The Importance of Studying Psychology

Psychology allows insight into how the human mind functions as well as other contributors to motivation. Not only is psychology useful for those studying the field, but it is also beneficial for the majority of the population. Perhaps more than ever, psychology contains important knowledge for future generations.

For instance, one might consider the health risks people face. People are educated on how to protect children from predators, when to see a doctor, what to do in an emergency, etc. They are protected from physical harms, generally, but emotional harms are important as well. Now we are seeing people informed about the importance of reporting emotional abuse, the effects of punishment techniques on the psychology of children, and when to suspect a mental illness is occurring.

However, psychology is still used with the focus of preventing personal harm, be it psychological or physical. Unfortunately, there are indirect contributions that harm individuals that are widely ignored. Knowing the psychology is important for protecting society and oneself from dangers. The psychology of individuals is now being used as a tool to manipulate.

If someone puts some dangerous substances in a punch bowl, it might only slightly harm a few people. It might cause the death of others through unknown complications. There are many possibilities. This is punished, but advertising, politics, and other arenas are given a license to do as they please. People are under the false belief that they are in complete control of their psychology and choices. While they have influence, mental illness and other situations clearly reveal people can be limited by biology. Furthermore, almost anyone can fall victim to psychological tendencies.

For example, many people are manipulated into supporting a cause through things like “support our troops.” This puts war opponents in an unfair position because “support” is interpreted in many ways. When they are asked the question, it’s meant in terms of “do you want the troops home safely?” I haven’t met anyone on either side who wants soldiers to die. The question is almost insulting as it implies that the person being asked might answer “why yes, I am hoping the troops die.” People are better than that on both sides. But when it’s time for funding the war or a political issue, “support our troops” polls show 80% in favor of the military. That’s not what people meant at all, and the tendency of people to fear social criticism or go with the “majority” is exploited. People are psychologically prone to cave into peer pressure, which is precisely why people need to recognize this and take precautions. It’s likely impossible to legislate against what types of speech and argument are appropriate (and likely unethical). However, people need to know the psychology to be able to protect themselves from manipulation.

In the interests of fairness, consider a situation from the other side. “Religion has been used to support racism, sexism, and other injustices throughout history. It was used against interracial marriage.” Here, the opponent of gay marriage is stuck in an awkward position. Regardless of whether they are right, this is merely a personal attack designed to associate the opposite side with “people of bad character.” This is psychologically effective, but it’s inappropriate for many reasons. It avoids the issue, and violent killer probably has a lot of crazy ideas, but it might turn out he’s right about the importance of a health diet. Religion could be wrong on 1000 issues then right on one, theoretically. As could other belief sets. “Science has developed nuclear bombs, weapons, and chemicals that have contributed to the death of millions. Science supported the development of those projects so why should we believe it when it wants to develop this “new vaccine.” Same type of reasoning, but the ridiculousness becomes more obvious.

Psychology is regularly used to get people to ignore others, believe ideas, and buy products. People think they are not susceptible to advertising, and that’s “exactly” what advertising wants them to think. A person who recognizes their vulnerability and switches channels, tapes shows, or finds other ways to avoid advertisements is less likely to fall victim to them. The people who consider themselves “too smart” to fall for that, psychologically speaking, have been consistently shown to be mistaken. Advertising is a booming industry because of how effective it is, and knowing psychology is important to pointing this out.

Overall, these are only some reasons psychology is important. It also teaches people about how to motivate themselves, deal with their emotions, and what choices can be psychologically health or unhealthy. These are all valuable things to know and contribute to personal and social well-being. The value of psychology is only increasing on a daily basis.