Psychology for Nurses R Sreevani
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Introduction to PsychologyCHAPTER 1

Psychology is an offspring of subject philosophy. Psychology is a Greek word, ‘psychi’ and ‘logos’. ‘Psychi’ means ‘soul’ and ‘logos’ means the ‘study of’ or ‘knowledge’—study of soul. The word soul was used vaguely and there were many interpretations that could be given to it. Later on, William James used the term ‘mind’, which replaced ‘soul’. As years went by, the meaning of psychology changed. Those who studied, what was called ‘mind’ found that they could neither see it nor understand it. Seeing what it did meant they had to study the activities of human beings. The influence of physiology made some scientists like Wilhelm Wundt of Germany define psychology as the study of ‘consciousness’. However, this was also discarded in the course of time and the current definition of psychology, as the systematic study of human and animal ‘behavior’ came to be accepted (Figure 1.1).
‘Any manifestation of life is activity’ and behavior is a collective name for these activities. The term behavior includes the following:
  1. Motor or conative activities (walking, swimming, dancing, etc.)
  2. Cognitive activities (thinking, reasoning, imagining).
  3. Affective activities (feeling happy, sad, angry, etc.)
Behavior includes not only the conscious behavior and activities of the human mind, but also the subconscious and unconscious.
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Figure 1.1: Evolution of meaning of psychology
It covers not only the overt behavior, but also the covert behavior involving all the inner experiences and mental processes.
In a nutshell the term behavior refers to the entire life activities and experiences of all the living organisms (Table 1.1).
Psychology as a separate area of study, split away from philosophy a little over 100 years ago. The successes of the experimental method in the physical sciences encouraged some philosophers to think that mind and behavior could be studied with scientific methods. In 1879, the first psychological laboratory was established at the University of Leipzig by the German philosopher and psychologist Wilhelm Wundt (1832 – 1920). Wundt was the first to measure human behavior accurately and is known as the ‘Father of Psychology’.
William James, Wilhelm Wundt and other psychologists of the time thought of psychology as the study of mind. In the first decades of the twentieth 2century, psychologists came to hold quite different views about the nature of mind and the best way to study it. Schools of thought formed around these psychologists. These schools of thought are known as the schools of psychology.
This early school of psychology grew up around the ideas of Wilhelm Wundt in Germany and was established by one of Wundt's students, Edward B. Titchener (1867–1927). The goal of the structuralist was to find the units or elements, which make up the mind. The main method used to discover these elementary units of mind was introspection.
Gestalt Psychology
This school of psychology was founded in Germany around 1912 by Max Wertheimer (1880–1943) and his colleagues. These psychologists felt that structuralists were wrong in thinking of the mind, as being made up of elements. They argued that mind could be thought of as resulting from the whole pattern of sensory activity and the relationships and organizations within this pattern.
Functionalists such as John Dewey (1873–1954), James R. Angell (1869–1949) and Harvey Carr (1873–1954) proposed that psychology should do “what mind and behavior do”. The functionalists performed experiments on the ways in which learning, memory, problem solving and motivation help people and animals adapt to their environments.
This school of psychology originated with John B.Watson (1879–1958). He insisted that psychology should be restricted to the study of the activities of people and animals—their behavior.
Psychoanalysis was founded by Sigmund Freud (1856–1938). He developed a theory of behavior and mind, which said that much of what we do and think results from urges or drives, which seek expression in behavior and thought. It is the expression of the unconscious drives which shows up in behavior and thought. The term unconscious motivation thus describes the key idea of psychoanalysis (Table 1.2).
