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Psychology Debate Essay

Psychology is a human science and should thereby leave the study of biology to the biologists. Psychology, as defined by the APA is, ‘the study of the mind and behaviour’(APA, 2013), this definition states that psychology is indeed separate to that of biology as biology by definition is ‘the branch of science concerned with the structure, function, growth, evolution, and distribution of living and non-living organisms’ (biology online, 2013), this implies that the two are indeed two different disciplines which do not require interaction, as they are simply focusing on different things.

A good example of the two disciplines being separate, is psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis, a method of therapy developed by Freud and still used widely today, focuses on the subconscious and says that mental illness is caused by underlying traumas, repressed memories and unconscious desires. If these are brought to the surface, by the patient verbalising under hypnosis of these repressed, unconscious and underlying issues, it is thought that by uncovering them they will find answers.

Psychoanalysis has no foundations in biology and even as it has been expanded upon by people such as Adler and Jung, still does not believe that biology is relevant to psychology (Kandel, 1999). The simple fact that they are, still to this day, separate disciplines again reinforces that they are separate spheres of study and should remain that way.

AGAINST: Psychologists need an understanding of biology in order to treat patients, and understand concepts fully. Psychology could not be practiced if it was not for the fundamental biology that sets human beings apart from any other species. An understanding of the brain, body and how they function and there interactions and co-existence with psychological concepts such as mood, personality, emotions are integral and in fact, psychology needs a biological foundation and understanding to even begin to interpret psychological concepts (Weiten, 1992). When taking a closer look at the definitions mentioned previously, they both study life.

Since biology is the study of life psychology fits into this definition as psychologists too study life. In saying that, the study of life should not be left up to the biologists as they are typically concerned with the structure, function, growth, evolution and distribution of living and non-living organisms, whereas psychologists look deeper into the study of life, not just seeing it as a science but seeing it as an avenue to help and better people’s lives through understanding the fundamental biological workings of the brain.

But without an understanding of the human brain and body and how it functions psychologists would not be able to put these two disciplines together to achieve their outcomes. It is crucial for a psychologist to understand the work of biology in order to be an effective psychologist. Without a biological basis, there would be no way that psychology would even be a pro-active discipline. Diagnosing a patient today, requires the psychologist to be able to understand the biological forces which influence behaviour (Weiten, 1992).


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