Post 1: Everyday Psychology

Think about the last time you had a conversation with someone. It could have been with a friend, a family member, a coworker, significant other — or it could have been with someone you just met. Think about the way you approached the person. Were they familiar to you? Did you feel comfortable during the conversation? Did you hold back, watching what you said or what you did? Now think about their response to you. Did they seem interested in what you had to say? Were they being friendly and involved or were they merely being polite? Did they seem comfortable and relaxed with you? Now think about how you felt leaving that conversation. Were you left with a sense of fulfillment, were you left with a tense or negative feeling, or with nothing at all?

Now that I’ve made you analyze your latest conversation, think about the last time you did that: analyze an interaction you had with someone. Not the first time you do it, is it? We tend to do this even when we don’t realize it. We evaluate our interactions with others all the time. Does this person like us? What does this person think about us? When we evaluate our standing within our social circle, we are indirectly applying psychology. Specifically, we are applying the branch of social psychology. Even during your last conversation, you most likely applied attribution theory (quite extensively may I add). You’re probably asking yourself what that even means. But you don’t need to know what “attribution theory” is in order to apply it, and you don’t need to realize you’re applying it in order to benefit from it.

It is for this reason I want do dedicate my blog to psychology in everyday life. Psychology is such a broad term and area of study. At its core definition, psychology is the study of the mind. This branches out to include the study of behavior, processes of thought (cognition), functions of the brain, development of our body and psyche, learning and memory, and more. Of course as a psychology major, this all very much fascinates me. The more I learn about psychological discoveries and theories, experiments and applications, the more I realize just how intertwined that knowledge is with my daily life. I notice differences in the way I perceive things I observe. From the way a sales associate is instructed to interact with customers (in order to keep them coming back) to the way school curricula is set up (in order to improve student focus, information retention, and learning), I feel majoring in psychology has helped me better understand a broad spectrum of things around me. However, not everyone has extensive knowledge of psychological theory and influential figures such as Jean Piaget, B.F. Skinner, Albert Bandura, or even Sigmund Freud. In fact, many have very limited knowledge of psychological research, discoveries, and development.

But that is the beauty of psychology. It is not exclusively limited in usefulness to academics or researchers that dedicate their lives and careers to its study. Everyday people apply and benefit from psychology, from their daily lives and social interactions to their work place to more personal, mental and emotional health. And this is what I want to bring forth and shine a light on with my blog: the way everyday people in their everyday lives use psychology, without even realizing it.