Table 1.1   Major perspectives of psychology
Biological perspective
Psychologists with a biological perspective try to relate people's behavior and mental events (as observed through their behavior) to functions of their bodies-especially to the activity of their nervous and glandular systems
Cognitive perspective
From the cognitive perspective, behavior and mind are to be understood in terms of the ways in which information from the environment received through the senses is processed. Such processing is the basis of the experience. Differences in the way we process information may lead to differences in behavior
Social perspective
Psychologists with a social perspective are interested in the interactions between and among people, which influence the mind and behavior
Developmental perspective
The developmental perspective is concerned with characteristic changes that occur in people, as they mature and change in the way they think
Humanistic perspective
The humanistic perspective emphasizes a person's sense of self and each individual's attempts to achieve personal competence and self-esteem. The aim of humanism is to help each person attain his full potential in life or to become all that he can become
Psychoanalytic perspective
The psychoanalytic (psychodynamic) perspective focuses on the unconscious motives and defence mechanisms, which manifest themselves in mental life and behavior
Table 1.2   Major landmarks in the development of psychology
Major landmarks
Wilhelm Wundt inaugurates first psychology laboratory in Leipzig, Germany
Principles of Psychology published by Williams James
Functionalist model formulated
Sigmund Freud develops the psychodynamic perspective
Ivan Pavlov wins Nobel prize for work on fundamental principles of learning
Strong emphasis on intelligence testing
John B.Watson, an early behaviorist, publishes Behaviorism
Carl Rogers publishes Client-Centered Therapy, helping to establish the humanistic perspective
B.F.Skinner publishes Science and Human Behavior, advocating the behavioral perspective
Abraham Maslow publishes Motivation and Personality, developing the concept of self-actualization
Leon Festinger publishes A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance, producing a major impact on social psychology
Increasing emphasis on cognitive perspective
Greater emphasis on multiculturalism and diversity
New subfields develop such as clinical neuropsychology and evolutionary psychology
Except for the modern version of behaviorism and psychoanalysis, the old schools of psychology are no more in existence. Psychology today is practiced as a blend of various methods. A modern day psychologist leans towards using one of the methods more than the other, but depends on all that has been developed in the past. Various viewpoints about what is important in understanding mental life and behavior, characterize the present outlook. Among these perspectives are the behavioral, biological, cognitive, social, developmental, humanistic and psychoanalytic aspects.
Psychology is an independent subject and a positive science. Psychology is also a biosocial science. It has an important relationship with both biological and social sciences. It may be considered as a link between the two groups. Study of psychology is necessary in the field of medicine, nursing and other areas of human endeavor.
Psychology is the science of human and animal behavior; it includes the application of behavioral science to human problems.
Psychology is the science of human behavior.
(Walter Bowers Pillsbury—1911)
Psychology is a science, which aims to give us better understanding and control of the behavior of the organism as a whole.
(William McDoughall—1949)
Psychology is a science and the properly trained psychologist is a scientist or at least a practitioner, who uses scientific methods or information resulting from scientific investigation.
(NL Munn—1967)
Psychology is the investigation of human and animal behavior and of the mental and physiological processes associated with the behavior.
The scope of a subject can usually be discussed under the following two headings:
  1. The limits of its operations and applications.
  2. The branches, topics and subject matter with which it deals.
The field of operation and applications of the subject psychology is too vast.
  1. It studies, describes and explains the behavior of living organisms.
  2. It describes all types of life activities and experiences—whether conative, cognitive or affective, implicit or explicit, conscious, unconscious and subconscious of a living organism.
  3. It studies not only human behavior, but also human experience, language and other forms of communication. Psychologists are interested in individual differences, either they be genetically determined or occurring as a result of learning. They study how individuals and society interact and how they behave as members of small and large groups.
  4. It employs to all the living creatures created by the almighty irrespective of their species, caste, color, age, sex, mental or physical state. Thus normal, abnormal, children, adolescents, youth, adults, old persons, criminals, patients, workers, officials, students, teachers, parents, consumers, etc. all are studied in the subject psychology.
  5. It also studies the behavior of the animals, insects, birds and plant life.
No limit can be imposed upon the scope of subject psychology. It has many branches, fields and subfields (Table 1.3). For convenience, it may be broadly divided into pure and applied psychology (Figure 1.2). Pure psychology provides the framework and theory. It deals with the formulation of psychological principles and theories. It suggests various methods and techniques for the analysis, assessment, modification and improvement of behavior.
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Figure 1.2: Branches of psychology
In applied psychology, the theory generated through pure psychology finds its practical shape. Here we discuss ways and means of the applications of psychological rules, principles, theories and techniques with reference to the real practical life situations.
