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Subfields of Psychology

Clinical Psychology: Probably the single largest subfield in psychology, this clinical area studies and attempts to treat people who suffer from serious subjective distress as well as the milder problems of modern life. This subfield in particular combines many of the approaches below.

Cognitive Psychology: This field is fundamentally the study of knowledge itself; that is, it deals with people's acquisition of thoughts and ideas, how humans use knowledge, how they organize it into a system and the conditions under which they retain knowledge over time.

Neuroscience: This subfield studies the neural correlates of psychic functioning and behaviour. This field, driven by the approach of biological materialism, enjoys sizable prestige today because of its efforts to find the genetic and biochemical foundations of many disorders.

Developmental Psychology:  This subject explores the cognitive, emotional and social changes people undergo as they pass through the entire life span. To what extent is the infant the parent of the child, and the child the parent of the ageing adult?

Personality Psychology: This area studies the assemblage of qualitative psychic characteristics which makes a person unique. Personality is partly an individual's 'mental' face as it were, a persona or mask. What else is there behind the persona?

Abnormal Psychology or Deviance: This area is concerned with the extent to which the psyche or behaviour might depart from specified limits of experience and function, perhaps in the same way as the body does when under the influence of a clearly identifiable physical disorder. A major challenge in this field: what are the criteria for the establishment of the limits of normalcy for the psyche and behaviour? Social Psychology Social Psychology studies the interaction between the individual and 'the other,' where 'the other' represents an individual or group. A hallmark of the field is the concern with the vicissitudes of attitudes in social situations. Attitudes are made up of cognition, emotion and behaviour, but all are considered from a social perspective.

Organizational Psychology: This subject finds psychologists working in the industrial setting to improve company efficiency, productivity, and safety.

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