Top Best 22 Different Types of Psychology
While many envision psychologists as providing therapy in an office environment, they actually work in many settings and perform varied work depending on their specialty. However, one thing that is common among psychologists is that they all observe human behavior. What they do with that behavior depends on the type of psychology they work within. In this article, we share more about what psychology is and provide a list of different types of psychology you may want to learn more about.
What is psychology?
Psychology is the study of a person’s mind and how it affects their behavior. Psychologists may provide therapy to individuals or perform research to understand a certain set of behaviors for a specific group of individuals. While these professionals are unable to prescribe medication, they often refer their patients to psychiatrists if they feel their patients would benefit from prescriptions as a supplement to their clinical treatment.
Psychologists also conduct research and perform studies so they can become authorities on a subject, provide professional guidance to certain entities and individuals and influence how others view their environment, communities and other people they interact with.
Read more: How To Become a Psychologist
22 types of psychology
Each type of psychology has a different focus from the others. Here is a list of 22 types of psychology you can learn more about:
1. Behavioral psychology
The purpose of behavior psychology is to understand the most basic form of human behavior. Behavioral psychologists conduct research to understand what drives human behavior, how the mind and behavior are connected and may work on improving negative behaviors in their patients, like those who abuse drugs.
Biopsychology is the study of biological factors that may affect the brain and human behavior. Biopsychologists study individuals and perform research to see if there are biological factors that impact how an individual feels, thinks and acts in general and in certain situations. This field of psychology also looks at how brain injury and disease affect behavior. With this information, researchers can work on figuring out ways to prevent and treat brain trauma.
3. Clinical psychology
Clinical psychology, also called psychopathology or abnormal psychology, is the study of mental health problems, including the act of diagnosing and treating these issues. Clinical psychologists seek to understand how a mental illness presents, how it started and how a patient can get back to as much of a sense of normalcy as possible. They also provide therapy and create treatment plans for patients.
Clinical psychology is a widely used discipline, with practitioners working in many settings, including hospitals, mental health clinics and even in private practice. Clinical psychologists may specialize in a certain demographic of patient, such as veterans or seniors, or a specific kind of mental illness, like ones that result from substance abuse.
4. Cognitive psychology
Cognitive psychology involves understanding how individuals think. Psychologists who work on cognition may investigate how people make decisions and solve problems, but they can also perform research on other topics like language development, memory and perception. Cognitive psychology also studies learning disabilities.
5. Community psychology
There are health issues in every community. Community psychologists perform research on these issues to educate the community and create programs that help prevent issues from occurring. Community psychologists may work in schools, for community organizations or charities or government agencies. A big focus of community psychology is the improvement of the community and the people who live within it.
6. Comparative psychology
Comparative psychology looks at the similarities and differences between the behavior of humans and that of their animal counterparts. Those who work in comparative psychology may observe how animals behave and respond to certain situations or stimuli, using those results to better understand human behavior.
7. Consumer psychology
Consumer or marketing psychology is the study of consumer behavior. A business may use consumer psychology so they have some research and understanding of their consumers to influence marketing strategies and business decisions. Consumer psychology can help organizations identify who their target audience is, what influences their purchasing behavior, how they make purchasing decisions and what their attitude about a particular product or service is. Consumer psychologists conduct market research surveys, form focus groups and observe consumers.
8. Critical psychology
Critical psychology is the study of the discipline itself. Just like any professional should continue to learn and grow in their field, because most industries are constantly evolving, critical psychology gives that same chance to those who practice psychology. Critical psychologists look at how the practice is developing and identify any associated trends.
9. Developmental psychology
Developmental psychology concentrates on the human lifespan and the behaviors, languages, disabilities and more that may be present at various stages of life. While some developmental psychologists may focus on a specific life stage, like childhood, adolescence, adult years and late years, others will study the entire lifespan. Developmental psychologists do many tasks, from diagnosing developmental delays in children to researching aging issues.
10. Educational psychology
Educational psychology focuses on the learning process, including any learning disabilities. Those who work in educational psychology may provide teaching techniques for certain groups of students, like those who have learning disabilities or are gifted. Educational psychologists research how cognitive and social elements can affect learning.
11. Environmental psychology
Environmental psychology is the study of the relationship between environments and the people who live and interact within them. Environmental psychologists also want to understand how human behavior impacts the environment they live in. In this case, an environment can be natural or staged. Many environmental psychologists may confer with government agencies to help develop policies directly related to the environment.
12. Evolutionary psychology
Evolutionary psychology is the study of the interaction between human behavior and evolution and how humans have had to adjust their psychological mindsets to account for the evolutionary process. An evolutionary psychologist may look into the adaptability of humans and what has allowed us to survive for thousands of years.
13. Forensic psychology
Forensic psychologists work closely with law enforcement and other agencies that may be part of the criminal justice system. This field involves understanding more about criminals and their behavior, working with children who are serving as witnesses in a criminal situation or in a case, evaluating a crime scene to determine how a criminal may have navigated the scene and more. A forensic psychologist may also provide therapy to crime victims.
14. Health psychology
Health psychology is the study of mental and physical health and how the two interact based on many factors, like behavior, biology and social groups. Health psychologists may research how they can use these factors to improve an individual’s overall health and wellness or a particular illness they may deal with. Those who work in health psychology educate their patients about what they can do to remain healthy, provide therapy and teach how others can cope with certain situations.
15. Industrial-organizational psychology
Industrial-organizational psychology takes place in the workplace. It’s the study of how employees feel influenced or motivated at work, how employers can increase the productivity of their team, the ways companies may be able to retain employees and increase their job satisfaction and more. Many businesses use I-O psychologists to develop tests that serve as a screening tool for specific positions within the company.
16. Military psychology
Military psychologists work in military settings and with military personnel to provide services like therapy for mental illness. They may also acclimate soldiers to civilian life and help those in the military handle stress. Many military psychologists assist with the development of recruiting strategies and help leaders understand how to motivate soldiers and work with those who may be experiencing emotional distress.
Neuropsychology is the study of the brain and how it affects our behaviors and psychological thoughts. A neuropsychologist may work with patients who have experienced a brain injury or illness, like a stroke or dementia, to understand how their diagnosis impacts their behavior. They may also work with other health care professionals to develop treatment plans.
18. Personality psychology
Personality psychology is the study of an individual’s personality and how it can affect their behavior. These psychologists may seek to understand what factors, if any, influence the personality we have, how our personality may affect our decision-making skills and if there are personality traits that are connected to specific disorders.
19. Psychometric psychology
The field of psychometric psychology focuses on developing psychological tests and assisting in their administration to specific people or groups. These tests are helpful so that other professionals and individuals can make decisions or understand their employee, customer, patient or child.
20. Research psychology
Research psychology, also called experimental psychology, involves performing research on a topic or group of people, then upon a successful understanding of the research, applying it to your own work. Research psychologists typically publish their findings and share their results with others in the field, all to provide valuable information that will expand industry knowledge.
21. School psychology
School psychologists work in school settings to assist children. They may evaluate and treat issues related to social settings, academics and behavior. School psychologists develop plans alongside teachers, parents and other administrative staff to address any situation where a student may be dealing with a particular difficulty. One goal of school psychology is to contribute to creating a learning environment that’s safe and productive for everyone. These professionals may also meet with students who would benefit from advice and therapy to handle a stressor in school.
22. Social psychology
Social psychology is the study of social groups and how those in the groups influence and affect each other. It also involves understanding how those in particular social situations behave. A social psychologist may evaluate attitudes, communication styles and other types of behavior like aggression.