Psychology is the science of mind and behaviour. Psychology includes the study of conscious and unconscious phenomena, as well as feeling and thought. It is an academic discipline of immense scope. Psychologists seek an understanding of the emergent properties of brains, and all the variety of phenomena linked to those emergent properties, joining this way the broader neuro-scientific group of researchers. As a social science, it aims to understand individuals and groups by establishing general principles and researching specific cases.
In this field, a professional practitioner or researcher is called a psychologist and can be classified as a social, behavioural, or cognitive scientist. Psychologists attempt to understand the role of mental functions in individual and social behaviour, while also exploring the physiological and biological processes that underlie cognitive functions and behaviours.
Psychologists explore behaviour and mental processes, including perception, cognition, attention, emotion, intelligence, subjective experiences, motivation, brain functioning, and personality. This extends to interaction between people, such as interpersonal relationships, including psychological resilience, family resilience, and other areas (see social psychology). 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 counselling psychologists—at times rely upon symbolic interpretation and other inductive techniques. Psychology has been described as a “hub science” in that medicine tends to draw psychological research via neurology and psychiatry, whereas social sciences most commonly draw directly from sub-disciplines within psychology.
While psychological knowledge is often applied to the assessment and treatment of mental health problems, it is also directed towards understanding and solving problems in several spheres of human activity. By many accounts, psychology ultimately aims to benefit society. The majority of psychologists are involved in some kind of therapeutic role, practicing in clinical, counselling, or school settings. Many do scientific research on a wide range of topics related to mental processes and behaviour, and typically work in university psychology departments or teach in other academic settings (e.g., medical schools, hospitals). Some are employed in industrial and organizational settings, or in other areas such as human development and aging, sports, health, and the media, as well as in forensic investigation and other aspects of law.