Wednesday 12th December 2018

Psychology

Understanding ourselves

Pensive womanWe all need to find orientation in the maze of our own and other people's minds.

It's easier to deal with objects that we know, and many times we realize that we don't know enough about what makes us act, moves us, provokes us to feel in a certain way, drives us to make a choice rather than another, enables us to understand or prevents us from understanding, lets us memorize or blocks our memory, in sum we don't know enough about the basic principles on which our mind works.

And if we don't know enough, we feel that we are on dodgy grounds to handle life, its choices, its challenges.

Psychology is the discipline that tries to understand all that. Psychology today is not a science yet, in the way that physics is, but it is probably on the way to becoming one, and many facts about our behaviour and the brain are already rather well understood.

In this section of the site we will make use only of explanations and theories which are as scientific as today's knowledge allows, are evidence-based or at least have a solid rational ground to be believed true.

Young coupleBiology, and the theory of evolution, are more and more used as a basis of a new approach in psychology, the evolutionary approach. On that basis, the knowledge of many facts which is relatively well founded on a scientific theory can be used to explore a less known domain, that of the mind.

We will also sometimes use philosophy, and ethics in particular, which have always traditionally served as good guidance tools in the labyrinth of the psyche.

The angle will be practical, as well as academic.

The purpose is trying to find solutions to everyday problems, puzzles and conflicts which we all encounter at one stage or another, difficulties and emotions that affect all of us, or simply trying to find ways to achieve our goals by better understanding of ourselves and others.

Mental well-being is also an important component of health, and we can't ignore it in a site on human health.

Furthermore, there are major aspects of medical research on which psychological theory can throw light. The placebo effect, that mysterious phenomenon by which people can be given a harmless but ineffective sugar pill and still be treated or cured of an illness just because they believe the placebo pill to be the real drug, is probably the most prominent of these.

And cognitive psychology, that part of the discipline dealing with our intellectual and thought faculties, has a lot to say about how we handle ideas, the mistakes we are prone to make, the cognitive illusions analogous to optical illusions, the way our beliefs are influenced by social factors and pressures, and so on: all this has undoubtedly relevance for scientific activity as for any other intellectual enterprise.

 

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