Psychology, that fascinating and vast universe of human knowledge, has expanded over the years, giving rise to a rich and varied constellation of currents and branches that seek to understand and analyze the complexity of the mind and human behavior. From its humble beginnings in ancient times to its consolidation as a science in the 19th century, psychology has undergone a process of constant growth and evolution, nourished by the contributions of different thinkers, researchers and therapists over time.
In this article we will present the different currents and branches that make up the intricate landscape of psychology today. We will summarize the different approaches, methodologies and objectives, highlighting the diversity and richness of the perspectives that have emerged in the field of psychology.
Main currents of Psychology
Psychological currents, also known as approaches or schools of thought, are theories or perspectives that attempt to explain human behavior and mental processes. These currents offer different approaches and methodologies for studying and understanding psychology.
Psychoanalysis is a psychological trend that originated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, thanks to the work of Sigmund Freud, an Austrian neurologist. This theory revolutionized the world of psychology by proposing a new way of understanding and approaching the functioning of the human mind and its disorders. It focuses on the exploration of unconscious mental processes, the role of sexuality and the impact of childhood experiences on adult life.
One of the fundamental premises of psychoanalysis is the existence of an unconscious, a part of our mind that operates outside of consciousness and harbors repressed thoughts, desires and memories. Freud argued that these unconscious contents can influence our behavior and generate psychological symptoms without our being aware of them. Psychoanalysis seeks to access these hidden contents and bring them to consciousness to facilitate conflict resolution and emotional healing.
To explore the unconscious, psychoanalysis uses a series of techniques such as free association, dream interpretation and transference.
Free association consists of the patient freely expressing his or her thoughts and emotions without censorship or specific order, allowing the unconscious contents to emerge to the surface.
Dream interpretation, on the other hand, seeks to analyze the patient’s dreams in order to discover the symbolic meaning of their elements and the unconscious concerns that generate them.
Transference is a phenomenon in which the patient projects his or her unconscious feelings, desires and expectations onto the therapist, which can be useful in understanding and resolving emotional conflicts.
Psychoanalysis is also based on the theory of infantile sexuality, which holds that psychosexual development begins in infancy and goes through several stages. Each stage is characterized by a focus on a different erogenous zone: oral, anal, phallic, latent and genital. According to Freud, an individual may experience conflicts or fixations at each stage, which can lead to psychological disorders in adult life.
Another key concept in psychoanalysis is the structure of the personality, which Freud divided into three instances: the Id, the Ego and the Superego. The id is the primitive and instinctive part of the mind, which seeks immediate gratification and operates according to the pleasure principle. The ego is the rational, conscious part of the mind, which mediates between the demands of the id and the constraints of the external world. The superego represents the voice of conscience and internalized social norms, functioning as a moral regulator. Conflicts between these instances can generate anxiety and psychological symptoms, and psychoanalysis seeks to help the patient
Psychoanalysis has also been the subject of numerous criticisms and controversies over the years. Some argue that the theory lacks a scientific basis, as it relies on introspection and subjective interpretation rather than rigorous empirical research. In addition, concepts such as infantile sexuality and the Oedipus complex theory have been questioned for their validity and relevance in understanding psychological disorders.
Other criticisms focus on the efficacy of psychoanalytic therapy, which is often viewed as a lengthy and costly process with variable results. Some studies have suggested that other forms of therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, may be equally effective and more efficient in the treatment of certain disorders. However, there is also research supporting the effectiveness of psychoanalysis in treating specific disorders and in promoting self-awareness and emotional maturity.
Despite these criticisms, psychoanalysis has left an indelible mark on psychology and popular culture. Its concepts and terminology, such as the unconscious, repression, and transference, have become part of everyday language and have influenced the way we understand the human mind. In addition, psychoanalysis has been a source of inspiration for other psychological currents and theories, such as humanism and existentialism.
Behaviorism is a psychological trend that emerged in the early twentieth century, at a time when psychology was divided into different currents that could not agree on how to study the mind and human behavior. Behaviorism is characterized as a current that focuses on the study of observable and measurable behavior, and considers that all human behavior is learned through experience.
One of the main founders of behaviorism was John Watson, who in his work “Psychology as seen by the Behaviorist” states that psychology should focus exclusively on the study of observable behavior, since everything that happens inside the mind is not observable and therefore cannot be studied scientifically. Watson considers that human behavior is a response to environmental stimuli, and that these stimuli can be controlled to modify behavior.
