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Un-mystifying the terms
Dictionary and Glossary of Branches of Psychology

A | B | C | D | E | H | M | N | P | S | T


A

abnormal psychology

the study of patterns of behaviour, emotion, and thought which are unusual, or, out of the norm
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B

biological psychology

(also known as behavioural neuroscience) the empirical science of mind and behaviour by way of the application of principles of biology, to study the development, genetics and physiology of behavioural systems
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C

cognitive psychology

the study, by way of clinical and empirical research, of knowledge acquisition (learning), storage and retrieval (memory) and use (application)

criminal psychology

the investigation into the minds and behaviours of criminals—including their intentions, motives, reactions and thought processes
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D

discursive psychology

(a specialised type of linguistics) the general discipline comprised of manifold approaches to analysing conversation, communication, discourse, speech and writing
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E

ecological psychology

(sometimes known as environmental psychology) the emphatically non-clinical study of individual thought, emotion and behaviour in real-life, or everyday, contexts

evolutionary psychology

the study of thought, emotion and behaviour from the perspective of evolution—including traits of adaptability, or, psychological adaptations
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H

health psychology

the specialised field of applied study of biological, environmental, social, cultural and psychological influences and impacts on illness as well as well-being—to promote and achieve personal and public health

humanistic psychology

the study of mind from the existential or phenomenological perspective—which maintains that the individual is capable of rational thought, choice and personal responsibility, and therefore has the potential for emotional, mental and spiritual growth
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M

mathematical psychology

the research- and math-based science and study of sensory, perceptual, cognitive and motor processes

musical psychology

(or, psychology of music) the primarily empirical study of behaviour and experience which seeks to understand human interest and investment in music
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N

neuropsychology

the scientific study of the human neurological (nervous) system in general and brain in particular, to understand and explain mind and behaviour relationships
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P

performance psychology

the study of behavioural, emotional and cognitive influences on human individual and group thriving—including art, business, fitness and sport motivation, participation, competition, coping and “success” factors

personality psychology

the study of thought, emotion and behaviour patterns to define individual similarities and differences (and hence, individual uniqueness), based on how personality develops and influences individual behaviour

political psychology

the discipline based on rational thought theory (among others) to investigate, analyse, understand and explain thought, emotion and behaviour in political contexts

positive psychology

a specialised field, or movement, even, that seeks and focuses on understanding and explanation of human functioning in terms of strengths and virtues (talents and genius) rather than just weaknesses and vices (disorders and diseases), in order to empower humankind
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S

social psychology

the clinical and practical study of how the presence of one or more other persons influences individual feeling, thought and behaviour

sport psychology

the branch or discipline which as a primarily empirical study of sport participation, motivation and decision-making behaviour, to understand and explain sport performance
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T

traffic psychology

the new field of study of the processes of thought, feeling and behaviour in traffic participants—at operational, strategic and tactical levels
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