Posted in Psychology

Psychology: Myths and Misconceptions

Ever since I started Psychology I have noticed that a lot of people have preconceived idea of the topic, what you learn and what exactly it involves. So I wanted to make a sort of “Psychology for Dummies” post and talk about the topic and some of the myths that surround it. I asked my boyfriend and a few family members what they thought it involved and have decided to talk about some of the things that they said. I hope you enjoy it and I hope that you learn a little something!

You Analyse Dreams and Body Language
Sorry to disappoint you but no, we don’t do anything like this. In fact I have never had a lecture on body language or dreams, same as at a-level. Though, we do have to know about Sigmund Freud who is the creator of Dream analysis, we don’t actually have to analyse dreams as this is a very outdated part of psychology. Body language is still around today and I do find it quite interesting to read about, but it is very subjective and not often used in Psychology.

It’s an Easy Subject
If you go into Psychology thinking that it’s an “easy option” you’re going to struggle, especially at A-Level. One of the topics is Biological Psychology which is all about how things inside the body relate to behaviour, you have to know about the parts of the brain and how the chemicals work around it and what this does to behaviour as well as damages to parts of the brain and what this does. Furthermore, you have to know statistics which is a form of maths, incredibly difficult and hard to get your head round, especially if you don’t like maths in the first place.I’ll give you an example of a question which I have to answer for a piece of coursework:


“Provide an account of somatosensory perception, from the transduction of environmental energies at the skin surface to their representation in the cortex; explain two differences between discriminative and emotional somatosensation. “

There are a lot of Psychological studies that you need to know about and a lot of different research methods and ethics. It’s very much more of a science nowadays than it used to be, which is why it is now classed as a bachelor of science at degree level.

You only Learn about Mental Health
You do learn about mental health, I actually have a module this year called “abnormal Psychology” which is all about mental health such as schizophrenia, anxiety, depression and even a lecture on Serial Killer’s. But I also have other topics, this year my modules include:

  • Research Methods and Statistics 2: As I am in my second year this is my second module on research methods and statistics this is where I learn about how to conduct experiments and analysis.
  • Biological, Cognitive and Developmental: This consists of three areas of psychology and have several weeks on each, I had a few weeks on Developmental Psychology which is all about children and how they develop and learn e.g. how children learn to read. I have just finished Biological Psychology which is all about the brain and how it works, I did about things like the visual system and neuroanatomy. My final topic will be Cognitive Psychology which is all about the way we think, this will include things such as perception, memory and attention.
  • Social and Individual Differences: This is again the same as Bio, Cognitive and Developmental as we spend a few weeks on each topic, I did Individual Differences from September to December which is all about things which are entirely different from person to person such as intelligence and personality. I am now on Social Psychology which is about how we interact with each other and the world, this involves learning about things like aggression and relationships.
  • Psychology in Application 2: This was a module I also did in my first year and is all about setting you up for work, theres a programme called “World of Work” that gives you different stages to complete to help prepare you for work such as writing a cv/cover letter. The lectures on this module come from people in the world of Psychology and saying exactly what their job involves, last week we had a lecture from a Forensic Psychologist and then an Occupational Psychologist.
As you can see there is a wide range of topics that are covered in Psychology and these are just my second year modules.
It’s not Scientific
I have to admit, at A level, I never thought that Psychology was a science, I never thought that it had anything to do with it and wasn’t really sure where it came under. But when I started my degree I realised how much you need to know about the body (more specifically the brain), people and the world. There is actually a lot of work surrounding numbers and a special program on the computer that is used to analyse the data objectively and accurately after conducting a piece of research. I’ve been able to apply my knowledge quite well in a lot of other areas.
You Know What People Are Thinking/Feeling
Not even slightly true, Psychology is not the same as being psychic nor are we taught anything to do with hypnosis or manipulation, so don’t worry if you ever meet a Psychology student! The only thing we will be able to do is tell you why you behave/think in a certain way and also what part of the brain might be causing it and even then we probably won’t always know the answer.
I think I have covered everything that I have heard about, If you have any questions about the Psychology feel free to ask!

7 thoughts on “Psychology: Myths and Misconceptions

  1. Knowing what people are thinking? That would make you psychic. LOL

    I'm fascinated by the mind and the thought process behind it. How we're all so different, yet can share similar thoughts. It's baffling. It's almost as big a notion as 'the meaning of life'. I've had to study the social hierarchy too, the whole nature verses nurture debate. I think a lot of people would see psychology as an easy study and career, but it really is quite the opposite isn't it.

    Loving these features, even if you can tell me why I keep dreaming I'm locked in a shopping center ❤


  2. Exactly! The amount of times I've told someone I'm a Psychology student and had a response of “So what am i thinking?” it makes me laugh every time!

    Yeah same! I'm interested in Forensic Psychology because of the nature nurture debate and I just want to know how/why criminals can do the things that they do, one of the reasons being Psychopathy which is so interesting!

    Thank you! And haha well I do have a dream dictionary 😛 Going against this post but hey it's a bit of fun! It says being trapped means you are holding on to behaviours/habits that no longer benefit you, maybe it's something to do with shopping? 😛


  3. I tried to read the question you're supposed to answer for your coursework and my brain just went “durrrrr” hahaha! So many fancy words. I didn't think any of these things about psychology, but it surprises me that so many people do. I still think it's a very interesting subject and would like to know more, but… statistics? *runs away*
    Great post!


  4. Probably extremely cheeky for me to ask but I'm going to anyway 😛 I need to answer the same question you mentioned in this blog (somatosensory perception) and im struggling will you be able to point me in the right direction? Please! If not thanks anyway 🙂 x


  5. I shall take that as a compliment as I know the question, yay! 😛 So many people think these things, happens way too often that i'm asked to read someones mind XD and yes statistics is very difficult! Probably what people don't realise is in psychology 😛


  6. I would recommend looking at papers by Francis McGlone, he was my lecturer and they're really easy to follow, he did a paper on the differences between discriminative and emotional somatosensation, they should help a lot! If you have a lot of time you should get a book called Biological Psychology by Frederick Toates to help explain things really simply but just look at the papers if you don't have enough time 🙂


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