Scope of Experimental Psychology
Scope of Experimental Psychology
Scope of a field refers to the future a particular career holds, how it is applied, its value and importance in the society. Scope varies with culture, geography, technological advancements and some other factors. All in all, scope can be briefly defined as the pulls and pushes related to a field.
Experimental psychology is the most important branch of psychology. The credit for establishing psychology on a scientific basis goes to experimental method. This method is now being used more and more in psychological studies.
SCOPE OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY:
The scope of Experimental Psychology is widening with the invention of new tools and instruments for experiments. Therefore, it is in the fitness of things that experimental psychology constitutes compulsory part of courses of psychology for the under-graduate and post-graduate students in universities everywhere in the world.
Experimental Psychology studies external behavior as well as the internal processes of the different stages of human development. Only those phenomenon fall outside its field which cannot be studied in controlled situations. The most important areas covered by experimental psychology include psycho-physics, animal psychology, learning psychology, psychology of individual differences, child psychology, educational psychology, clinical psychology and industrial psychology etc.
Due to the development of experimental psychology, other branches of psychology have managed to also develop their breadth of knowledge.
HISTORY OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY:
Experimental psychology emerged in Germany. Wilhelm Wundt introduced a mathematical and experimental approach to the field by establishing the first psychological laboratory at Leipzig and encouraged psychological experiments. He is widely regarded as the “father of experimental psychology[->0]”. Other early experimental psychologists, include Herman[->1] Von Helmhotz, Mckeen Cattel and Edward Titchener[->2], who included introspection[->3] among their experimental methods. Modern psychology began with the adoption of experimental methods at the end of the nineteenth century. The researches of Charles Bell and Ernst Heinrich Weber in nerves and sense of touch kinesthesis respectively also helped in the early development of experimental psychology although they were not psychologists.
Gustav Fechner wrote what is considered to be the first work of experimental psychology in 1860 called Elemente der Psychophysik. Some historians believe that the beginning of experimental psychology begin in 1860 with Fechner’s publication of Elements.. A lot of his research focused on thresholds as well as just noticeable differences. He also established several methods to explore the mind-body relationship. The Würzburg School is a cornerstone of experimental psychology history. It was founded by a group of psychologists led by Oswald Külpe. They provided alternative ideas to what Edward Titchener and Wilhelm Wundt had proposed at the time. Their main focus of study was of mental operations, specifically mental set (Einstellung) and imageless thought.
EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY IN PAKISTAN:
The first teacher of Experimental Psychology, Qazi Muhammad Aslam had the degree in Philosophy but had spent several months at the University of Calcutta to get training in Experimental Psychology under Prof. San Gupta, a well known figure in Psychology. Later on, he went to Cambridge for higher studies where he studied under F.C.Bartlett, a Psychologist who was very well known for his original work on Memory and whose book on Remembering has since become a classic. Bartlett had succeeded Sir C.S.Myers who had organized the National Institute of Industrial Psychology in London. Mayer’s was quite famous for his two volumes book on Experimental Psychology – probably the first of its kind. It has been the sole text for a very long time.
Professor Dr. Shahabuddin Muhammad Moghni, founder of Psychology Department at the University of Peshawar, was the sole person who looked after the administration as well as teaching and researches. In 1965-66, the Department was able to purchase some text books and laboratory equipment and began to hum with Experimental and Testing activities. A new building for this Department was considered a must by the University because its activities had greatly expanded. The present building is the outcome of that great-felt need and was designed specially as Psychology Department. The Department moved in here in 1972 and started expanding in terms of Faculty members, Seminar Library, Laboratory Equipment and Psychological Tests etc. The Department presently offers specialization in Experimental Psychology and in other branches as well. The Department is also equipped with a laboratory for experimentation and also publishes a research journal Khyber Behavioral Studies[->4]. The progress of Experimental Psychology can be judged from the psychological Journals which are appearing since 1950.
The Journal of Psychology renamed as the Psychology Quarterly from the Government College, Lahore began its publication from 1962 and an Urdu Journal called “Zehan” from the same College from 1978. The Department of Psychology of the University of Karachi is publishing the Pakistan Journal of Psychology from 1978. These Journals generally publish research articles. The Zehn is giving due attention to the Muslim Contributions to the Psychology, especially their psychotherapeutic techniques. A popular quarterly magazine in English and Urdu called “Psyche” is appearing regularly from Lahore since 1978. In view of its great demand by the public it is now to be converted into a monthly magazine. Three of the earliest journals are: the Pakistan Journal of Psychological Research (PJPR), the Pakistan Journal of Psychology (PJP), and the Journal of Behavioral Sciences (JBS).
Both Pakistan Psychological Studies and Psychology Quarterly have ceased publication. In 1982, Z. A. Ansari analyzed a sample of the articles published in Pakistan journals between 1965 and 1980. He found that 50% were of purely theoretical nature, 7% were case studies, while 43% were empirical. The present author generated seven broad areas of research articles published in three Pakistan journals between 1986 and 1996. Clinical studies are now at the top of the list and social-psychological research occupies second place. Psychological testing and industrial-organizational studies have middle positions, and cross-cultural research oc-cupies the lowest position. Between 1986 and 1996 there was major emphasis on clinical research, particularly in the Pakistan Journal of Psychology. The numbers of researches the departments of Pakistani Universities are producing and all the other work related to psychology which is going on, nearly prove the old prediction that the 20th century is going to be that of Psychology.
