Objects and subject of psychology - General psychology

Objects and subject of psychology

So, let's start with the question of what objects or phenomena are studied by psychology ?

The most interesting object for a person is another person, his behavior. And this interest is not always theoretical, but much more often - practical, because in many life situations one must understand what other people are going to do and how this will affect you.

The behavior of animals, including those that were domesticated, is also interesting. Originating at the dawn of the spider's development, natural philosophy turned this natural interest in the behavior of humans and animals into an object of scientific research. This interest was not pragmatic, but theoretical: the task was to explain the reasons for the behavior of people and animals, including differences in the behavior of different people. From that moment, behavior became an object of scientific interest, at the same time the first explanation of the life and behavior of living beings was offered through the presence of a special education - souls. It was the soul that became the subject that was to be investigated by scientists through observation behavior of living beings.

The concept of the soul as a theoretical hypothesis was introduced to explain the behavior, but very quickly this concept in the minds of researchers turned into reality, subject to scientific analysis. The soul has become both the object and the subject of research in philosophy as the predecessor of psychology. In philosophy, the questions of its structure were considered (for example, Democritus (V-IV centuries BC) understood the soul as the small atoms of the body of animals and people, determining the external behavior of the whole organism in their body), attempts were made to separate various parts in it for example: mind, feeling, will), etc.

Studies of the soul and as an object, and as an object continued until the XX century, although already in the XVII century. was proposed a new reality as an object and subject of the field of philosophy, which in the future stood out in a new science - psychology. Regardless of each other, philosophers, especially T. Hobbes (1588-1679) and R. Descartes (1596-1650), contributed to the understanding that the soul is not reality and as a theoretical construct (hypothesis) itself can not be an object and subject of research. And although, according to R. Descartes, the soul turned into an independent substance on a par with nature (matter), the study now was not subject to the soul, but the phenomena of consciousness that the person directly found in himself - as his own personal experiences, knowledge and doubt. Unlike the soul, the phenomena of consciousness seemed a reality, and each person could tell something about them.

The phenomena of consciousness as a subjective reality could certainly be an object and subject of scientific investigation. And until the XX century. these phenomena, along with the soul, were so for many researchers (not only philosophers). It is important to note that the difficulties of investigating the phenomena of consciousness were associated with the method of their study - by introspection. The latter was understood as "peering" in the studied phenomena that were revealed to man directly through internal observation of what was experienced in the minds of people. If knowledge of external material bodies was brought to the consciousness of man through the senses, then the phenomena of consciousness, being inaccessible to external observation, were revealed to man directly through self-observation. Such phenomena possessed a number of specific features (immateriality, immeasurability, lack of their own place in space, movement in time from the past to the future, and vice versa), including those that were not observed by an external observer. But the method of introspection did not meet the criteria of scientific research, which led to the proposal to exclude psychology from the system of sciences, and then to the emergence of new views on the subject of psychology. The results of the studies obtained with the help of the introspection method differed by the subjectivity of the answers and estimates (they did not coincide in different researchers) and non-reproducibility.

Such results did not allow the development of psychology as an experimental science, and therefore in the early XX century. the leader of the new approach in psychology J. Watson called for abandoning the studies of consciousness and proceeding to an objective experimental study of the behavior of man and animals. Behavior officially again became the object of psychology, but in this school of psychology called "behaviorism , it was already considered both an object and an object of research.

We have already said that you can not point to the object of research and declare it the subject of science. Any object has many properties that can not be studied by one science, its methods, only in its scientific language. The behavior of both man and animals is always and will be the object of study of various sciences, including psychology. But the latter explores not only this object - there are still subjective phenomena that are realized and not realized by man, are the results of his activity, which psychology also explores, there are individual mental qualities of a person that affect behavior. The main thing that we must take into account is that the object and the object of science coincide. Behavior is studied by many sciences, and therefore it is necessary to identify in it the reality that can be learned with the help of its methods and can be explained only by psychology with the help of its concepts.

If the objects of psychology are both behavior and subjective phenomena called "psyche," then common to them are:

• orientation of behavior in the field of action on the basis of subjective phenomena that open the living entity to the subject space of behavior;

• behavior control based on subjective discovery of the action field;

• regulation of behavior based on subjective experiences of a living being.

The products of human activity as an object of psychology are also investigated by it on the part of the orientation of the activities and skills of the people who created these products, as well as those needs tasks that faced the person. In this case, behavior is also an object of research:

1) biology - as a means of adapting the living and its changes in evolution;

2) genetics - from genetically determined ways of behavior and their mechanisms;

3) physiology - on the part of providing the behavior of nerve mechanisms;

4) ethology - as a science about the behavior of animals in their natural conditions of life.

Behavior is also the object of research of a number of social and natural sciences (sociology, ethics, medicine, etc.). Psychology makes its necessary contribution to the general theory of human and animal behavior. But psychology has long been divided into many scientific fields, and each of its independent areas claims its objects and subject of research.

How does the object and the subject of psychology as a whole relate to the objects and objects of various particular scientific fields of psychology?

This ratio can be characterized as a part and a general, both general and special.

For example, social psychology examines human behavior in large and small groups, as well as orientation, management, regulation of behavior based on knowledge and social norms and rules of their community, society and all humanity. Psychology of work is interested in the orientation, management and regulation of labor and, in general, the labor activity of a person on the basis of the set goals, skills, motivation, individual characteristics and human states. Age psychology is interested in changes in the behavior of a person with age on the basis of changes in ways of orientation and behavior management, development of cognitive and motivational capabilities of a person. Zoopsychology is engaged in the study of the orientation and management of animal behavior when solving their own needs.

Examples can be continued, but already from the above, it is clear that they indicate that each branch of psychology studies either a particular behavior, or the behavior of a special living being ( human or animal), distinguishing as its subject specificity of orientation, management and regulation of behavior on the basis of conscious or unconscious images of the objective conditions of behavioral space, called the psyche.

The study of the features of orientation, control and regulation of behavior generates many scientific problems - from the problem of the origin of mental orientation and management to the task of understanding the personality of a person. The set of solved problems is generated by the demands of science and practice, but real research begins only after the creation of a method for identifying and registering the direct and indirect manifestations (results) of behavior and activity that are of interest to psychology in terms of subjective experiences.

Along with the method there should be a scientific conceptual language, with the help of which the results obtained in the study are fixed. Therefore, the possibilities of science and practice are always determined by the methodical and conceptual (theoretical) armament of the scientist and practice. Every science, including psychology, is engaged in what it can explore with its own means, knowing at the same time the field of its interests. This means that the subject of science and a set of research problems are chosen not by contract, but are determined by the existing set of methods of research and the conceptual apparatus, and also by the logic of research based on the demands of science and practice. the subject of science and especially the list of scientific tasks will be constantly refined and expanded at the expense of the fields of psychology bordering with other sciences and the creation of new methods of research.

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