Branches of Pure Psychology
General Psychology
General psychology deals with the fundamental rules, principles and theories of psychology in relation to the study of behavior of a normal adult.
Abnormal Psychology
Abnormal psychology deals with the behavior of individuals who are unusual. It studies mental disorders, their causes and treatment.
Social Psychology
Social psychology deals with the group behavior and interrelationships of people with other people (how an individual is influenced by others and how an individual influences others behavior). It studies various types of group phenomena such as public opinion, attitudes, beliefs and crowd behavior.
Table 1.3   Major subfields of psychology
Biopsychology examines how biological structures and functions of the body affect behavior
Clinical neuropsychology
Clinical neuropsychology unites the areas of biopsychology and clinical psychology, focusing on the relationship between biological factors and psychological disorders
Cognitive psychology
Cognitive psychology focuses on the study of higher mental processes
Counseling psychology
Counseling psychology focuses primarily on educational, social and career adjustment problems
Cross-cultural psychology
Cross-cultural psychology investigates the similarities and differences in psychological functioning in and across various cultures and ethnic groups
Environmental psychology
Environmental psychology considers the relationship between people and their physical environment, including how our physical environment affects our emotions and the amount of stress, we experience in a particular setting
Evolutionary psychology
Evolutionary psychology considers how behavior is influenced by our genetic inheritance from our ancestors
Experimental psychology
Experimental psychology studies the processes of sensing, perceiving, learning and thinking about the world
Forensic psychology
Forensic psychology focuses on legal issues, such as deciding on criteria for determining whether a defendant was legally sane at the time a crime was committed
Health psychology
Health psychology explores the relationship between psychological factors and physical ailments or disease
Personality psychology
Personality psychology focuses on the consistency in people's behavior overtime and the traits that differentiate one person from another
School psychology
School psychology is devoted to counseling children in elementary and secondary schools, who have academic or emotional problems
Sport psychology
Sport psychology applies psychology to athletic activity and exercise
Social psychologists study the ways in which individuals are affected by other people.
Physiological Psychology
This branch of psychology describes and explains the biological and physiological basis of behavior. It concerns the structure and functions of sense organs, nervous system, muscles and glands underlying all behavior. It emphasizes on the influence of bodily factors on human behavior.
Parapsychology deals with extra-sensory perceptions, causes of rebirth, telepathy and allied problems.
This branch of psychology describes and explains the relation of physical environment particularly weather, climate and soil with behavior.
Developmental Psychology
This branch of psychology describes the processes and factors that influence the growth and development in relation to the behavior of an individual from birth to old age. It is further subdivided into branches like child psychology, adolescent, adult and old age psychology. Development psychologists try to understand complex behaviors by studying their beginning and the orderly ways in which they change or develop over the lifespan.
Experimental Psychology
This branch of psychology studies the ways and means of carrying out psychological experiments by using scientific methods. Experimental psychologists do basic research in an effort to discover and understand the fundamental and general causes of behavior. They study basic processes such as learning, memory, sensation, perception and motivation.
Branches of Applied Psychology
Educational Psychology
Educational psychology is a branch of applied psychology, which tries to apply the psychological principles, theories and techniques to human behavior in educational situations. The subject matter of this branch covers psychological ways and means of improving all aspects of the teaching/learning process. Educational psychologists are most often involved in the increase in efficiency of learning in schools by applying psychological knowledge about learning and motivation.
Clinical Psychology
This is the largest subfield of psychology. This branch of applied psychology describes the causes of mental illness, abnormal behavior of a patient and suggests treatment and effective adjustment of the affected person in society.
Industrial Psychology
This branch of applied psychology tries to seek application of the psychological principles, theories and techniques for the study of human behavior in relation to industrial environment. Industrial psychologists apply psychological principles to assist public and private organizations with their hiring and placement programs, the training and supervision of their personnel and the improvement of communication within the organization. They also counsel employees within the organization, who need help with their personal problems.
