10 Common Misconceptions About Psychology

Psychology is the scientific study of the human mind and its functionality. This also deals with understanding the behavior and mental characteristics of an individual or group of people. In today’s wide research and breakthroughs in science people still believe a lot of misconceptions about psychology. There are even some that sound absurd you would just be left not wondering, but laughing as to why people think that way. Here 10 of the most common mistaken beliefs about psychology.

10. People believe that there is only one type of Amnesia

Amnesia is the general term for memory deficiency that is caused by a disease, sickness, brain damage or psychological trauma. A popular form of amnesia is what we call the retrograde amnesia. This is when a person forgets events or anything about their past, but can easily remember new events. This is the type of amnesia we see from movies (which is overused and not to mention used in the wrong way). I know you have seen movies or shows where the character gets into an accident or fight, the head gets hit and wakes up in the hospital not remembering a thing even his name (these is not totally true!)

What people do not know is that there is another form of amnesia called anterograde amnesia. This is when a person remembers his or her past but cannot create or remember new ones. I do not what is worst, but I wish I wouldn’t suffer from any type of amnesia.


9. Our dreams play a vital role in psychological counselling

Have you seen a movie scene where a psychologist would ask his patient to lie down on the infamous psychology chair and then ask the patient to recall and share what the dream was? Then the psychologist starts to analyze and make us of the dream sequence as the information to help the patient go through the therapy. If you think this is the real thing, well sorry to burst your bubble – this is not the case.

In recent studies and researches conducted, dreams have minimal detail or connection to how a person acts and behaves. Our dreams have no direct correlation to the problems that we face on a daily basis.


8. Parents should not comfort babies too much when they are crying

This is still debatable. If you are talking about children below 1 year old, the need to comfort them when they are crying is a must. When you comfort your children when they are crying it creates a security feeling that makes them feel more at ease. However, there are studies that show that when you comfort your babies too much when they cry, there are possibilities that your child might end up throwing more tantrums.


7. It is possible and easy to multi – task

I know that you have heard your officemate or friend saying that they are good in multi – tasking. Multi – tasking is a skill that enables you to do several tasks at the same time. Possible or impossible, well the truth of the matter is, multi – tasking is not real. People have mistaken multi – tasking from working fast and being efficient. Remember that your brain can only work or engage in one cognitive task at a time. The only possibility of multi – tasking is if you have a split brain syndrome.


6. Psychologists have the ability to read minds

Another funny belief is that Psychologists can read minds (well that of their patients). This is not true and is indeed a misconception. Psychologists do not read minds, they analyze and observe their patients behavior, mannerisms and speech patterns. Through analyzing and observing, they can tell whether a person is suffering from a certain condition or not and this is also their means on how they can perform counseling and treatment. Remember that no human being has the capability of reading minds.


5. Psychologists talk to crazy people all the time

There is a big difference from being a psychiatrist and psychologist. Most of the time, people see both expertise the same. For the purposes of this article, a psychiatrist talks, evaluates, analyzes and treats people with mental disorders while a psychologist is a person who evaluates, treats, and studies behavior and mental processes. That being said, psychologists do not really talk to people with mental disorders, they perform counseling, debriefing and research.

Another misconception that you may want to correct is that, not all psychologists can do or has the license to perform counseling. There are certain states that require further study like a doctorate degree before they allow you to perform or conduct counseling.


4. Schizophrenics have multiple personalities

This is another misconception that has been used and abused by a lot of filmmakers. Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that involves the breakdown of a person’s ability to interpret reality from not. This may result to hallucination, emotional breakdown, delusions or disordered way of thinking and behavior.

Dissociative Identity Disorder or also known as Multiple Personality Disorder is what we call in layman’s term “split personality.”


3 Girls and Boys do not have unique sexual characteristics at birth

Boys and girls are in no doubt different; it is obvious that they have differences on physical attributes, behavior and mood swings brought about by hormonal imbalances. It is a fact that we cannot really single out or remove the environmental factors that can and will affect the development of our children. Expectations and social norms also play a vital role in molding the behavior and outlook of our children.


2. Overstimulation will make babies more intelligent

When we say overstimulation, this means that we are making an extra push or encouragement to further increase our babies’ chances of being smarter or more brilliant as they grow up. The use of television and educational videos are the most famous forms of overstimulation.

It is a parent’s ultimate dream to make their children be the next Einstein (Little Einstein if you may). However, there was a recent study that was conducted where researchers found out that not all children who were over stimulated became smarter that those children who were not. Do not get disappointed since according to psychologists, the best way to help our babies develop their skills and intelligence is through the traditional – one on one teaching.


 

1. Counselors versus psychologists versus psychiatrists

The misconception here is that, we associate counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists to be the same. This is not true. There are a lot of differences, from the expertise, study down to their specialization. A counselor is someone who masters a certain level of social, emotional and personal counseling proficiency. They are the ones who gain their licenses through a specific field or discipline, like marriage counselors, personality development coaches and financial counselors. They are not necessarily a psychologist.

A psychologist is someone who studies the behavior and mental processes of the human being. They are the ones who help people go through a process treatment in order for this individual to live a more harmonious life.

Lastly, a psychiatrist is someone who focuses on a mental disorder and is in general a medical doctor. They are the ones who evaluate and treat people who are suffering from any mental disorder. They have the license to prescribe medications to people who have mental health problems.

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1 Comment

  1. DrPatricia Saunders November 12, 2014
    Reply

    Nicely written, CLEAR posting- thanks, Dr. Greene!

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