One of the best known experiments in the history of behaviorism is Pavlov’s experiment, in which a dog was conditioned to associate the sound of a bell with food, so that the dog began to salivate at the sound of the bell even when no food was present. This experiment demonstrated that behaviors can be learned through stimulus association, known as classical conditioning.
Another important experiment in behaviorism was Skinner’s experiment, who used the operant conditioning technique to study animal behavior. In this experiment, Skinner placed a lever inside a box with a rat, and each time the rat pressed the lever it received a reward in the form of food. In this way, the rat learned to press the lever to obtain food, which demonstrated that behaviors can be learned through the consequences that follow an action.
Behaviorism has been very influential in psychology, especially in applied psychology. The principles of behaviorism have been applied in different fields, such as education, advertising, marketing, behavioral therapy, among others. In education, for example, behaviorism has been used to develop effective teaching techniques, such as positive reinforcement, modeling and shaping.
However, it has also been criticized for considering that human behavior is solely a response to environmental stimuli, without taking into account internal factors such as thoughts, emotions and motivations. In addition, behaviorism has been criticized for not taking into account the role of cognition in learning, since according to this current all learning occurs through conditioning.
Despite these criticisms, behaviorism has had a great impact on psychology and society in general. The principles of behaviorism have been applied in different fields, and have been used to develop effective techniques and strategies in the treatment of different psychological disorders. In addition, behaviorism has served as a basis for other psychological currents that have emerged from it, such as radical behaviorism, neobehaviorism and applied behavior analysis.
Humanism emerged in the 1950s as a critical response to behaviorism and psychoanalysis. Unlike these currents, humanism focuses on the subjective experience of the individual and his or her capacity to make free and autonomous decisions. This perspective is based on the idea that human beings have an innate potential for personal growth and development, and that this potential can be cultivated through education, therapy and other means.
One of the main precursors of humanism was the U.S. psychologist Abraham Maslow, who proposed the theory of the hierarchy of needs. According to Maslow, human needs are organized in a hierarchy, from the most basic needs such as food and shelter, to the highest needs such as self-actualization and transcendence.
Maslow’s theory has been very influential in humanistic psychology and has led to the idea that the main goal of humanistic therapy is to help people reach their full potential through the satisfaction of their basic needs and the pursuit of self-actualization.
Another important representative of humanism was the psychologist Carl Rogers, who developed client-centered therapy. Rogers believed that therapy should focus on the client and his or her subjective experience, rather than focusing on diagnosis and categorization of problems. According to Rogers, therapy should be a collaborative process in which the therapist and client work together to find solutions to the client’s problems. Rogers also emphasized the importance of empathy and unconditional acceptance by the therapist, meaning that the therapist should accept the client as he or she is, without judging or trying to change the client.
Humanistic therapy is also based on the idea that the individual has an inherent tendency to actualize, that is, to reach his or her maximum potential. This tendency is hindered by negative experiences, lack of social support and other external factors. Humanistic therapy seeks to help the individual overcome these obstacles and develop his or her potential through the exploration of his or her thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
One of the most important aspects of humanistic therapy is the importance given to the therapeutic relationship. In humanistic therapy, the relationship between therapist and client is considered a key factor in the success of the therapy. The therapist should be a facilitator of the client’s personal growth, and the therapeutic relationship should be warm, empathic and non-judgmental. Humanistic therapy focuses on the here and now, on the present, and seeks to help the individual develop his or her potential through the exploration of his or her current feelings, thoughts and behaviors.
Another important aspect of humanistic therapy is the importance given to self-exploration and self-knowledge. Humanistic therapy seeks to help the individual develop self-awareness and become aware of his or her own needs, feelings and motivations. Humanistic therapy focuses on the development of the whole person, not just the elimination of specific symptoms.
Humanistic therapy has been successfully applied in a wide range of situations and populations, including couples therapy, family therapy, group therapy and individual therapy. In addition, humanistic therapy has been used in non-clinical settings, such as education and personal development.
Despite its effectiveness in treating a wide variety of psychological and emotional problems, humanistic therapy has been criticized for its lack of structure and its emphasis on subjective exploration rather than specific problem solving. Some critics have also questioned the validity of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory and the lack of solid empirical evidence to support some of the theories and techniques of humanistic therapy.
Cognitivism focuses on the study of mental processes, such as perception, thinking, memory, attention, and problem solving. This perspective emerged in the 1950s as a response to behaviorism, which focused on the study of observable behavior.
