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Portal:Psychology

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The Psychology Portal

Psychology is the scientific study of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of conscious and unconscious phenomena, including feelings and thoughts. It is an academic discipline of immense scope, crossing the boundaries between the natural and social sciences. Psychologists seek an understanding of the emergent properties of brains, linking the discipline to neuroscience. As social scientists, psychologists aim to understand the behavior of individuals and groups. Ψ (or psi) is a Greek letter which is commonly associated with the science of psychology.

A professional practitioner or researcher involved in the discipline is called a psychologist. Some psychologists can also be classified as behavioral or cognitive scientists. Some psychologists attempt to understand the role of mental functions in individual and social behavior. Others explore the physiological and neurobiological processes that underlie cognitive functions and behaviors.


Psychologists are involved in research on perception, cognition, attention, emotion, intelligence, subjective experiences, motivation, brain functioning, and personality. Psychologists' interests extend to interpersonal relationships, psychological resilience, family resilience, and other areas within social psychology. They also consider the unconscious mind. Research psychologists employ empirical methods to infer causal and correlational relationships between psychosocial variables. Some, but not all, clinical and counseling psychologists rely on symbolic interpretation. (Full article...)

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Boy stacking cans
Repetitively stacking or lining up objects is associated with autism spectrum disorder.

The autism spectrum is a range of neurodevelopmental conditions primarily characterized by a wide range of difficulties in social interactions, differences in communication, and presentations of rigid and repetitive behavior. Unusual responses to sensory input, including high or low sensitivity, sensory discrimination, and sensory-based motor differences are also highly prevalent. It is commonly referred to as autism and officially designated autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

A spectrum disorder is one that can manifest very differently from person to person: any given person is likely to show some, but not all of the characteristics associated with it, and may show them to very different degrees. Different autistic people might show strikingly different characteristics, and the same person may also present differently at different times. The autism spectrum was historically divided into sub-categories, but there were persistent questions over the validity of these divisions, and the most recent editions of the major English-language diagnostic manuals, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5-TR, published in 2022) and International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11, released in 2021) both list ASD as a single disorder. (Full article...)
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Louis wain cats.png
Cat portraits showing increased abstraction, by Louis Wain, who, while an inmate at a mental hospital, may not have painted them in this order, thus the question of whether they document a deterioration in condition remains unanswered. It is also not certain if he suffered from schizophrenia, though the images have been used extensively as examples of schizophrenic outsider art.
image credit: public domain

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  • "No man's knowledge here can go beyond his experience." — John Locke

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James in 1903

William James (January 11, 1842 – August 26, 1910) was an American philosopher, historian, and psychologist, and the first educator to offer a psychology course in the United States. James is considered to be a leading thinker of the late 19th century, one of the most influential philosophers of the United States, and the "Father of American psychology".

Along with Charles Sanders Peirce, James established the philosophical school known as pragmatism, and is also cited as one of the founders of functional psychology. A Review of General Psychology analysis, published in 2002, ranked James as the 14th most eminent psychologist of the 20th century. A survey published in American Psychologist in 1991 ranked James's reputation in second place, after Wilhelm Wundt, who is widely regarded as the founder of experimental psychology.

James also developed the philosophical perspective known as radical empiricism. James's work has influenced philosophers and academics such as Émile Durkheim, W. E. B. Du Bois, Edmund Husserl, Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Hilary Putnam, Richard Rorty, and Marilynne Robinson. (Full article...)
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