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Portal:Psychology

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International Psychoanalytic Congress, 1911
Human brain, lateral view, with brainstem




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Psychology is an academic and applied discipline that involves the scientific study of mental functions and behaviors. Psychology has the immediate goal of understanding individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases, and by many accounts it ultimately aims to benefit society. In this field, a professional practitioner or researcher is called a psychologist and can be classified as a social, behavioral, or cognitive scientist. Psychologists attempt to understand the role of mental functions in individual and social behavior, while also exploring the physiological and biological processes that underlie cognitive functions and behaviors.

Psychologists explore concepts such as perception, cognition, attention, emotion, phenomenology, motivation, brain functioning, personality, behavior, and interpersonal relationships, including psychological resilience, family resilience, and other areas. Psychologists of diverse orientations also consider the unconscious mind. Psychologists employ empirical methods to infer causal and correlational relationships between psychosocial variables. In addition, or in opposition, to employing empirical and deductive methods, some—especially clinical and counseling psychologists—at times rely upon symbolic interpretation and other inductive techniques. Psychology has been described as a "hub science", with psychological findings linking to research and perspectives from the social sciences, natural sciences, medicine, and the humanities, such as philosophy. (Full article...)


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Those with AS often display intense interests, such as this boy's fascination with molecular structure.
Asperger syndrome (AS), also known as Asperger disorder (AD) or simply Asperger's, is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. It differs from other autism spectrum disorders by its relative preservation of linguistic and cognitive development. Although not required for diagnosis, physical clumsiness and atypical (peculiar, odd) use of language are frequently reported. The diagnosis of Asperger's was eliminated in the 2013 fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) and replaced by a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder on a severity scale.

The syndrome is named after the Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger who, in 1944, studied and described children in his practice who lacked nonverbal communication skills, demonstrated limited empathy with their peers, and were physically clumsy. The modern conception of Asperger syndrome came into existence in 1981 and went through a period of popularization, becoming standardized as a diagnosis in the early 1990s. Many questions and controversies remain about aspects of the disorder. There is doubt about whether it is distinct from high-functioning autism (HFA); partly because of this, its prevalence is not firmly established. (Full article...)

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People at La Guardia Beach, Isla Margarita, expressing happiness
image credit: Wilfredor

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George Armitage Miller (February 3, 1920 – July 22, 2012) was one of the founders of the cognitive psychology field. He also contributed to the birth of psycholinguistics and cognitive science in general. Miller wrote several books and directed the development of WordNet, an online word-linkage database usable by computer programs. He authored the paper, "The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two," which experimentally discovered an average limit of seven for human short-term memory capacity. This paper is frequently cited in both psychology and the wider culture. He also won awards such as the National Medal of Science.

Miller started his education focusing on speech and language and published papers on these topics, focusing on mathematical, computational and psychological aspects of the field. He started his career at a time when the reigning theory in psychology was behaviorism, which eschewed any attempt to study mental processes and focused only on observable behavior. Working mostly at Harvard University, MIT and Princeton University, Miller introduced experimental techniques to study the psychology of mental processes, by linking the new field of cognitive psychology to the broader area of cognitive science, including computation theory and linguistics. He collaborated and co-authored work with other figures in cognitive science and psycholinguistics, such as Noam Chomsky. For moving psychology into the realm of mental processes and for aligning that move with information theory, computation theory, and linguistics, Miller is considered one of the great twentieth-century psychologists. (Full article...)

Did you know...

  • ...that the effects of head trauma on memory can be seen by the post-operative results of HM, a patient who has been unable to form any new long-term memories since a surgical procedure performed in the 1950s?

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