It holds that human behavior is influenced by internal cognitive processes, such as attention, perception, and memory, which cannot be directly observed but can be inferred through behavior. Cognitivists believe that these cognitive processes are essential to understanding human behavior and that the study of these processes can help explain why people act the way they do.
One of the main contributions of cognitivism is information processing theory, which refers to how information is processed and stored in the human mind.
It has also provided an explanation of how people acquire knowledge and skills. According to this perspective, learning occurs through the acquisition of information and the construction of knowledge through experience. Cognitivists believe that knowledge is organized into mental structures called schemas, which are constructed from experience and interaction with the environment.
One of the most important applications of cognitivism is education. Cognitivists argue that effective learning requires students to be active in their own learning process, rather than simply receiving information from teachers. Cognitivists also emphasize the importance of meaningful learning, which involves the active construction of knowledge through experience and interaction with the environment.
Another application of cognitivism is cognitive-behavioral therapy, which is used to treat psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety. This therapy is based on the idea that negative thoughts and beliefs can contribute to the onset of these disorders and that changing these thought patterns can help improve mental health.
Although cognitivism has made important contributions to the field of psychology, it has also been criticized for being too simplistic and for failing to take into account social and cultural factors that influence human behavior. For example, some critics have argued that information processing theory does not take into account the influence of emotions and motivation on cognitive processing.
Cognitivism has also been criticized for being a theory focused on the individual mind, which leads it to overlook the influence of social and cultural context on human thought and behavior. Some critics have argued that the cognitivist perspective overemphasizes the cognitive capacity of the individual and does not sufficiently consider the influence of social, cultural and political factors on human behavior.
Despite these criticisms, it has continued to evolve and has inspired the development of new areas of research in psychology, such as cognitive neuroscience, which studies the relationship between brain activity and cognitive processes. Cognitive neuroscience has allowed researchers to examine cognitive processes in real time using neuroimaging techniques, leading to a greater understanding of how the brain processes information and how it influences human behavior.
Positive psychology is a branch of psychology that has experienced considerable growth in recent decades. As opposed to the traditional approach to psychology, which has focused primarily on the study and treatment of mental illness and pathology, positive psychology seeks to understand and enhance the positive aspects of human life, such as well-being, happiness, resilience and personal strengths.
The emergence of positive psychology is attributed to Martin Seligman, who in 1998, during his presidency at the American Psychological Association, proposed a shift in the focus of psychology toward the study of positive emotions and behaviors. Since then, positive psychology has generated great interest in both academia and clinical practice.
One of the fundamental concepts in positive psychology is subjective well-being, which refers to how people evaluate their own lives and experience positive and negative emotions. Research has shown that subjective well-being is influenced by a number of factors, including genetics, environment, and personal choices. Despite these external influences, positive psychology argues that people have the ability to improve their well-being by adopting healthy practices and habits.
Positive psychology focuses on the study of positive emotions, such as happiness, gratitude, love and hope. These emotions have been shown to be beneficial to overall well-being and mental health. For example, gratitude has been linked to increased well-being, greater relationship satisfaction and improved sleep quality. In addition, positive emotions can act as a buffer against adversity, helping people cope with life’s challenges.
Another important aspect is the study of human strengths and virtues. These strengths, such as wisdom, creativity, courage, justice, humanity, temperance and transcendence, can be cultivated and developed by each individual. Identifying and developing these strengths can help people cope with challenges and adversity, improving their well-being and resilience.
Resilience is another central theme in positive psychology, and refers to the ability of people to adapt and recover from adverse situations. Research in this area has shown that resilient people tend to have greater self-efficacy, a sense of purpose in life, and a strong social support network. Positive psychology seeks to understand the factors that contribute to resilience and to develop interventions that can help people strengthen their coping and adaptive skills.
The positive psychology has also been interested in the study of happiness and the conditions that favor it. Through research, it has been discovered that happiness is not a fixed, static goal, but depends on multiple factors and can change over time. Some of these factors include life satisfaction, sense of purpose, interpersonal relationships, and participation in meaningful and rewarding activities. In addition, happiness has been shown to have positive effects on physical and mental health, improving the immune system and longevity.
One of the areas in which positive psychology has had a significant impact is in education. Educators have incorporated principles and practices of positive psychology into curricula and teaching strategies, with the goal of promoting well-being and the development of social-emotional skills in students. These practices include fostering gratitude, developing conflict resolution skills, and promoting empathy and compassion.
