Psychology: Methods of Psychology: Study of Psychological Processes

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A psychologist follows a very systematic scientific procedure which has sound theoretical basis and through which they explain and interpret any phenomenon. Psychologists obtain data from individuals through psychological instruments and responses on this tool constitute the basic data which are analyzed to study human experience and behaviors.

Approaches to the Study of Psychological Processes

Biological Approaches

This approach focuses on the functioning of biological structures such as brain, genes, hormones, endocrine glands and neurotransmitter. Its main focus is on brain functioning.

Psychoanalytical Approaches

The father of psychoanalytical approach Sigmund Freud focused on unconscious libidinal energy. The approach assumes that majority of our behavior is triggered by unconscious motivation.

Humanistic Approach

The father of humanistic approach Carl Rogers puts great emphasis on conscious experiences of the present situation. This approach assumes that a person is an active and self-actualizing agent and has a choice in deciding behavior.

Behaviorist Approach

The father of behaviorism J.B. Watson advocated that behavior is governed by association between stimulus and response and behavior can be shaped in preferred direction by manipulating this association.

Cognitive Approach

The approach mainly focuses on information processing capacity of individual in terms of perception, remembering, thinking, language, reasoning problem solving and decision making which are called higher mental abilities.

Methods to Understand Psychological Processes


It is a method of enquiry often understood as a systematic registering of events. When observation takes place in natural environment it is called naturalistic observation and when the event is controlled by the observer it is called laboratory observation. The observation can be divided into participant and non-participant observation.


It is a method of studying of effect of one variable (dependent variable) on other by deliberating manipulating and controlling one variable (independent variable). There is also relevant variable which are beyond the control of experimenter. The ways of controlling the relevant variables are elimination, making conditions constant, matching, counter balancing and random assignment.

Case Study

It is a method of analysis in which an individual’s experience and his experience across different context of life is the main unit. It focuses on individual’s interactional pattern with others.


It is a method for studying the pattern of opinions, attitudes, beliefs and value of the people. The method is also used to test the hypothesis about relationship of variables when some incident takes place.

Psychological Tools

Psychological Tools

Psychological Tools

Psychological Tests

It provides an objective assessment of different qualities and limitation of the individual. A standardized psychological test has properties of reliability and validity. Depending on the nature and administration, the test can be either verbal or nonverbal (performance) test. Psychological test can also be categorized as objective and projective test.


It consists of a set of questions to which the individual is required to respond. The items in the questionnaire are either open-ended form or close-ended form.


It is a technique of data collection in which a face-to- face interaction occurs between two persons with a set objective. Two types of interview that are used are structured interview and unstructured interview.

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