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3.1.2: Psychology Defined and Analyzed

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    Learning Objectives

    • Understand and apply
      • etymology

      • morphology

      • context

        To most effectively and efficiently understand the language in psychology textbooks, articles, and lectures.

        To expand vocabulary by noting words with which you may be unfamiliar (i.e. words in this presentation in redsuchas“honed”)

    Reading 100 Competencies 

    4. Effectively employ content area vocabulary. 

    5. Improve memory and concentration skills.  

    IV. Content Area Vocabulary 

    A. Vocabulary memory systems 

    B. Vocabulary Journals 

    C. Academic vocabulary development 


    Explores the origin of a word and provides the reader with a deeper understanding, (“true sense”) making it easier to remember and retrieve.

    Psychologyis from the Greek word parts psykhe"breath, spirit, soul” + -logia “study of”.  It was first used in the 15th and 16th centuries.


    Studies the parts that make a word, including affixes(prefixes/suffixes) and roots.

    Uses analytical skills and relies on knowledge of Greek and Latin.

    Psychologyis from the Greek word parts psych “mind” + -ology “study of”.  


    The spelling of the parts is the same and the meaning is consistent with modern use.

    Root = PSYCH


    • psyche
    • psychiatry
    • psychology
    • psychosis
    • psychologist(noun)
    • psychologically(adverb)
    • psychological (adjective)

    Suffixeschange the part of speech (verb, noun, etc.) of the root and can add greater detail. 


    When using word parts to understand a word’s meaning, stop and think of other words that have the same part and their meanings. It will help you effectively and efficiently arrive at the correct meaning of the word.


    • The situation in which the word is being used. 
    • Thecontextincludes all of the words that surround an unknown word to provide meaning that is specific to the author’s purpose.

    • The context may provide direct definitions or, instead,  indirect definitions on which you can surmise the meaning of the word.

    American Psychological Association (APA) Offers Extended Definition (Part 1) 

    • Psychology is a diverse discipline, grounded in science, but with countless applications to our  everyday lives. 

    • Some psychologists do basic research, developing and testing theoriesthrough carefully honed research methods involving observation, experimentation,andanalysis.

    • Otherpsychologists applythe discipline's scientific knowledge to help people, organizations and communities function better.

    American Psychological Association (APA) Offers Extended Definition (Part II) 

    “As psychological research yields new information, whether it's improved interventionsto treat depression or how humans interact with machines, these findings become part of the discipline's body of knowledge and are applied in work with patients and clients, in schools, in corporate settings, within the judicial system, even in professional sports.”

    American Psychological Association (APA) Offers Extended Definition (Part III)

    • Psychologyis a doctoral-level profession.

    • Psychologistsstudy both normal and abnormal functioning and treat patients with mental and emotional problems. They also study and encourage behaviors that build wellness and emotional resilience

    • Today, as the link between mind and body is well-recognized, more psychologistsare teaming with other health care providers to provide whole-person health care for patients.  

    Source:  The American Psychological Society. Web. 2014. Retrieved from  

    3.1.2: Psychology Defined and Analyzed is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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