It has also been applied in the workplace, where it seeks to improve employee well-being and satisfaction by promoting a positive work environment, encouraging teamwork, and recognizing individual strengths and skills. Companies that adopt these approaches experience higher productivity, lower absenteeism and higher employee retention.
Despite its focus on positive aspects, positive psychology does not ignore the problems and difficulties people face in their daily lives. Instead, it recognizes that negative emotions and experiences are an inevitable part of life and that it is important to address and manage these situations. However, positive psychology emphasizes the importance of focusing on the positive aspects and the potential for growth and development, even in times of adversity.
Transpersonal psychology is a branch of psychology that focuses on the exploration and development of human consciousness and spirituality. This perspective recognizes that the human being is not only a physical and mental being, but also has a spiritual dimension that can be explored and developed through the practice of various techniques and approaches.
Transpersonal psychology emerged in the 1960s and 1970s as a reaction to traditional psychology, which focused primarily on the study of mind and behavior. The pioneers of transpersonal psychology, such as Abraham Maslow, Stanislav Grof and Ken Wilber, believed that conventional psychology was not sufficient to address the complexity and depth of human experience.
It focuses on the exploration of transcendent experiences, such as mystical and spiritual experiences, and seeks to understand how these experiences can have a positive impact on people’s lives. Through the practice of techniques such as meditation, visualization and breathing, people can develop a greater awareness of their being and their connection to the universe.
One of the central ideas of transpersonal psychology is that the human mind is much more than simply a brain and a set of cognitive processes. Transpersonal psychology recognizes that the mind is a complex entity that includes both mental and spiritual processes, and that mental health is related to the development of both.
Another important aspect is the idea that all people have the potential to reach higher states of consciousness. Through the practice of techniques such as meditation and yoga, people can develop a greater awareness of their being and their connection to the universe. These higher states of consciousness are characterized by a greater sense of oneness with the world around us and a greater understanding of the nature of reality.
Transpersonal psychology also focuses on the development of the individual as a whole, rather than simply focusing on mental health. This means that transpersonal psychology focuses on the development of the person on physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels.
Transpersonal psychologists believe that personal experience is fundamental to understanding the human mind, and that each person’s experience is unique and individual. Transpersonal psychology recognizes that each person has his or her own perception of reality, and that this perception is influenced by a number of factors, including culture, religion, education and life experiences.
All people have purpose and meaning in life. Transpersonal psychologists believe that each person has a unique role in the universe, and that discovering that role and purpose is fundamental to personal and spiritual development.
One of the most common practices in transpersonal psychology is holistic therapy. This therapy focuses on the development of the individual as a whole, and focuses on physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. Holistic therapy focuses on the idea that the mind, body and spirit are connected, and that to achieve true health, it is necessary to treat the whole person.
Holistic therapy uses a variety of techniques and approaches to help people achieve a state of balance and harmony in their lives. These approaches may include meditation, breathing, yoga, art therapy and group therapy.
We are all connected and our relationship with the world around us is fundamental to our health and well-being. It recognizes the importance of sustainability and environmental protection, and seeks to promote social and ecological awareness through education and practice.
Branches of Psychology
Branches of psychology are specialized areas of study and application within the discipline. These branches focus on specific aspects of human behavior and mental processes, and may apply different psychological currents in their research and practice.
Clinical psychology is a branch of psychology that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional disorders. Clinical psychologists work with individuals, couples, families and groups to help them resolve emotional and behavioral problems.
The history of clinical psychology dates back to the 19th century, when the importance of treating mental disorders began to be recognized. Over time, clinical psychology has evolved and has adopted different therapeutic approaches, such as cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy, psychodynamic therapy, and humanistic therapy. Although these approaches may differ in their techniques and theories, they all aim to help people improve their emotional and psychological well-being.
Clinical psychologists work in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, clinics, mental health centers and private practices. They may also work in industry, as human resource consultants or consumer behavior researchers. Regardless of the setting in which they work, clinical psychologists focus on helping people overcome the obstacles that prevent them from leading full and satisfying lives.
Treatment in clinical psychology may include a variety of therapeutic approaches, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, humanistic therapy, group therapy and family therapy.
In addition to helping people overcome mental health problems, clinical psychologists are also interested in preventing mental disorders and promoting mental health. To accomplish this, clinical psychologists may work in prevention programs in schools, communities and organizations.
Forensic psychology is a specialized branch of psychology that deals with the application of psychological principles to legal and judicial systems. It is used in civil and criminal cases to assess mental capacity, criminal responsibility, witness credibility, and parental fitness in custody cases, among others.
