Psychology is something I’ve resonated with from a fairly young age. I would say the social sciences were my strongest area academically. As a result, when the opportunity came for me to choose my subjects for both my IGCSEs and A-levels, my strength in social sciences was reflected in my subject choices.
This didn’t stop there because it has also reflected in my choice of Psychology as my current major. Being good in the social sciences, I felt that at university, I should still major in Social Sciences but in something different to what I did in high school. This is what made me want to pick Psychology as my major.
Aside from that, there are many other reasons why I wanted to do Psychology at university level, are you interested in studying it yourself? Then follow on for Why I’m Majoring in Psychology: My Story!
Modern Psychology: ADHD? OCD? Bipolar Disorder?
The first reason is that I wanted to understand mental disorders better. I think we’ve all heard names of disorders like “ADHD”, “OCD”, “Bipolar disorder” among many others but perhaps not fully grasping what they actually mean.
With psychology, I was able to understand better what these disorders were along with their symptoms and the typical duration the symptoms would show for someone diagnosed with it as well as how it affects different aspects of people’s lives.
Learning about mental disorders also exposed me to a plethora of them. For instance, when I took Abnormal Psychology last semester, I learnt about different types of sleeping disorders to psychosis disorders to preoccupation and obsession disorders.
This opened my eyes to the many disorders that people can battle with, but many are simply unaware of them because they are not spoken about in society or they’re seen as “taboo” topics.
Also, I wanted to study psychology to understand people and their behavior better. Psychology taught me two key things about human beings.
Psychology 101: Humans are Multi-Layered
The first, that human beings are multi-layered. This is because human beings are not necessarily the same in all settings (i.e., by themselves, at work, with family, with their friends, their partners etc.) Different settings show different aspects of human personality.
For example, in the public eye, somebody could be a successful and well-respected person, but behind closed doors, this same person could be very abusive to their partner, children or even their co-workers.
The second thing it taught me was that there are factors that explain what makes a person, a person. Environmental, social, biological and many other factors play a big role in a person’s personality.
The Case of Britney Spears
For example, Britney Spears’ life can be assessed through Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Her need for safety and belongingness can be seen as unfulfilled. Britney’s need for safety and belongingness was not given to her by her family and the media.
She had a home to live in during her father’s conservatorship but she didn’t feel safe in her home because her father was controlling all her movements and the media would never give her privacy because they followed her wherever she went.
Psychological Challenges Stemming from a Lack of Support
Her need for belongingness was not fulfilled because her father didn’t have a strong presence in her life and appeared only when he pleased which shows that she was not necessarily a priority to her father.
However, her father’s presence in life only became evident when he filled for conservatorship. Her need for belongingness was also unachieved when it came to the media because she was attacked for every little thing.
For instance, a photo of her carrying her son whilst stumbling when leaving a restaurant after being bombarded by the paparazzi circulated and she was criticized for her poor parenting skills.
In addition, studying Psychology always reminds me about appreciating different POVs (points of view) as everyone sees things according to their own subjectivity at the time.
This can easily be seen when cognitive psychologists want to understand how best to study people’s mental processes (i.e., their thoughts, behaviors, and perceptions etc.)
This first started with Wilhelm Wundt and his student, Edward Titchener who believed that people’s thoughts can be studied through introspection (“looking within”). However, as the years went by, psychologists moved away from introspection.
For instance, the behaviorist movement believed in only studying what was observable so the role of mental entities like one’s beliefs, wishes or goals should be ignored.
As time moved on, psychologists in the 1950’s realized that it wasn’t possible to just study what was observable as the role mental entities play is also important. This reveals how, as psychology evolves, an opinion can be abandoned or resurrected in order to look again, and afresh at the connecting dots between different POVs.
In conclusion, I enjoy studying Psychology as a social science because it has helped me tremendously to gain a better understanding of mental disorders, showed me how to understand people and their behavior better, and how different viewpoints always occur when wanting to study an idea or concept.