BPCC-131 Foundations of psychology, Unit-1 Introduction to psychology, Notes available for exam.


  1. Definition of psychology
  2. Research in psychology
  3. Methods of research in psychology
  4. Origin and development of psychology

These four topics are very important from the exam point of view, so you all should read it carefully, below we have explained the entire chapter very well, you will understand it very quickly.

BPCC-131 Foundations of psychology

UNIT – 1 Introduction to psychology


  1. Introduction
  2. Definition of psychology
  3. Psychology as science
  4. Origin and development of psychology
  5. Subfields of Psychology
  6. Research in psychology
  7. Methods of research in psychology
  8. Psychology in India


The word psychology is derived from two Greek words “ psyche” and “logos” ? Psyche means soul (life) and logos means knowledge (explanation) or study of the soul.

The word ‘psychology’ dates back to 16th century, but was popularized in German by the early 18th century philosopher Christain worff.


The most accepted definition today is psychology is the science of behaviour and mental process.

 Three parts of definition:-

  1. Psychology is a science because it system gather data by carefully of observing and recording events or behavior of human and animals under controlled experimental conditions.
  2. The term behavior in the definition implies the overt action and reaction. whatever the animals or humans do, that is of interest, can be recorded, such as action, thoughts, emotions, attitude etc.
  3. The term mental processes refer to all the covert and internal processes such as thinking, feeling and remembering. Succinctly said psychology is a science that seeks to understand and predict human and animal behavior.


The ancient Greek philosophers inquired into how human beings know the world. This is known as the epistemology .

Thus the conceptual foundation are found in philosophy but the creation of an independent science of psychology come from biology.

The early psychologist believed that psychology called be developed through a systematic framework by conducting research in experimental laboratories.

In the beginning, psychology was a synthesis of physics, physiology and mental philosophy and the psychological research was restricted to mind- body-physical relationship.

Later, with the growth in the discipline social, culture, and interpersonal problems of human behaviour where included. It may be added here that theoretical learning of the psychologist.

Nomothetic and Idiographic approach

Psychologist with nomothetic approach seek to establish general laws and principles governing mental and behavioral processes, ignoring the individual. In this approach, a no. Of participation are selected as being a representative sample of the population.

The Idiographic approach is the inquiry is focused to the person because this approach emphasize that each individual is unique and must be understood in terms of his or her psycho-social environment.


In the beginning, psychology was a part of philosophy. It moved away from philosophy and became an independent discipline approximately 138 years ago. ‘psychology’ has a short history but a long past. This remark was made by Hermann Ebbinghaus over a century ago, which is a kind of reflection on Greek philosophers who wrote on human nature. Thus, Greek philosophers like Socrates (428-348 BCE) , Plato (428 – 347 BCE) and Aristotle (348-322 BCE) tried to explain human mind and its relationship to the physical body as early as 4 BCE.

These approaches begin from the traditional to modern and focus defining behavior and conducting research according to the leanings of the psychologist.

  1. Structuralism :-  The main focus is on analyzing the basic structures of the human mind. This few is known as structuralism. It is associated with William wundt and Edward Titchener. Wunt believed that Consequences could be broken into thoughts expressions emotions and other basic elements.
  2. Functionalism :- This view was strongly influenced by Drawin’s theory of natural selection and the focus of study was function of mind and behavior. (William James).
  3. Gestalt psychology:- In 1912, Max Westheimer (1880-1943), Kurt koffka (1886-1941) and Wolfgang Kohler (1887-1967) founded gestalt psychology in Germany. They emphasized upon the whole notion of sensory experience, connecting the sensation to relations and organization as a whole.
  4. Behaviorism :- They gave more importance to the study of behavior, and what activity animals or human engage in. Easton emphasized on conditional responses, learned behavior and animal behavior. (William James).
  5. Psychoanalysis:- Psychoanalysis was founded by Australian psychiatric, Sigmund Freud (1856-1938). The focus is on the role of unconscious thoughts, memories and feelings. These unconscious thoughts and memories were revelaed through free-talk and dream interpretation, in process called Psychoanalysis.
  6. Humanistic perspective:- The key features free-will, freedom to choose one’s destiny, strive for self-actualization, and achievements of one’ s own potential. The main founders are Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) and Carl Rogers (1902-1987).
  7. Cognitive perspective :- Main contributiors are German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus (1850-1909), who started the study on memory by investigating the formation of association by learning serial lists of nonsense syllables.
  8. Socio-cultural perspective:- Research from this perspective is important because it can highlight the different influence of environment and , social norms, class difference, ethnic identity etc. Social psychologist Leon Festinger proposed cognitive dissonance theory that states that person is aware at some level if she or he acts inconsistent with her or his belief, attitude or opinions.
  9. Biological perspective:- Role of nervous system, hormones, brain chemical and glandular systems are the biological causes of behavior and they are the focus of research. (Charles Darwin, E. Wilson, J.M Harlow).
  10. Evolutionary perspective:- Evolutionary psychologist believe that the behavioral predisposition or tendencies, such as ‘agression’, determined by genes and which is transferred from one generation to the next. They also give importance to socio-cultural factors that could led to the actual behavior. (David M Buss, D. Singh).