It is used in various aspects of the judicial system, including jury selection, assessment of the mental competency of defendants, assessment of the risk of recidivism, assessment of the credibility of witness testimony, assessment of the suitability of parents in custody cases, and assessment of the mental capacity of inmates.
In jury selection, forensic psychology is used to identify jurors who are more likely to be impartial and objective in their decision making. Assessing the mental competency of defendants is important to ensure that defendants understand the charges against them and can assist in their defense. Recidivism risk assessment is used to identify inmates who are more likely to commit new crimes and provide appropriate treatment.
Assessing the credibility of witness testimony is important to determine whether witnesses are telling the truth or whether they are biased by personal bias or interest. Assessing the suitability of parents in custody cases is important to ensure that children are in a safe and healthy environment. Assessment of the mental capacity of inmates is important to identify those in need of mental treatment and to determine if they are suitable for release.
There are several areas of research in forensic psychology, including criminal psychology, legal psychology, police psychology, and correctional psychology.
Criminal psychology seeks to understand the psychological factors that contribute to criminal behavior and in developing strategies to prevent and treat criminal behavior.
Legal psychology focuses on understanding psychology as it applies to the legal and judicial systems.
Police psychology is focused on the application of psychology to police practice, including the selection and training of police officers, the management of stress and trauma in police work, and conflict resolution.
Correctional psychology is the application of psychology to criminal justice systems and inmates, including rehabilitation, prevention of recidivism, management of prison violence, and assessment of inmate mental competence.
Social psychology is a branch of psychology that focuses on the study of how people think, feel, and behave in social situations. This discipline focuses on how individuals interact with their social environment, how they influence others, and how they are influenced by others.
Below we describe some of the main areas of interest within social psychology:
- Attitudes: . Attitudes are affective evaluations toward objects, events, people, etc. and relate to how people behave in social situations. Attitudes can be positive or negative and can influence how people relate to others. Social psychology is also interested in attitude change, how attitudes are formed and how they are maintained.
- Social influence: Social influence refers to how people are influenced by other individuals or groups in their behavior, thinking and emotions. It can be direct, such as peer pressure, or indirect, such as the influence of the media or advertising.
- Social groups: Groups can be formal, such as an organization or sports team, or informal, such as a group of friends. Groups can influence the attitudes and behaviors of their members, and social psychology is concerned with how groups are formed and maintained, how they influence the identity of their members, and how they affect intergroup relations.
- Prejudice and discrimination: Prejudice refers to negative attitudes toward a social group, while discrimination refers to actions that treat a social group unfairly. Social psychology explores the causes of prejudice and discrimination, as well as their consequences for individuals and society in general.
Personality psychology is a branch of psychology that focuses on the study of the patterns of thought, emotion, and behavior that define people as unique individuals.
Personality psychologists seek to understand how personality develops over time, as well as the different variables that influence its formation, such as biology, culture, experience and social environment.
Individual differences between people, such as temperament, character, personality traits and cognitive styles, are also studied. In general, personality psychology seeks to understand what makes each person unique and how these differences influence their behavior and well-being.
Developmental psychology focuses on the scientific study of how people change and develop throughout their lives, from infancy through adulthood and old age.
This discipline investigates how biological, psychological and social factors interact to influence human development in areas such as cognitive, emotional, social and physical development. Developmental psychologists also study how early experiences can affect later development and how individuals can change and adapt throughout life.
Some of the areas of interest in developmental psychology include:
- Cognitive development: The study of thought processes and how they evolve across the lifespan.
- Social development: How social relationships influence human development, from infant-caregiver interaction to group dynamics and culture.
- Emotional development: How emotions develop and how early emotional experiences influence personality and well-being.
- Moral development: How people acquire their values and ethical principles.
- Physical development: Study of how the body changes and develops throughout life.
- Language development: How language is acquired and how it influences thinking and communication.
- Psychopathological development: How psychological disorders develop and manifest themselves at different stages of life.
- Educational development: How knowledge and skills are acquired, and how teaching programs are designed to enhance learning.
- Personality development: How personality is formed and changes throughout life, and how biological and environmental factors influence it.
Health psychology is a branch of psychology that focuses on the study of how psychological, social, and behavioral factors influence health and illness. This discipline is concerned with understanding how emotions, behavior and social interactions can affect people’s physical and mental health, as well as identifying effective ways to promote health and prevent disease.
Health psychologists work in collaboration with other health professionals to help people adopt healthy behaviors, manage stress, and cope with chronic illness.