Legal Psychology
Legal psychology is a branch of applied psychology, which tries to study the behavior of persons like clients, criminals, witnesses, etc. with the help of applications of psychological principles and techniques. The root cause of crime, offence, dispute or any legal case can be properly understood through the use of this branch of psychology.
Military Psychology
This branch of psychology is concerned with the use of psychological principles and techniques in military science. How to keep the morale of the soldiers and citizens high during war time, how to secure better recruitment of the personnel for the fighting capacities and organizational climate and leadership, etc. are the various topics that are dealt with in this branch of psychology.
Political Psychology
This branch of psychology relates itself with the use of psychological principles and techniques in studying politics and deriving political gains.
Applications of Psychology
In the Field of Education
Theories of learning, motivation and personality, etc. have been responsible for shaping and designing the educational system according to the needs and requirements of the students. The application of psychology in the field of education has helped the learners to learn, the teachers to teach, administrators to administer and educational planners to plan effectively and efficiently.
In the Field of Medicine
A doctor, nurse or any person who attends the patient, needs to know the science of behavior to achieve good results. Psychology has contributed valuable therapeutic measures like behavior therapy, play therapy, group therapy, psychoanalysis, etc. for the diagnosis and cure of patients suffering from psychosomatic, as well as mental diseases.
In the Field of Business and Industry
It has highlighted the importance of knowledge of consumer's psychology and harmonious interpersonal relationship in the field of commerce and industry.
In the Field of Criminology
It has helped in detection of crimes and in dealing with criminals.
In the Field of Politics
It has proved useful to the politicians and leaders to learn the qualities of leadership for leading the masses.
In the Filed of Guidance and Counseling
It has provided valuable help in relation to guidance and counseling in educational, personal as well as vocational areas.
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Figure 1.3: Application of psychology in various fields
In the Field of Military Science
Psychology helps in the selection, training, promotion and classification of defense personnel. In fighting the enemy, the morale of the defense personnel and of citizens must at all costs be high and this can only be achieved by providing suggestions, insight and confidence.
In the Field of Human Relationship and Self-Development
Finally it has helped human beings to learn the art of understanding their own behavior, seeking adjustment with their self and others and enhancing, as well as actualizing their potentialities to the utmost possible (Figure 1.3).
Psychology has become necessary in every profession including nursing today. This is because of increasing emphasis being laid out on the interplay of body, mind and spirit in the health status of every individual.
The success in life of many people depends on how they get along with others, influence others and react to others. The ability to understand ourselves and others comes from a wise study of psychology.
The learning of psychology helps a nurse in the following ways:
To Understand Her Own Self
The knowledge of psychology will help the nurse to get an insight into her own motives, desires, emotions, feelings, attitudes, personality characteristics and ambitions. She will realize how her personality is highly individualistic and complex, arrives at decisions in her life and solves her own problems. This knowledge also helps her to understand her strengths and weaknesses. By knowing these aspects, she can not only try to overcome such weaknesses, which affect her work, but also develop good personality characteristics, abilities to carry on her responsibilities and perform her duties effectively and efficiently. This will let her direct her own life more productively and relate more easily with others, enabling her to control situations and attain self-discipline.
To Understand Patients
The nurses are professionals meant for providing care to patients. The patient may be suffering from acute or chronic disease; may be male or female, young or old and come to the hospital with so many physical and psychological problems. They may also have tensions, worries, pains and also many doubts about their illness. The knowledge of psychology will help the nurse to understand the problems and needs of patients and attend to them. She can understand the motives, attitudes, perceptions and personality characteristics of patients in a better way. This will help the patient to attain quick relief and cure, which is the basic motto of a nurse.
To Recognize Abnormal Behavior
Psychology is relevant not only in physical health care, but also highly relevant in the field of mental health. Presently more and more people are suffering from mental illness. While some patients may have minor problems, others suffer with serious illness. The knowledge of psychology will help nurses to understand abnormal behaviors and help the patient in management of mental illnesses. Nurses working in mental hospitals definitely need an adequate knowledge of normal and abnormal psychology.
The knowledge of psychology helps the nurses in recognizing mental illnesses at general hospitals and community health centers and provide appropriate guidance to deal with stress, anxiety and other life problems.
