Psychology: Meaning, Definition, Types, Applications

People usually think that psychology means reading the mind of other people. Well, that is not true. A psychologist is not a magician who can tell everything about you just by looking at you once. In fact, Psychology is the scientific study of the human mind and its behavior. It deals with the study of the conscious and unconscious phenomena of the human mind. It includes understanding the feelings and thoughts of people that enable psychologists to get a deeper insight into their minds.


The meaning of psychology can be understood from the term ‘psychology’ itself. The word psychology is made up of two words, i.e., psyche and logos. Here psyche stands for soul and logos means science, hence it collectively stands for ‘Science of soul.’ Earlier, psychology used to deal with nature, origin, and destiny of the soul that is known as rational psychology, but Modern psychologists doubt the existence of the soul since there is no empirical evidence for its existence. Modern psychology is considered the science of experience and behavior that only deals with studying how the mind works and behaves. Modern psychology aims to discover the laws of the mind.


According to American Psychological Association (APA), Psychology is the study of the mind, how it works, and how it affects behavior. Psychology has been defined by many renowned psychologists in different ways. Let us discuss some of these definitions.

William James

William James was an American philosopher, historian, and psychologist. He is also known as the father of American Psychology. In 1892, William James defined psychology as the ‘science of mental processes.’ According to him, psychology is the Conscience of mental science because he thought that consciousness is what makes mental life possible. His interest in the function of consciousness led him to develop one of the most fundamental theories of psychology called ‘functionalism.’

James Sully

James Sully was a renowned  British psychologist. In 1884, James Sully defined Psychology as the science of the ‘inner world,’ which distinguished it from physical science that studies the physical phenomenon. He negated the theory of the ‘metaphysical concept’ of mind as a spiritual substance.

R. S. Woodworth

Robert Sessions Woodworth was an American psychologist. He defines psychology as the ‘science of activities of the individuals.’ Where the term activity includes both organic as well as mental. He asserted that both behavior and consciousness were the subject matter of psychology.

Other Psychologists

Some other Psychologists like William McDougall and W. B. Pillsbury defined psychology as the ‘science of behavior.’ J. B. Watson also discarded the concept of the mind, consciousness, and purpose for psychological analysis, and he defined psychology as the ‘science of Behaviour.’ According to him, psychology, as a science, studies the response pattern of an individual in reaction to the stimuli coming from the environment.


Psychology is a very vast subject to study. It has several fields within it, and it has been categorized into various types. Each type of psychology focuses on a particular topic. Psychologists specialize in one of these types. Let us discuss various types of psychology.

Abnormal Psychology

Abnormal psychology is the branch that looks at serious mental issues, It includes the study of the unusual pattern of behavior, emotions, and thoughts, or we can simply say mental disorder.

Behavioral Psychology

Behavioral psychology is also known as behaviorism. It is the study of how different behaviors are related to our minds. This branch is based on the idea that all behaviors are acquired through conditioning. According to Behavioural Psychology, it is the environment that shapes human behavior.

Clinical Psychology

Clinical psychology is the branch of psychology that deals with the assessment and treatment of mental illness, abnormal behavior, and major depression issues. Clinical psychologists analyze the patients suffering from abnormal behavior and diagnose the disorder, and they use various therapeutical techniques to cure them.

Counseling Psychology

This branch includes counseling the patients or clients that require assistance in handling regular psychological issues in their lives. It does not deal with patients suffering from major psychological disorders. Some popular counseling areas include child counseling, marriage counseling, and student counseling.

Cognitive Psychology

This branch of psychology focuses on internal mental states. It deals with how people think, learn, and remember various things. It mainly concerns the process of learning, remembering., decision making, and attention, and problem-solving.

Educational Psychology

Educational psychology concerns schools, teachers, and academics-related issues. This branch focuses on understanding the factors that affect the overall growth of a student.

Experimental Psychology

This branch of psychology uses scientific methods to research the human brain and behavior. These scientific methods can be done in lab settings or on large scale like in schools, colleges, universities, and research centers. Some most commonly used methods in experimental psychology are case studies and correlational studies.

Forensic Psychology

This branch of psychology includes applying psychological principles to crime-solving. Forensic psychology specialists study the behavior of criminals and give them psychotherapy services, These experts provide their service to various social issues including child abuse and the matters related to the evaluation of child custody.

Health Psychology

This field focuses on promoting the overall health of the people. This not only includes healthy behavior but also prevention and treatment of illness and diseases. Various health issues like stress, depression, weight-gaining, or even nutritional problems are addressed in this field.

Industrial & Organisational Psychology

Every organization aims for its success, and this can only happen if the employees of the organization are not just physically fit but also psychologically fit. This field focuses on productivity improvement, increasing efficiency at the workplace while considering the well-being of the employees.

Sport Psychology

Sport Psychology focuses on improving the player’s performance by using psychological principles. It includes the study of how various factors like environment, habits, and family relations affect the growth of a player. By understanding these factors, one can increase their overall performance. If a player is mentally fit, he can perform much better in his sport.


From counseling a student to solving criminal cases, psychology is involved in almost every walk of life. Let us discuss some areas where psychology is widely used.


Psychology is used in improving the teaching and learning processes in the classrooms and other educational domains. Educational psychologists analyze that what possible methods of teaching can be more efficient for the better learning of the students. They test various general theories about how students can learn most effectively. Applying the concepts of psychology in the field of education is very common these days. There are various aptitude tests available that are specially designed by psychologists to analyze the capabilities and interests of the student. These test reports can also help the students decide their careers.


Psychology is most widely used in the field of health. It aims for the mental well-being of people. In the era of the fast-growing world, most people suffer from stress and depression. If left untreated in a timely manner, this can become more severe. Clinical psychologist deals with the mental disorder by providing psychotherapy sessions to the patients. Psychologists also play a crucial role in rehabilitation centers for guiding and treating drug-addicted people. We should understand that It’s not only medicines that cure a patient but also a combination of medication and psychological techniques; this can make a patient recover better and more efficiently.


Psychology is used in the business as well. As we all know that marketing is the key to success in a business. Various psychological techniques are used to understand the customers’ requirements and consequently attracting them to buy a particular product and to achieve this, various tactics are used including banners or logos that are designed to attract selective customers based on their choice of shapes and colors. Industrial-organizational psychology is an exclusive branch in psychology that aims to the growth of a business by using various psychological principles.

Law and Administration

In modern times, psychologists play a crucial role in the legal system, They consult with attorneys, counsel prisoners, and deal with various issues related to the judiciary. Many Psychology principles help various governments design policies that are beneficial to both the people and the nation.


It is very common these days that people don’t understand each other’s perspectives. A child may think that his parents do not understand him/her, parents may think that their child does not listen to them. Husband-wife conflicts are very common in society, giving rise to divorce cases. These social issues can be solved through counseling psychologists.

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