TED Conversations

Ariel Ramirez

Frustrated psychologist,

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What is your take on what 'Psychology' is 'supposed' to be?

My field of study, if indeed it can be called that, has a rather, I would say 'confused' identity. As with any science that is relatively young, the only way to study something that we have little idea of, is to study what everyone else's opinion about it. On the objective cliff, the cognitivists, behaviorists, and experimentalists may maintain that we should treat it with cold calculation, critical reasoning, and impersonal analysis. On the subjective side of the cliff, we have the existentialists, humanists, and empathists that stand by the notion that we should look at it with an understanding and encouraging eye, that we as humans are far from 'robotic' machinations. There are, many other cliffs mind you, about as many as the perspectives that cast down an eye on the largely unknown abomination of a study that is psychology, with many claiming to be an expert of the same field, but of differing understanding. Even some people who have no background on the science can claim to be an expert in his/her own right. As such I ask, what IS 'Psychology'? What is this black void we all like to gaze upon but no one seems to be in complete agreement as to what it is. Like the blind men and the elephant.
Note: Please no copy and paste textbook definitions. In this science, as you read more books on it the more confusing it gets, at the same time everything would start to seem like a deja vu. Same concept again and again but no agreement, fascinating...


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    Mar 1 2014: .
    By common sense, psychology is the study of data processing in our brain.
    The data consist of instinctive data and pre-instinctive data.
    Each person has his/her own unique data.
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      Mar 2 2014: Now that my good sir, is your THEORY! :) Some psychologists would argue against the notion that 'consciousness' and 'emotions' are just forms of data processing. Your notion of instinctive data and pre-instinctive data is yourself alone. I'm not saying its wrong. But I'm saying that your 'common sense' of what psychology is, is different than the common sense of many other people. Just look at the other comments for example.
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        Mar 2 2014: .
        Yes, you are right.
        I use the well-proved true of them.

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