To Understand Other People
The student nurse has to study, work and live with other nurses, doctors, patients and their family members. With her scientific knowledge of human nature, she will understand them better and thus achieve greater success in interpersonal relationships. She will learn why others differ from her in their likes and dislikes, in their interests and abilities or in their reactions to others. She will realize how differences in behavior to some extent, are due to differences in customs and beliefs or cultural patterns of the groups to which she belongs or to the way she has been brought up during her early years.
To Provide Quality Care to Patients
A nurse with good knowledge of human psychology can understand what fears or anxieties the patient faces, what he feels, what he would like to know and why he behaves the way he does. It will help the nurse to anticipate and meet requirements of the patients and his relatives, thus help patients and relatives adjust to the unavoidable circumstances in the best possible way. A good understanding of these patients by the nurse can be of best support to him.
Help Patients Adjust to the Situation
Illness and physical handicaps often bring about the need for major adjustments. Many diseases such as heart disease and cancer, etc. require special coping skills and health care. A nurse trained in psychology can be an effective health educator and help in these kind of adjustments.
Help the Student Nurse to Appreciate the Necessity for Changing the Environment or Surroundings
Good nursing care depends upon the ability of a nurse to understand the situations properly and 9also in obtaining the cooperation of other people concerned. The change in the environment is sometimes necessary for better adjustment and happiness. For example, a boy who is completely denied the affectionate care of his parents may do better if he is given the care of foster parents.
Help for Effective Studying
The nurse has to learn many new things during her training. She has to obtain the knowledge of correct facts about disease conditions and their treatment. The study of psychology of learning will help the nurse to acquire knowledge in an effective way.
Every profession and career requires readjustment. A nurse needs to make the following kinds of adjustments for success in the nursing career:
  1. Overcoming homesickness and self-reliance is needed if she has to live smoothly in a hostel or a hospital.
  2. Adjusting to sick persons, who may cry or be desperate or even ventilate their anger by making the nurse a target of their abuses and curses.
  3. Trying to work and study together.
In these efforts knowledge of psychology can be helpful, as an insight into the emotions will clear lots of problems. The well-being of a patient is the prime responsibility of a nurse. She must not only treat him physically, but also instill confidence in his capacity to improve and recover fully. For this, knowledge of human psychology is essential. The physical and mental well-being of a patient mainly depends on the nurse. She has to deal with different people having different problems both physical and mental. To serve them satisfactorily, knowledge of psychology is quite essential.
Psychology is termed as the scientific study of human behavior. Special tools and procedures help us in gathering and organizing its subject matter or the essential facts about behavior. These procedures are termed as methods, which are used to study human behavior (Figure 1.4). They are as under:
Introspection or Self-observation Method
This is one of the oldest methods of psychology. Introspection means ‘to look within’. This is also known as self-observation method. It is not possible to understand the inner feelings and experiences of other persons. Here the subject is asked to systematically observe his own behavior and report the same; this is later analyzed to understand behavior. For example, a patient after an operation may be asked to report how he feels. The patient will try to look within and recall what happened and how he is presently feeling. This information will help for better treatment. This is the characteristic method of psychology, which is not available to other natural sciences.
  1. Introspection is the fundamental method of psychology. Observation and experimentation are based upon introspection.
    zoom view
    Figure 1.4: Methods of psychology
  2. 10Introspection gives us direct, immediate and exact knowledge of our own mental processes.
  3. It enables us to fully understand the behavior of an individual.
  4. This method is inexpensive, easy and does not require any apparatus or laboratory.
  1. This method is not applicable for children or animals or mentally retarded people, because they cannot introspect.
  2. It is a purely private affair and cannot be verified by other observers.
  3. In many cases, the patients may not have the insight to know about their conditions or language to describe them accurately.
  4. Introspection sometimes involves attention to a mental process (Example: perception), which is produced by an external object. When we attend to the mental process, we withdraw attention from the object and as soon as we withdraw attention from the object the mental process vanishes, thus making introspection impossible.
All the difficulties of introspection can be overcome by habit and discipline of mind. It requires a power of abstraction and mental alertness.
