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What are the Different Branches of Psychology?

Abnormal Psychology: This explores psychopathology and abnormal behavior. Examples of disorders covered in this field include depression, OCD, sexual deviation and dissociative disorder.

Biopsychology: This looks at the role the brain and neurotransmitters play in influencing our thoughts, feelings and behaviours. It combines neuroscience and the study of basic psychology.

Clinical Psychology: The focus here is the assessment and appropriate treatment of mental illness and abnormal behaviours.

Cognitive Psychology: This branch of psychology focuses attention on perception and mental processes. For example, it looks at how people think about and process experiences and events – their automatic thoughts and core beliefs. Also, how they learn, remember and retrieve information.

Comparative Psychology: This field of psychology studies animal behavior. Comparative psychologists work closely with biologists, ecologists, anthropologists, and geneticists.

Counseling Psychology: Here, the focus is on providing therapeutic interventions for clients who are struggling with some mental, social, emotional or behavioural issue. It also looks at living well, so people reach their maximum potential in life.

Developmental Psychology: This looks at lifespan human development, from the cradle to the grave. It looks at what changes, and what stays the same, or even deteriorates over time. Also, whether growth and change is continuous, or is associated with certain ages and stages. Another area of interest is the interaction of genes and the environment.

Educational Psychology: This focuses attention on learning, remembering, performing and achieving. It includes the effects of individual differences, gifted learners and learning disabilities.

Experimental Psychology: Although all of psychology emphasises the central importance of the scientific method, designing and applying experimental techniques, then analysing and interpreting the results is the main job of experimental psychologists. They work in a wide range of settings, including schools, colleges, universities, research centers, government organisation and private businesses and enterprises.

Forensic Psychology: Psychology and the law intersect in this field. It is where psychologists (clinical psychologists, neurologists, counselling psychologists etc) share their professional expertise in legal or criminal cases.

Health Psychology: This branch of psychology promotes physical, mental and emotional health – including preventative and restorative strategies. It looks at how people deal with stress, and cope with and recover from, illnesses.

Human Factors Psychology: This is an umbrella category that looks at such areas as ergonomics, workplace safety, human error, product design, and the interaction of humans and machines.

Industrial-Organizational Psychology: This applies findings from theoretical psychology to the workplace. Its goal is increasing employee satisfaction, performance, productivity – and matching positions to employees’ strengths. Other areas of interest are group dynamics, and the development of leadership skills.

Social Psychology: This is what many people think of when they hear the word “psychology”. It includes the study of group behaviour, social norms, conformity, prejudice, nonverbal behaviour/ body language, and aggression.

Sports Psychology: This area investigates how to increase and maintain motivation, the factors that contribute to peak performance, and how being active can enhance our lives.

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