Psychology is what some would call a recent science. Whilst only technically being a recognised science in the last century, psychology has become both a world changing science, and a controversial one. Since it’s introduction, the study of psychology has in no doubt changed the medical world with the introduction of mental healthcare and the closure or changing of “lunatic” asylums. Through psychology, treatments have been formed to treat conditions such as depression using less invasive techniques that those used only around a century ago. For example, common practice these days is to treat depression with anti-depressants and counselling. This by far an improvement on the former treatment of a “total frontal-lobotomy” (The Worst Nobel Prize Ever Awarded2015) in which the frontal lobes of the brain would be destroyed, remedying depression, as well as a persons humanity.
Psychology has faced much adversity due to it’s tendency to be viewed in one of either two extremes, ether a collection of uninteresting numbers and statistics, or a brutal abuse of human rights for the purpose science, the Stanford Prison Experiment (Lurigio, 2014) for example. However, as will be discussed over the course of the next few posts psychology has done much to improve the world as it is today. What psychology really comes down to is that while it is a science, it is a science of something that is near possible to study; people, and the infinite complexities about them. There is a lot of grey and a lot of uncertainty involved in psychology, but as we will later discover, that is the most important part.
For now though we will focus on psychology’s purpose. As previously discussed, psychology has laid the groundwork for modern mental healthcare, replacing lunatic asylums and unnecessary brain surgery with counselling and medications. But psychology exists outside the doctor’s office. Psychology is used in business, sports, warfare and even in corrections. Psychology has been used to aid in the rehabilitation of prisoners. However it has also been used for borderline torture such as in panopticons where prisoners have gone mad from paranoia of constant surveillance, to psychological torture for the purpose of interrogation.
Now is this what all those pioneering psychologist had in mind? Of course not, but it does illustrate that psychology is powerful science and must be merited respect due to its destructive capabilities. But it’s main purpose is the learn about people and to help them. I can speak personally to the benefits of psychology and if used properly, psychology has a definite, positive future.
Lurigio, A., 2014, Salem Press Encyclopaedia of Health, Salem Press, Ispwich, USA
The Worst Nobel Prize Ever Awarded2015, YouTube video, Sci Show, retrieved 9th of April 2016 <https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=worst+nobel+prize>