Observational Method
Observation is the objective method of studying the behavior of individuals. It consists of, perception of an individual's behavior under natural conditions by the other individuals and the interpretation and analyzes of this perceived behavior by them. It is essentially a way of perceiving the behavior as it is. In this method the observer observes and collects the data. Example, in the hospital the nurse makes an observation of patient's temperature, pulse, blood pressure, facial expressions, restlessness, etc. to understand clinical condition of the patient.
Steps in Observation Method
  1. Observation of behavior
  2. Noting of behavior
  3. Interpretation and analysis of behavior
  4. Generalization
  1. It is economical, natural, as well as flexible.
  2. The data, which is studied through observation can be analyzed, measured, classified and interpreted.
  3. The results can be verified and relied.
  4. Observation method is quite suitable for observing developmental characteristics like children's habits and interests. For example, the effect of absence of a mother or father or both on the child's development can be determined properly through observing the development of such deprived children.
  1. There are chances of subjective report and also prejudices of observer may creep in.
  2. Sometimes to observe the natural behavior the observer may have to spend more time, energy and money.
  3. It lacks repeatability, as each natural situation can occur only once.
  4. Not being able to establish a proper cause-and- effect relationship.
The difficulties of observation method are overcome by cultivating an impartial attitude of mind, by constructive imagination and cautious observation.
Experimental Method
Experimental method is considered as the most scientific and objective method of studying behavior. The word experiment comes from a Latin word meaning ‘to try’, ‘put to test’. Therefore, in experimentation we try or put to test the material or phenomenon, the characteristics of consequences of which we wish to ascertain. The use of this method has raised psychology to the status of an experimental science like physics, chemistry and physiology.
In psychology, experimental study is used to study the cause-and-effect relationship regarding the nature of human behavior, i.e. the effect of anxiety on the human behavior. To study the cause-and-effect relationship the psychologists use objective observations under controlled conditions to observe 11actions or behaviors of individuals. From these observations certain conclusions are drawn and theories or principles established.
Essential Features of Experimental Method
  1. Requires two persons, the experimenter and the subject or the person, whose behavior is observed.
  2. Experimentation should be done on living organisms.
  3. All experiments are conducted under controlled conditions.
Steps in Experimentation
  1. Stating the problem: The first step in an experiment is stating the problem. For example, to study the effects of smoking on physical and mental health of students.
  2. Formulation of hypothesis: Hypothesis is a tentative answer to the problem. For the above example, the hypothesis can be–smoking is harmful for physical and mental health of students. This hypothesis will be tested.
  3. To find out independent and dependent variables: The effect of which we want to study will be called independent variable and the other the dependent variable. The independent variable stands for the cause and dependent variable is characterized as the effect of the cause. In the above example physical and mental health will be dependent variables and smoking will be an independent variable.
  4. Arranging the environment: Under controlled environment the variables are objectively observed. For example, physical and mental health of students (who are smoking) will be observed. In experimentation, it is important that only the specified independent variables be allowed to change. Factors other than the independent variable must be held constant.
  5. Analysis of the results: Generally the subjects of the experiment are divided into two groups, one controlled and the other experimental. They can be compared statistically. For example, smoker's and non-smokers mental and physical health can be compared.
  6. Testing of the hypothesis by the result of experiment: The results may prove or disprove the hypothesis.
The various steps involved in experimental method have been depicted by way of a flow chart (Figure 1.5).
  1. Scientific method
  2. Finds out cause and effect relationship
  3. Maximum control of phenomena
  4. Repetition is possible
  1. All problems of psychology cannot be studied by this method, as we cannot perform experiments for all the problems.
  2. Experimental method is a costly and time consuming method. Moreover handling of this method demands specialized knowledge and skill. In the absence of such expertise this method is not functional.
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    Figure 1.5: Various steps of experimental method
  3. 12Experimental method fails to study behavior in naturalistic conditions.
  4. It cannot always be used especially if the experiment might be dangerous to the subjects.
In spite of various limitations it is a fact that, the results obtained by experimental method are reliable, verifiable, definite, precise and capable of quantitative treatment than those obtained by the use of other methods.