EXPERIMENTS CONDUCTED IN PAKISTAN:
The overview of experiments published in the Pakistani Journals in the last 20 to 25 years gives the idea that they are mostly based on factors which cause depression, anxiety or stress and the determinants that might affect a child’s psychological well being. “Relationship between anxiety and depression” was the experiment conducted in June 91. In Jun- Dec 93, the experiment of “Marriage and mental illness in females” determined the relationship between marital status and mental illness in females. “Effects of child labour on the attitudes of children” was the study on the effects of child labour on the attitudes and adjustment of children up to 15 years of age, carried on in the same year. From the journal of Jan- July 94, two of the total experiments included “Effects of Cognitive behavior Therapy on depression” which was conducted as there was no previous literature available in this regard.
“Maternal deprivation and depressive mood” was another experiment which was conducted in the same year to study the depressive mood of those who had experienced death of their mother in early childhood. Then in June- December 94, an experiment on the level of depression in married working women and housewives was conducted by the name of “Level of depression in working and non-working married women. To study the effect of anxiety on the perception of structured vs. unstructured and familiar vs. unfamiliar situations an experiment named “Effect of anxiety on the perception of ambiguous and unfamiliar stimuli” was conducted in June- Dec 97.
In Jun-Dec 2000, to study the relationship between life stress and blood sugar levels of diabetic sample there was an experiment on “Life stress and diabetes: a congruency hypothesis”. June 2005 had two experiments based on parenting: “Presence or absence of Father’s love and personality development of the child” and “Mother’s dysfunctional attitude and depressive symptoms in children”. The former showing how presence or absence of father’s love affects the personality development of male and female child in the city of Hyderabad, and the latter was to demonstrate that Mother’s dysfunctional beliefs is an important factor in the development of depressive symptoms in Adult children.
MY EXPERIMENT IN FUTURE:
Religion has always been a controversial topic. Not many people take the initiative to conduct research on that, especially in Pakistan. The ideas associated with religion have always fascinated me, like how religion can change some one’s life, to what extent it affects a person’s everyday activities and thoughts, how it helps a person in dealing with the problems, what makes a person follow his religion religiously etc. Since it is a vast topic and it would be difficult to assess the results if I try to cover many aspects related to religion, I can start my research with a very basic idea. My topic of research would be: Who has a better life: the atheists or the theists? I would hypothesize it this way “ The firmer your belief on God, the happier you would be.” By providing questionnaires to the people, in which each question will have a rating scale (1 to 10) it will be easy to evaluate the result. For example: My first question can be: Do you believe in God? If yes, then how much? Now the rating scale would not only help the subject by rating his belief on God but it would also help me to see the degree to which a person trusts God.
The other questions in the experiment can be related to religion and a person’s happiness. Eg. How good you feel after going to the church/mosque etc. Also, there can be a question like do you think your life would have been happier if you had firmer believe on God (for people who would have their believes below 5). This would tell me how many people want to acquire it but are unable to develop the faith. The questionnaires would be given to any person regardless of his/her religion, cast, creed and even age. As with different ages, I would be able to see the trend of varying religious beliefs and the level of happiness as it changes with age. I would also be able to compare the results of children, adolescents, middle age and old people. Disclosing views about religion is something very personal and many people fear of being questioned on their belief, especially in our conservative and extremist society. That is why, the questionnaire would be strictly confidential, with the only personal information which the subject would have to mention would be his/her age and gender. Human beings are always running after happiness.
And if they get to know one of the ways to achieve that, they would readily adopt it (especially when it conforms their beliefs and stereotypes). As my ultimate aim had always been to change people’s lives for the better, I would get a chance to do that with the results of this study (or even the lives of people around me) .If my study confirms the hypothesis, that is, the firmer a person believes in God the happier he would be, it would be easier to address this as one of the solutions to one’s happiness. However, if the results contradict the study, of course, I would not be able to be very open about it. I will use the results of this research to further explore the topics on which I can conduct research related to religion in the future. Thus, my present study would be a co-relational study using the survey method.
RESEARCHES RELATED TO RELIGION IN THE PAST:
The most prominent research which was found regarding religion in Pakistan was “Stereotypes and Madrassas : Experimental Evidence from Pakistan” in June 2011. The experiment was about randomly matching male students from institutions of three distinct religious tendencies and socioeconomic background—Madrassas, Islamic Universities, and Liberal Universities—and observe their actions in several experiments of economic decision-making. There is also an international journal in Britain by the name of “British Journal of religious education” for the dissemination of international research in religion and education and for the scholarly discussion of issues concerning religion and education internationally. BJRE aims to promote and report research and scholarship in religious education and related fields such as values education, spiritual education and intercultural education insofar as they relate to the discussion of religion or religious traditions and movements.
http://mitpress.mit.edu/catalog/item/default.asp?ttype=2&tid=11107 http://psychology.about.com/od/researchmethods/u/psychology-experiments.htm http://www.upesh.edu.pk/academics/Departments/pschology/pschology.htm http://www.google.com.pk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=development%20of%20psychology%20in%20pakistan&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CDEQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fpakeducationsite.com%2Feducation%2Farticles%2FEducation%2520in%2520Pakistan%2FDevelopment%2520of%2520Psychology%2520in%2520PAKISTAN.doc&ei=SpNLT5qKNonRrQfK3636Ag&usg=AFQjCNHeVT7coWuzbMaLZ5oyfHwzhD-rDg http://books.google.com.pk/books?id=f8fJu3jSXJ0C&pg=PA10&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=4#v=onepage&q&f=false http://www.newyorkfed.org/research/staff_reports/sr501.pdf
Document: Development of Psychology in PAKISTAN
[->0] – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Experimental_psychology [->1] – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermann_Ebbinghaus
[->2] – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Titchener
[->3] – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Introspection
[->4] – http://psychology.upesh.edu.pk/kbs.html
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 26 December 2016
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