As far as we know, the human mind is unique in the universe. Humans are able to process abstract information to a degree that is unparalleled in any other Earthly animal species, which provides people with the outstanding ability to communicate using complex language, solve problems creatively, plan for the future and more. Unless and until we find evidence of sentient life elsewhere in the cosmos, the human brain is the only example we have of higher-order thinking — making it the fascinating sole subject of the field of psychology.
If you are considering enrolling in a bachelor’s degree in psychology, you are about to embark on an exciting and enlightening journey through the human mind. To get you started, here are a few primo psychology facts that should pique your interest.
Developmental psychology is associated with how humans change throughout life, from the very beginning of their thought patterns in utero to the moments just before death. Developmental psychology can provide insights into how people develop deviant thoughts and behaviors as well as how people become high-achievers — in other words, it strives to answer the question of nature vs. nurture. You might be interested in pursuing developmental psychology if the following facts are especially intriguing to you:
- Abuse and neglect in childhood impairs cognitive development.
- A child’s brain and an adult’s brain have near-identical structures.
- Healthy relationships improve a person’s resilience to traumatic experiences.
- Children acquire new vocabulary at an exponential rate.
The field of evolutionary psychology focuses on how evolution has impacted the ways humans think and behave today. Patterns of thought and behavior utilized by our earliest ancestors continue to influence human psychology in the modern world, even though the way humans live today is immeasurably different from the world in which the first humans existed. Some examples of evolutionary psychology insights include:
- Humans respond to stressful situations with a fight-or-flight response because they rarely had time to analyze or prepare in the face of threats.
- Social media addictions may be popular because humans are evolutionarily compelled to maintain social contact for survival.
- Humans are psychologically disgusted by incest because it results in weaker and less successful offspring, especially over time.
One of the more well-known disciplines within psychology, social psychology analyzes how various social situations impact human thought and behavior. As social creatures, humans crave social interaction, but different types of groups can radically alter how people think and behave. Social psychologists can study a range of issues, such as:
- Most people naturally want to obey an authority figure, even if that means acting against their own morals and values.
- Humans create and utilize social stereotypes from the need to organize the world into neat categories.
- The brain is heavily influenced by confirmation bias, which involves preferring information that confirms a previously held belief.
While psychologists might argue about the definition of abnormal psychology — as “normal” is not exactly a clear category in psychology studies — generally, abnormal psychology is the research of abnormal thought and behavior within a specific group or demographic. Study of abnormal psychology has helped society reconsider many once-taboo behaviors, like homosexuality and women in the workplace, by demonstrating that they are more common than previously thought. The following interesting facts come directly from the field of abnormal psychology:
- What is “normal” in some social circles, like having body modifications, is considered “abnormal” in other social circles.
- There are more people with “abnormal” psychological elements, like anxiety or smoking habits, than people who are considered completely “normal.”
Forensics is the field of applying various sciences to the detection of crime. Thus, forensic psychology is utilizing psychology knowledge and skill to identify those responsible for various crimes. It is important to note that forensic psychologists and criminal psychologists are not the same; criminal psychologists work to understand a criminal’s motives and diagnose mental health conditions that might have led to their criminal activity, while forensic psychologists apply the principles of psychology to the law and criminal justice system, often testifying in court or working alongside criminal detectives. Still, the study of the impact of forensic psychology can also offer fascinating insights, such as:
- Improperly applied forensic psychology can implant false memories leading to false confessions or mistaken convictions.
- The field of forensic psychology is among the fastest growing in psychology, perhaps due to popular media depictions of forensic psychologists.
By no means are these the only fields within psychology worth pursuing in your studies — but they offer some of the most intriguing insights into human thought and behavior. Armed with these facts, you can begin your psychology studies with eagerness and enthusiasm to learn even more.