21 Sub-Fields and Branches of Psychology
As the study of psychology has grown worldwide, it has given rise to a number of subfields. The subfields of psychology can be likened to an extended family, with assorted nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles, and cousins who, although they may not interact on a day-to-day basis, are related to one another, because they share a common goal: understanding behavior.
One way to identify the key subfields is to look at some of the basic questions about behavior that they address.
DO YOU KNOW:
Men receive the majority of doctoral degrees in psychology.
In the most fundamental sense, people are biological organisms. Behavioral neuroscience is the subfield of psychology that mainly examines how the brain and the nervous system—but other biological processes as well—determine behavior. Thus, neuroscientists consider how our bodies influence our behavior.
A baby producing her first smile . . . taking his first step . . . saying its first word. These universal milestones in development are also singularly special and unique for each person. Developmental psychology studies how people grow and change from the moment of conception through death. Personality psychology focuses on the consistency in people’s behavior over time and the traits that differentiate one person from another.
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Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes. Topics of interest to psychologists include the nervous system, sensation and perception, learning and memory, intelligence, language, thought, growth and development, personality, stress and health, psychological disorders, ways of treating those disorders, sexual behavior, and the behavior of people in social settings such as groups and organizations.
All academic disciplines have their own concepts, and psychology is no exception. Because of the value of critical thinking and above topics of interest, the sub-fields of psychology are categorized into:
- Behavioral Genetics
- Behavioral Neuroscience
- Clinical Psychology
- Clinical Neuropsychology
- Cognitive Psychology
- Counseling Psychology
- Cross-cultural Psychology
- Developmental Psychology
- Educational Psychology
- Environmental Psychology
- Evolutionary Psychology
- Experimental Psychology
- Forensic Psychology
- Health Psychology
- Industrial/Organizational Psychology
- Personality Psychology
- Program Evaluation
- Psychology of Women
- School Psychology
- Social Psychology
- Sport Psychology
1. Behavioral Genetics
Behavioral genetics studies the inheritance of traits related to behavior.
2. Behavioral Neuroscience
Behavioral neuroscience examines the biological basis of behavior.
3. Clinical Psychology
Clinical psychology deals with the study, diagnosis, and treatment of psychological disorders.
4. Clinical Neuropsychology
Clinical neuropsychology unites the areas of biopsychology and clinical psychology, focusing on the relationship between biological factors and psychological disorders.
5. Cognitive Psychology
Cognitive psychology focuses on the study of higher mental processes.
6. Counseling Psychology
Counseling psychology focuses primarily on educational, social, and career adjustment problems.
7. Cross-cultural Psychology
Cross-cultural psychology investigates the similarities and differences in psychological functioning in and across various cultures and ethnic groups.
8. Developmental Psychology
Developmental psychology examines how people grow and change from the moment of conception through death.
9. Educational Psychology
Educational psychology is concerned with teaching and learning processes, such as the relationship between motivation and school performance.
10. Environmental Psychology
Environmental psychology considers the relationship between people and their physical environment.
11. Evolutionary Psychology
Evolutionary psychology considers how behavior is influenced by our genetic inheritance from our ancestors.
12. Experimental Psychology
Experimental psychology studies the processes of sensing, perceiving, learning, and thinking about the world.
13. Forensic Psychology
Forensic psychology focuses on legal issues, such as determining the accuracy of witness memories.
14. Health Psychology
Health psychology explores the relationship between psychological factors and physical ailments or disease.
15. Industrial/Organizational Psychology
Industrial/organizational psychology is concerned with the psychology of the workplace.
16. Personality Psychology
Personality psychology focuses on the consistency in people’s behavior over time and the traits that differentiate one person from another.
17. Program Evaluation
Program evaluation focuses on assessing large-scale programs, such as the Head Start preschool program, to determine whether they are effective in meeting their goals.
18. Psychology of Women
Psychology of women focuses on issues such as discrimination against women and the causes of violence against women.
19. School Psychology
School psychology is devoted to counseling children in elementary and secondary schools who have academic or emotional problems.
20. Social Psychology
Social psychology is the study of how people’s thoughts, feelings, and actions are affected by others.
21. Sport Psychology
Sport psychology applies psychology to athletic activity and exercise.