21 topics you need to study to be a great psychologist

If you are interested in psychology and are planning to study for a degreeNot long ago, we wrote an article that sought to explain the 10 basic points for opting for the Diploma or Diploma in Psychology (you can read it by clicking here).

If you have already made the decision or would like to know what is being studied for the Psychology degree, just read the following lines. In today’s article, we explain the most important topics studied in the degree in psychology.

Psychology is a very broad discipline

Obviously, psychology is a large field in which there are different specialties (Clinical psychology, sports psychology, organizational psychology, etc.), so that educational needs are not always the same, depending, of course, on the area of ​​specialization.

In short, psychology is a discipline that covers many areas; for example, we can talk about the history of psychology, the discoveries that have been made in this field, the relationship it has with neuroscience, what it teaches us about mental processes and how that we interact with and make decisions about, etc.

In this article we have collected the most important topics studied in the Psychology Degree in Spain (in Latin American countries there may be differences). In other words, the basic and compulsory subjects that must be followed to obtain the title of psychologist. These topics cannot be missed in any introductory psychology textbook.

Topics you need to study to be a good psychologist

Below are the most important topics studied in the Psychology degree.

1. Biological basis of behavior

The biological basis of behavior is an essential area of ​​study in the career of psychologyAs it allows us to know how mental processes occur, what is the main unit that propagates nerve impulse or brain communication or what is the connection between the parts of the brain and our body.

Throughout the career of psychology, it is possible to find subjects such as psychobiology or psychophysiology, because in order to be a good psychologist you have to know how mental processes occur, whether it is memory, learning or sensations, and knowing, among other things, how neurons act. .

2. Statistics and psychometrics

While many psychology students don’t like numbers, using statistics is an important part of science. And psychology, and as a science that is, uses it to achieve its goals of predicting and intervening in human behavior. In addition, any psychologist should master psychometrics, a discipline that deals with all of the methods, techniques and theories involved in the measurement and quantification of psychological variables. Testing is a necessary tool for any psychologist.

    3. History of psychology

    To be a good psychologist, the first thing you need to have is a good theoretical foundation. To do this, you have to know the history of this discipline and be clear about what psychology is, what is its field of study, what are the main problems it addresses and what are the main schools that have allowed over the years. Let psychology be consolidated as a science.

    Plato, Descartes, Freud, Skinner, Watson and Bandura are some of the figures that any good psychologist must know to know the historical contexts in which this discipline has evolved.

    4. Social psychology

    Social psychology is a branch of psychology that analyzes the psychological processes that influence the functioning of a society., The way in which social interactions are conducted and how social processes shape the personality and characteristics of each person.

    In the field of social psychology, topics such as leadership or prejudice are studied, and important research in this area is reviewed, such as the Stanford prison experience, by Philip Zimbardo or the experience of Milgram: the danger of obedience to authority.

    • You can read more about this branch by visiting our article: “What is social psychology?”

    5. Clinical psychology

    Since the beginnings of psychology, clinical psychology has been one of the most important areas of this discipline. In clinical psychology all the elements involved in mental disorders and, in general, in mental health are studied. Therefore, clinical psychology performs all the tasks of assessment, diagnosis, prevention and therapeutic intervention in people with a type of mental disorder or inappropriate behavior, in order to restore psychological balance and improve their well-being.

    • Associated text: Clinical psychology: definition and functions of the clinical psychologist

    6. Developmental psychology

    This branch of psychology is responsible for studying behavioral and psychological changes in people throughout their life cycleIn other words, from birth to death.

    When analyzing these changes, different fields of study are taken into account: physical, from which stability, biological change and determinants of physical growth are analyzed; cognitive, from which intellectual capacities and their relation to the development of the person are analyzed; and social and personality, which emphasizes individual differences and social relationships at different stages of life (childhood, adolescence, adulthood and old age).

      7. Personality psychology

      One of the major areas of psychology that attracts the most interest is the study of personality.. From the different currents of psychology, we have tried to explain personality by taking into account both genetic and environmental aspects. In his study, he examines the various contributions that many authors have made in this field.

      For example, Eysenck’s personality theory: the PEN model, Albert Bandura’s personality theory or the big five theory.

