory. This looks at how individuals perceive themselves and others, and how this perception shapes behavior.
For instance, when we think about someone else doing a particular thing, we automatically assume they must want to do that same thing. When we feel like we’re not making progress towards our goal, we may unconsciously add pressure onto ourselves to succeed immediately so that person will also feel successful.
The psychology of happiness
Recent studies suggest that being happy is not about experiencing pleasant emotions, but instead it’s all about experiencing frequent or constant positive experiences.
We’re spending more time in an increasingly digital culture which features lots of stimuli, making it easy to get distracted and experience only negative feelings.
This isn’t healthy for us as individuals or as a society, so we should be doing things to increase our overall level of emotional well-being.
By increasing exposure to positive experiences, you can help ensure your personal balance of mood swings.
There are several strategies you can use to achieve this, such as keeping yourself busy by engaging in activities you enjoy, investing in relationships that make you smile, giving back through community services, and practicing gratitude.
Having these habits will strengthen your mental health and contribute towards happier living.
The psychology of success
What makes someone feel successful is very personal to them, depending on what things matter most to them. For some, it’s making a ton of money, for others it’s being able to say that they accomplished their goal, but only few can actually describe how they made this happen.
It’s like when people talk about “living in the moment” — for some, it means living for today, for others it means spending time with loved ones, and still other people enjoy doing simple things every day, such as going for a short walk or taking an afternoon nap.
For one person, staying within budget may make them think they are failing, while for another person saving up might be the thing that sets them apart from all the people who live beyond their income.
Everyone has their own definitions of what makes them feel good about themselves, which is why trying to understand the psychology of success will always be a moving target.
The science of happiness
Recent developments in psychology can now be categorized as evidence-based therapies or research studies that aim to improve your mental health. These strategies have been shown to work, and are at least as effective as most other treatments for the conditions they target.
There are many different theories about what makes someone feel happy or unhappy. A few major theories include the motivational theory, which says people strive to achieve goals and experiences that make them feel good about themselves; the need satisfaction theory, which suggests we look for opportunities to satisfy our basic needs (suchas hunger, thirst, sleep) and then some sort of feeling comes along with that need being met; and the dual process theory, which suggests there is a quick, intuitive process called hedonic adjustment, and a slower deliberate process called cognitive reappraisal.
Most importantly, no one theory seems to fit all cases! That is why it’s important to do things like talk about how you’re feeling with friends and family, take time off to relax, and exercise to reduce stress. Only then can your mind and body find balance and happiness.
The psychology of science
What is the ‘psychology of science’?
The term ‘psychology of science’ was first used in 1908 by British psychologist Frederick Taylor, who described it as the study of how scientists perceive, use, and value scientific knowledge.
Since then, the concept has been expanded to include theories about why people devote time to studying or using science, and why some individuals are more likely to pursue academic careers in fields that emphasize theory over practical applications.
There have also been attempts to apply psychological concepts to understand changes in attitudes towards science across different groups and eras. For example, studies have explored whether shifts away from science occur during times when it is difficult to access science, such as during periods of economic downturn or due to media coverage or conversations surrounding issues related to climate change.
Overall, research suggests that most people like science and want to contribute to it — even if they don’t always totally agree with what experts say.
The psychology of sports
Looking into the psychology of sport can be quite interesting, as there are several theories that explain why people enjoy watching sports and what makes some teams or players more popular than others.
Many psychologists play a significant role in different levels of the game by studying how athletes respond to challenges, motivating them to keep practicing and improving their skills.
Some research focuses on finding underlying reasons for success or failure for individual team members or individuals within the games. This is done through observation and testing to determine what traits successful players have and what might prevent them from performing well.
The psychology of money
We’ve talked before about why it is important to understand your own personal biases when it comes to spending, investing, and keeping savings in control.
But what if you don’t have control over how much money you spend? What if you make minimum wage or even less than that and can’t afford to live on yourself, let alone save enough for a rainy day?
What if you need to spend money to survive?
That’s where things get tricky. Because we humans are creatures of habit and perception, having access to small amounts of cash can create all sorts of irrational behavior.
You might find yourself buying lots of items you didn’t intend to buy, taking out loans you wouldn’t otherwise, or making expensive purchases because you think everyone else has or should be doing the same thing.
The psychology of health
What is psychological health?
Most people agree that being healthy means living longer, and Healthier than you are now. Beyond that, however-and this is where things get tricky-what defines “healthy” depends on what you want from your life, and how you define health.
We all have different ideas about what makes us feel good about ourselves and our lives. Some of these ideas are positive (like when I finished my homework last week, I felt successful), some negative (I had to deal with a lot of conflicts with someone so I decided not to talk to them for a while).
Some people believe in pursuing more materialistic goals (more money, bigger house, newer car) and others think that is the wrong way to aim your life. You can be happy with what you have, or you can strive for better things. It’s up to you.
The psychology of creativity
We are constantly creating, designing, developing, experimenting with new ideas and concepts. Artists do this all the time- from painting pictures to composing music or making things like cars or buildings.
Creativity is not just having clever thoughts, it’s being able to translate those thoughts into something externalized — something physically expressed in space and time – that other people can perceive and appreciate.
We create every day. Whether we’re taking out the trash, writing an email, baking a cake, or editing a document, everything we produce requires some level of creativity.
When I was in college, my friends and I would spend our free periods together walking around campus looking for interesting objects to take photos of and show each other. We called these activity “photography walks.