Psychology isn’t merely an academic discipline.
It is, rather, the landscape of your inner world. All of the experiences an individual has—their feelings, thoughts, emotions, perceptions, and memories—are what psychology is all about.
One question may arise: How does psychology affect your life? Here, we explore three broad areas where psychology influences your inner world.
According to authors Christian Jarrett and Joannah Ginsburg, “Personality is one of those concepts that we’re always referring to in everyday conversation, yet which we seldom stop to consider in any depth.” For decades, psychologists have attempted to categorize, define, and measure “personality types.” Mapping out the long history of these efforts remains a fascinating subject in its own right; however, current research focuses on what psychologists have zeroed in on what they call “The Big Five” personality types. They are:
It remains important to note that these categories are not mutually exclusive. In other words, most individuals have some degree of each of these traits. While this is a useful way of understanding personality braodly–it is by far not the only, or even the most prominent theory of personality currently. Take for instance Theodore Millon’s theory of personality that invesitgates an individual’s personality based on the the following 3 axis: 1) active vs. passive, 2) self vs. other, and 3) pleasure vs. pain. You can find a pretty handy chart with more information on Millon’s theory here.
Although it seems like a “no-brainer” to include, memory has been, and remains, a major topic of investigation for psychologists. It also helps define who you are. The memories you hold and share in many ways determine the person who you may become. In some ways, our memories act as a filter by which we view the world in the present.
“Without memory we have no identity,” write Jarrett and Ginsburg. “We depend on memory to remember who we are, where we’ve been, and to recognize the people who matter to us.”
Memory—in a big, big way—affects our lives in each instant of our lives.
This area of psychology has dominated the field for most of its history (with the exception of the Behaviorist School of Psychology, which dominated from the 1920s until the 1950s). More importantly, however, some have argued that this ability is, itself, the defining human trait, as it appears to be lacking in most other areas in nature. Of course, some have argued that it is possible that non-human primates and other animals may display signs of thought and not merely animal instinct, but so far humans remain the only species who can “think” in the specific sense of the word.
Broadly speaking, thinking includes activities such as language, decision-making, intelligence, and number calculating according to Jarrett and Ginsburg.
There are, of course, other major areas of psychology that affect your life. Emotions (or, “affect”) are one such example. But personality, memory, and thinking remain areas that have dominated the field for years that have—and continue—to define how we get to know ourselves and others . . . and there’s something fundamentally interesting about how we define ourselves (personality), how we remember ourselves (memory), and how we know ourselves (thinking).
Jarrett, C., and Ginsburg, J. (2017). Super Psychology. Metro Books. New York, NY.