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Psychological principles are theories and beliefs about major areas of our lives like cognitions intelligence social groups habit

Psychological principles are theories and beliefs about major areas of our lives like cognitions intelligence social groups habit

Psychological Principles: Understanding Human Behavior



Psychological principles are theories and beliefs about major areas of our lives, like cognitions, intelligence, social groups, habit,


1. Introduction

Psychological principles are the basis of understanding human emotions, relationships, and motivation. They are building blocks to comprehend the complexities of human behavior. Psychological principles are a set of factors that help the psychologist explain the varieties of psychological behavior from the elements of those principles. Now let’s discuss the definition of psychological principles by differentiating both terms. Psychology is the scientific study of the behavior of the organism and the behavior to be understood must be observable and recordable. Therefore, psychology is the science which is more interested in the overt behavior rather than personality, where personality is the general pattern of the behavior and behavior changes between one situation to another and another person to another person. There must be some set of factors which will help us predict and control the behavior. Those factors are called psychological principles (Brewer and Treyens, 1981). According to different scholars, there are multiple definitions of principles but all revolve around the meaning that a principle is a set of interrelated variables which can predict behavior. So psychological principles are the guidelines for understanding behavior. These are comprised of higher-level abstractions to understand complex behavior (Eckensberger and Zimba, 1985). These are universal and cognitive concepts by which causal relations and predictions about behavior occurring in an organism can be identified (Craig, 1996). These principles involve constant relations between a situation, the behavior under that situation, and the consequences of that behavior. To understand these principles, psychologists have formulated different theories. So the one definition that sums up all the explanations on psychological principles is given by Charles E. Osgood: “Psychological principles are hypotheses that specify relations between two or more variables in the form of if…then.”

1.1. Definition of Psychological Principles

Psychological principles are statements explaining the behavior of people and the influence of behavior on the environment. These principles are built on scientific method, which is another way of saying the strength of the explanation and predictions of behavior. If the predictions are accurate ones, the probability of the acceptance of the explanation is high. If not, the opposite is true. The explanations of behavior that are to become principles are first tested through research, usually of an empirical nature. If the results provide evidence supportive of the explanation, the persuasion of other scientists will eventually test the similar explanation in their own setting. If each of these attempts to confirm the original explanation is successful, the explanation can be said to be a principle on the basis that it has strong predictability and has withstood a variety of conditions and circumstances. It is this high level of predictability and testing that distinguishes psychological principles from common sense or lay opinion about behavior. Common sense knowledge is usually vague, general, and not invalidatable. For example, it is often said that a lazy person will find the easiest way of doing something. This is not always the case; there are times, because of the individual’s intentions or the complexity of the task, that the easiest way just cannot be found. An example of an idea that is generally acceptable as true without significant evidence is that the reason people get aggressive after drinking alcohol is because it’s the alcohol “bringing out the badness inside”. This belief has been the justification for many unproductive treatments of aggression, while there is in fact little evidence to support it. In both cases, the lay opinion statement does not satisfy the strict criteria of a psychological principle.

1.2. Importance of Understanding Human Behavior

In the study of psychology, understanding why people behave the way they do is an area of great interest. It is important to have knowledge of human behavior because it is so vital to many aspects of our lives such as health. There have been so many advances in the field of health from past research in which the main focus was how to change unhealthy behaviors. In order to change a behavior one must first understand why a person is behaving in such a way. This is giving rise to a new field known as health psychology. Professionals in this field are trying to understand the various behaviors that are detrimental to one’s health such as drug use, overeating and unsafe sexual activity. A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified the most common types of unhealthy behaviors that contribute to the leading cause of illness and death and by doing so have estimated that these deaths are preventable. This is just one example of how understanding human behavior is a crucial element to many important issues one might come across.

2. Cognitions

2.1. Cognitive Processes and Mental Functions

2.2. Memory and Learning

2.3. Problem Solving and Decision Making

3. Intelligence

3.1. Theories of Intelligence

3.2. Measuring Intelligence

3.3. Emotional Intelligence

4. Social Groups

4.1. Group Dynamics and Behavior

4.2. Social Influence and Conformity

4.3. Stereotypes and Prejudice

5. Habit

5.1. Formation and Maintenance of Habits

5.2. Breaking Bad Habits

5.3. Habit Loop and Behavior Change

6. Emotions

6.1. Theories of Emotion

6.2. Emotional Intelligence and Emotional Regulation

6.3. Emotional Development across the Lifespan

7. Motivation

7.1. Theories of Motivation

7.2. Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation

7.3. Goal Setting and Achievement

8. Personality

8.1. Theories of Personality

8.2. Trait Theories

8.3. Personality Assessment

9. Perception

9.1. Sensation and Perception

9.2. Perceptual Illusions

9.3. Influences on Perception

10. Attitudes and Attitude Change

10.1. Formation and Structure of Attitudes

10.2. Attitude Change Techniques

10.3. Cognitive Dissonance Theory

11. Social Cognition

11.1. Social Thinking and Attribution

11.2. Stereotyping and Prejudice

11.3. Impression Formation and Impression Management

12. Interpersonal Relationships

12.1. Types of Relationships

12.2. Communication and Conflict Resolution

12.3. Attachment Theory

13. Developmental Psychology

13.1. Stages of Development

13.2. Nature vs. Nurture Debate

13.3. Parenting Styles and Child Development

14. Abnormal Psychology

14.1. Mental Disorders and Diagnosis

14.2. Causes and Treatment of Psychological Disorders

14.3. Stigma and Mental Health

15. Applied Psychology

15.1. Industrial and Organizational Psychology

15.2. Health Psychology

15.3. Educational Psychology


 Psychological principles are theories and beliefs about major areas of our lives like cognitions intelligence social groups habit

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