A psychologist has a doctorate degree in psychology and not a medical degree. After academic training and specialization in a specific area, the psychologist works in a particular vocational setting on a career.

A psychiatrist has a medical degree in psychiatry and makes diagnosis and treat patients of psychological disorders by prescribing medicine.

A closely related field is of psychiatric social workers who has earned a master’s degree in this area and in mainly concerned working on the environmental conditions that may have an impact on psychological disorders.

Some of the major subfields of Psychology and the career choices in psychology are as follows:-

  1. Cognitive
  2. Clinical
  3. Counselling psychology
  4. Environmental psychology
  5. School psychology
  6. Educational psychology
  7. Experimental psychology
  8. Physiological psychology
  9. Organizational psychology
  10. Social psychology
  11. Developmental psychology
  12. Community Psychology
  13. Sports psychology
  14. Health psychology
  15. Forensic psychology


Scientific investigation are like, 

  1. Description
  2. Explanation
  3. Prediction
  4. Control

A psychologist may only describe and explain a phenomenon while as a, therapist is involved in controlling that will help in behaviour modifications . Thus, the goals of research may differ keeping in perspective the objective of study.

Basic steps to research in psychology:-

  1. Problem
  2. Hypothesis
  3. Testing the hypothesis
  4. Interpretation and conclusion
  5. Reporting the results


Primarily, three types of methods are used in research in psychology.

  1. Descriptive method

There are three main types of descriptive design.

  1. Case study:- case study is based on small set of participants, this may include one participant or a small group. The basic promise is that each person is unique. It behavior and emotions. The main disadvantages of case study is that the results cannot be easily genearlized.
  2. Survey:- the conducted with the help of face to face interview, telephonic interview, online – interview or questionnaire disadvantage where the participants might not give correct answers, that is there true option.
  3. Systematic observation:- It collects data or gathers information in a systematic manner. The researcher simply makes systematic observations of the events/ behaviors that are occuring naturally in the environment.

2. Experimental method

Experimental method involves a research problem that needs to be investigated. Based on the review of literature and theoretical background, certain assumption are made about the observable events.

3. Correlational method

This method tries to understand the correlation or the relationship that exists b/w two set of scores.

The correlation value is measured by the correlation coefficient, r. The value of the correlation coefficient can vary from+1 to -1 .

+1 indicates a prefer correlation. This is a perfect correlation or the highest correlation that can happen.

-1 also a negative correlation but a perfect one again, but it is reveals but an increase in the value of one scare will have a corresponding decrease in the value of another corresponding score

when there is no correlation between the set of all scores, r=00 . Thismeans that the value of one score in a set of scores is not related to the value of another score in the other set of scores.


Psychology in India was greatly influenced by the western theories and concepts. The study of psychology in India was first initiated of in the university of Calcutta in 1916, though the syllabus was prepared by sir Brijendra Nath seal, way back in 1905. The first generation of psychologist after independence were people from the first person to blend in Hindu thought with Freudian concepts, and this evident in doctoral thesis 1921 “ concepts of repression”. In 1924, psychology courses started in Mysore University. And after two year the first psychology journal “ Indian journal of Psychology”.

In 1932, Aligarh muslim University, 1943 Madras University and 1957 Masters level in university of Delhi. At present, psychology in India focuses on the study of human behaviour using indigenous techniques and method along with the western models.


  1. Define psychology. Discuss the main schools of thoughts in psychology.
  2. Define psychology. Discuss methods of psychology.

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