Clinical or Case History Method
This method is used by clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric social workers in child guidance clinics or mental hygiene clinics and the allied institutions. It aims at studying the cause and basis of people's anxieties, fears and personal maladjustments. A great deal of relevant data is collected by using case histories, interviews, home visits and psychological tests to draw valid inferences about the nature of the individual's difficulties and problems, the probable origin and course of development. This may suggest some course of action to be pursued in helping the individual.
In this technique information is collected from the memory of the individual, his parents, members of his family, friends, teachers and all other available records and reports. The information includes the past history of the disease, treatment already taken, changes if any like improvement, present condition, probable causes, signs and symptoms, etc.
  1. Case histories will give the clinician an insight into the causes of the problem and suggest possible solutions.
  2. Case studies can be productive sources of ideas for further investigation by other methods.
The case history method depends largely on memory of incidents, which may have been observed inaccurately or over interpreted.
Survey Method
All problems in psychology cannot be studied by the experimental and other methods. Some problems like study of opinions, attitudes, health care needs, etc. can be studied by means of survey method. This is commonly employed in social psychology.
The survey method involves collection or gathering of information from a large number of people by using questionnaires, inventories, checklists, rating scales and interviews.
A large amount of data can be collected in a shorter time.
The behavior is not observed directly.
Genetic or Developmental Method
Psychologists study not only the behavior of an individual at a particular time, but also his development from birth to death, the influence of heredity and environment in the development of the person and conditions favorable and unfavorable for normal and abnormal behavior. For example, to understand the learning behavior of an adult, the study will start from the childhood and adolescence. This can be done by two ways:
  1. Cross-sectional study in which, the children of different age groups will be studied simultaneously.
  2. Longitudinal study in which, the same child will be studied in different stages of life.
This is a more useful method to understand the behavior from point of view of hereditary and environmental influences.
This method requires more time and energy.
Long Essays
  1. Define psychology and explain in detail the methods in psychology. (Mar 2012)
  2. Define psychology. Explain methods of observation and case study. (Mar 2009)
  3. Define psychology. Explain its nature and scope with reference to nursing. (Mar 2009)
  4. Discuss various methods of psychology used to study the behavior. (Oct 2007)
  5. Define psychology and explain its nature and scope with special reference to nursing. (Mar 2012, Oct 2007, April 2006, 2004, Nov 2003)
  6. Critically examine observation method and experimental method—explain. (April 2005)
  7. Define psychology. What are the different methods used in the study of psychology. Critically evaluate them. (Mar 2004)
Short Essays
  1. Explain any two branches of psychology. (Mar 2012)
  2. Scope of psychology in nursing profession. (Mar 2011)
  3. Case study method. (Aug 2010)
  4. Relevance of psychology to nursing. (Mar 2009)
  5. Describe merits and demerits of experimental method. (Mar 2009)
  6. Explain case study method. (Aug 2009)
  7. Explain the relevance of psychology to nursing. (Aug 2009)
  8. Explain experimental method in psychology. (Mar 2012, April 2008)
  9. Bring out the similarities and differences between introspection and observation. (April 2008)
  10. What is the general importance of psychology? Why should a student nurse study psychology? (Oct 2007)
  11. Discuss the scope of psychology. (Apr 2006)
  12. Define psychology. What are the different methods used in the study of psychology? (2004)
  13. Discuss introspection its advantages and limitation as a method of psychology. (Nov 2003)
Short Answers
  1. Write any two definitions of psychology. (Mar 2012)
  2. Child psychology. (Aug 2010)
  3. Methods of psychology. (Mar 2009)
  4. Define any two branches of psychology. (Mar 2009)
  5. Case history method. (April 2008)
  6. List the branches of psychology. (Oct 2007)
  7. Behavior. (Oct 2007) (Nov 2003)
  8. Interview method. (Oct 2006)
  9. Experimental method. (April 2005)
  10. What is introspection? (2004, Nov 2003)
  11. Observation method. (2004)
  12. Definition of psychology. (Nov 2003)