      8. Ethics in psychology

      In addition to acquiring theoretical and practical knowledge for the proper development of their profession, the psychologist, throughout his career, must know the ethical principles which govern the exercise of his profession, In addition to being aware of its resources and limitations.

      He must respect the dignity of his patients and preserve and ensure the preservation of fundamental human rights. Therefore, some of their obligations are to use their knowledge to promote human well-being or maintain professional secrecy.

      9. Psychological assessment

      Whether someone wants to practice as a clinical, organizational or athletic psychologist, psychological assessment is a necessary condition for the professional practice of any psychologist. Therefore, a good psychologist should be able to master this aspect, Either to know the organizational performance of an organization, the personality type of the patient, or to make an assessment of the intelligence of a student.

        10. Neuropsychology

        Neuropsychology is found within neuroscience and is the discipline responsible for studying the relationships between the brain and behavior, not only in individuals with dysfunction, but also in people with normal behavior. This area of ​​study uses experimental techniques and tests that provide images of the brain area (eg, CT, MRI, PET, fMRI). What are the functions of neurotransmitters? or what causes aphasia? are questions that neuropsychology answers.

          11. Differential psychology

          While general psychology studies behavior common to all human subjects, differential psychology study this behavior individually.

          Therefore, this branch of psychology is responsible for describing, predicting, and explaining intra-individual, inter-individual, or inter-group variability in behavior and psychological processes (eg, intelligence). It includes personality psychology, but also takes into account many other things, such as CI or biological characteristics related to the immune system, genes related to all kinds of physical characteristics, etc.

          12. Group psychology

          Although group psychology was part of the subject of social psychology in its early days, many universities, aware of its importance, teach compulsory subjects of group psychology. Not only that, but nowadays many postgraduate studies focus on this topic as this field of study is gaining more and more importance. Many human behaviors cannot be understood without the group component.

          Group study focuses on understanding and explaining group processes, Relations between its members and between different groups, group formation, roles, norms, group cohesion, communication, etc.

          13. Linguistic psychology

          The most important class of human communication is linguistics. With human language, it is possible to produce an unlimited number of messages and allows a real dialogue to be established. Psycholinguistics is a discipline in which the object of study is the relationship that is established between linguistic knowledge and the mental processes involved in it.

          14. Psychology of learning

          Human behavior cannot be understood without learning. Through this, habits, skills, values ​​or knowledge are acquired and they are closely linked to the development of individuals. Some of the most important theories of learning are: the theory of learning of Jean Piaget or the sociocultural theory of Lev Vygotsky,

          15. Experimental methodology

          The study of experimental methodology is also part of the academic curriculum of a psychologist, because he must know the different research schemes and the procedures for formulating and opposing hypotheses, but must also know how to use documentary sources of information. in this discipline, with a capacity for critical analysis and synthesis. This will help you analyze and interpret quantitative and qualitative data from research, reports, and work in psychology.

          16. Specialty: sports psychology, organizational psychology, legal psychology …

          The previous points referred to the different compulsory and basic knowledge subjects or areas of the psychology degree, but in psychology there are different specialties and each of them requires specific knowledge in order to be able to exercise the profession in the best possible way. Therefore, youOnce the diploma is obtained, there are different master’s degrees to be able to continue to grow academically and professionally. and obtain a master’s degree in a particular field of behavioral science.

          • If you want to know more about these specializations, you can read our article: “The 20 best masters in psychology”

          17. Philosophy of science

          is essential to approach any research-based academic career. Knowing the epistemological bases of theories makes it possible to know whether certain hypotheses are well justified or, on the contrary, are not useful for understanding reality.

          18. Ethology

          Ethology is essential for understanding animal behavior. He studies basic learning processes in non-human organisms, as well as instincts and how hormones affect these living things.

          19. Forensic psychology

          Very useful for understanding how psychologically based expert assessments work in the legal world.

          20. Introduction to anthropology

          Anthropology is a field of study similar to social psychology, Although it focuses more on cultural phenomena. That is why knowledge is useful for applying certain psychological principles to specific societies.

          21. Use of specific software

          It is essential to learn how to use long distance programs, such as R or SPSS, for use in various subjects. It is also good to use others that focus on qualitative research, such as ATLAS.ti.

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