There are several branches of Psychology such as social, clinical, counselling, educational, developmental, industrial, sports, physiology, experimental, comparative, genetics, abnormal, environmental and engineering. These branches of psychology are explained below:
(a) Social Psychology as part of the Branches of Psychology
This branch of Psychology is interested in the ways in which the behaviour of one affects others. It is the study of social behaviour and how they are influenced by the conditions in the society (Oladele, 1998). Social Psychology is about group or collective behaviour. Why does an individual conform to opinions of a group? What factors determine our judgment/impression of others? It studies the ways in which a person’s thoughts, feeling and behaviour are influenced by that of other people. Hilgard, Altkinson and Altinson (1971) reveal that social learning is concerned with the behavioural processes, causal factors and results of interaction among persons and groups.
This is the applied psychology that tries to use principles of knowledge in psychology to diagnose and treat emotional and behavioural problems. It uses the experiences gathered from developmental and abnormal psychology to determine the causative factors of a perceived problem. Psychologists in this field try to develop programmes of intervention that may assist the individual to overcome their emotional illness. A clinical Psychologist may work in places like hospital, juvenile court or practice privately.
This is a field of Psychology typically used in the schools to give the students advice on problems of social adjustment, vocational/career or educational goals. The Psychologist assists the individual to discover his/her hidden or untapped talent in order to make use of this talent or resource effectively in solving personal problems. The counsellor changes the behaviour of his/her client through behaviour modification, modelling sensitization and rational thinking.
Studies the process of human growth and the factors that are responsible for human behaviour from birth to the old age. This field of psychology seeks to find out the changes that take place during the individual’s cognitive, physical, emotional, motor, personality and social development. The major focus of the developmental psychologists are children and adolescents.
Is an applied psychology which seeks to find solution to the problems associated with the teaching and learning in the classroom. It is a branch of psychology that attempts to find the fundamental laws of human behaviour and their applications to learning, Skinner (1953). Educational psychology is concerned with the curriculum planning, teacher-training and instruction design. It helps the learners and the teachers to optimally benefit in teaching-learning activities.
This psychology is described by Oladele (1998) as the sub-field that applies psychological knowledge to areas like personnel policies, working conditions, production efficiency and decision-making. The psychologists in this field are concerned with the labour enhancement. They help industries or other establishments in personnel selection, training, leadership and management. Organizational psychology is closely related to industrial. It deals with team building, development of communication skills, goal setting or job designs.
This is a sub-field of psychology that tries to apply skills and knowledge in psychology to promote the efficiency of sports men and women. The sports psychologists work to develop programmes of intervention that may assist sports men and women to cope and adjust well in their psychomotor domain.
The major concern of the psychologists in this regard is to adopt scientific methods (experiment) in investigating how people react to stimuli, perceive the world around them, learn, respond and are motivated to action. It deals with the study of fundamental psychological processes such as sensation, learning, motivation, emotion and memory.
Comparative Psychologists make attempt to study the animals in order to compare the behaviour of different species. These set of psychologists investigate the abilities; needs and activities of different types of animals as compared with human beings.
Deals with disruptive or behavioural disorder of individuals. The psychologists are interested in finding the causes of violent or behavioural problems or the treatment that can be adopted to tackle such emotional problems.
Examines the relationship between the bodily processes and behaviour. This branch of psychology assesses the functions of different parts of the brain, how hormones affect individual’s behaviour and the physical processes involved in learning and emotions.
This is the application of psychological knowledge in finding the relationship that exists between human beings and the environment. The goal is to assist in environmental planning designing in order to save the environment.