Some areas of interest within health psychology are:
- Health promotion: The study of how to encourage healthy lifestyle habits, such as proper diet, regular exercise, sufficient sleep, avoiding drug and alcohol use, and stress management.
- Disease prevention and treatment: Research on how to prevent diseases and how to improve the quality of life of people suffering from chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, mental disorders, among others.
- Psychological and social factors influencing health: The analysis of how psychological, social and cultural factors can influence the development of disease and recovery from disease.
- Physician-patient communication and relationships: The study of how relationships between patients and health care professionals can influence patient satisfaction, quality of care, adherence to treatment, and health outcomes.
- Health care and health systems: How health systems can be improved to provide higher quality care and affordability, as well as research on patient satisfaction and accessibility to health services.
Educational psychology is a branch of psychology focused on the scientific study of the psychological processes that occur in educational settings. It focuses on understanding how individuals learn and acquire knowledge, skills, and values in different educational settings, as well as how educators can use that information to improve teaching and learning processes.
It is also concerned with the assessment and diagnosis of learning problems, the design of interventions to overcome them, and research on the effectiveness of different teaching methods and educational programs.
It covers a wide variety of areas of interest, some of which include:
- Learning and teaching processes: This area focuses on how students acquire, retain, and use information and skills, as well as how educators can design effective and adaptive teaching strategies.
- Cognitive development: Educational psychology is concerned with the study of students’ cognitive development from infancy through adulthood and how it influences the way they learn.
- Assessment and diagnosis: The assessment and diagnosis of learning problems and educational difficulties are important areas of interest in educational psychology.
- School psychology: This area focuses on support and attention to the emotional and social needs of students, as well as prevention and intervention in behavioral and mental health problems.
- Educational technology: Technology and its application in education are also of interest to educational psychology, including the design and evaluation of online learning programs.
- Research in education: Educational psychology is dedicated to research on the effectiveness of different programs and teaching methods, and the continuous improvement of the educational process.
Neuropsychology is a discipline that combines neurology and psychology to study how the structure and function of the brain affect behavior and cognition. Neuropsychologists evaluate and treat people with neurological and psychological disorders to help understand and improve their cognitive and behavioral functioning.
It is used in a wide variety of fields, from basic research to clinical practice, and is especially relevant to the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders such as traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease and stroke.
Some of the main areas of interest in neuropsychology include:
- Neuropsychological assessment: Refers to the systematic and standardized evaluation of cognitive, behavioral and emotional functions to determine if there is any brain injury or dysfunction.
- Neuropsychological rehabilitation: Focuses on the development of techniques and strategies to help people with brain dysfunction regain their cognitive and emotional abilities.
- Neuroimaging: Studies brain structures and their relationship to cognitive functions through the use of neuroimaging techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).
- Clinical neuropsychology: Focused on the evaluation and treatment of neurological and psychological disorders that affect brain function and behavior.
- Neuropsychology of aging: Study of how aging affects brain function and how age-related cognitive disorders can be prevented or treated.
- Child neuropsychology: The study of how brain and cognitive functions develop in children and how neurological and psychological disorders can be identified and treated in this population.
- Forensic neuropsychology: Uses insights from neuropsychology to assess the impact of brain injury and other neurological disorders on decision-making and criminal behavior.
Biopsychology, also known as psychobiology or behavioral neuroscience, is a scientific discipline that studies the relationship between biology and human and animal behavior. It focuses on understanding how the activity of the brain and nervous system influences cognitive, emotional and behavioral processes, and how these processes in turn can affect the structure and function of the brain and body.
Psychobiology uses a variety of techniques, including animal research, human studies, brain imaging techniques, and genetic analysis, to investigate the biological mechanisms underlying human behavior and experience.
Some of the main areas of interest in biopsychology are:
- Cognitive neuroscience: Study of the relationship between brain activity and cognitive processes, such as perception, attention, memory and language.
- Emotional neuroscience: Relationship between brain activity and emotions and the role of neurotransmitters in emotional regulation.
- Neuropsychology: Cognitive, emotional and behavioral alterations caused by brain lesions.
- Neuropharmacology: Effects of drugs on the nervous system and how they can affect human behavior and experience.
- Psychophysiology: Relationship between the body’s physiological activity and behavior, including measurement of brain electrical activity and heart rate.
- Neurogenetics: Relationship between genes and behavior, including the identification of genes that may increase the risk of psychological disorders.