The Division of Psychology
The American Psychological Association (APA) includes experts from various countries and is one of the most influential associations of professional psychologists in the world. It was established in 1979 and by May 1992 the organization had 3433 registered members. The mission of the APA is to promote psychology as a science, a profession, and a method of improvement of well-being, mental health, and educational level of people. The division structure of the APA is an essential part of the association. In the present state of affairs, the American Psychological Association includes 54 sections. The divisions are made upon popular fields of knowledge in the context of psychology. Society for General Psychology is the first division created by the American Psychological Association. It has some deep connections with other scientific disciplines (e.g. biology) .
Areas of Psychology Related to this Division
Some of the areas that are covered by the American Psychological Association include social and cultural psychology. However, the APA is not limited to the mentioned fields. Apart from cultural and social psychology, the APA also works on the military, media, sports, and consumer psychology (Fish, 2011). Sociologists, who are knowledgeable about the behavioral issues among people, are usually tasked with the responsibility of examining social behavior. Among different branches of social psychology, one of the most interesting is the cross-cultural psychology. Due to an increase in cultural issues under social psychology, another body was created to deal with cultural issues exclusively (Fish, 2011). In 1936, the Society for Psychological Study of Cultural Issues was established. It was formed primarily for the sociologists who needed to study some significant issues like discrimination and prejudice outside their laboratories.
Another organization that was established to deal with cultural issues was the International Association for the Cross-Cultural Research. The sociologists who dealt with cultural issues identified themselves as multi-cultural psychologists. Ethnocentrism is an aspect that encompasses tribal diversities to achieve some sense of unity. It entails integration in a multicultural environment and promotes peaceful coexistence among the individuals with different cultural backgrounds.
Interests and Careers of This Division of Psychology
Every division of the American Psychological Association, like clinical or counseling psychology, is formed to achieve a single goal. However, the Society for General Psychology is an exception. This is the first division created by the APA. It was established in 1945. This division is connected with problems of different disciplines of psychology. The purpose of this division is extremely integrative and comprehensive. The Society for General Psychology focuses on all divisions of the APA and therefore deals with different areas of psychology. It tries to cope with common problems of psychology regarded as science and profession. It also regulates the relations of psychology with various fields of knowledge.
Since 1966, the division has started publishing newsletters. One of them, The General Psychologist, has eventually evolved into a magazine-like form. “The Spring 2008 issue, for example, ran 56 pages and included not only society-related information but articles, awards, addresses, reviews, and other information” (Weiner & Craighead, 2010, p. 1654). Moreover, since 1977, the Society for General Psychology began publishing a journal called Review of General Psychology. “It was designed to publish innovative theoretical, conceptual and methodological articles that cross-cut the traditional sub-disciplines of psychology” (Weiner & Craighead, 2010, p. 1654). The journal is extremely popular among psychologists specializing in various areas of this science. Annually, the Society for General Psychology presents a clear and interesting programme at the APA meetings. The society also sponsors various historical exhibitions.
How this area of Psychology Relates to Human Behavior and Mental Processes
Today, when psychologists are asked to clarify why some individual exhibits an awkward behavior or thinks in a certain way, they usually respond theoretically (Fish, 2011). They usually relate this behavior to a neuropsychological predisposition or some cognitive schemata. The Society for General Psychology is a scientific institution that studies the origin and formation of particular cognitive processes, states, and properties of the psyche. Its sections provide a complete description of these states and processes. At the same time, there is no focus on the study of any area of manifestation of the psyche, as it is in a particular section of psychology, for example, age psychology or educational psychology. In general psychology, the main subjects of study are the regularities of the basic forms of mental activity – temperament, character, perception, thinking, memory, sensation, emotion, and motivation.
The main objects of study of general psychology are such forms of mental activity as thinking, motivation, memory, emotions, temperament, personality, and other processes. In this science, they are regarded in connection with human life and activity, as well as specific characteristics of the individual’s historical background and ethnic group. Cognitive processes, personality, and its development inside and outside the community, interpersonal relationships in different groups of people are subjected to a detailed study. General psychology is fundamental to such sciences as pedagogy, sociology, philosophy, history of arts, linguistics, and others. The results of the researches conducted in the field of general psychology can be considered as a starting point for all branches of psychology.
The object of general psychology is natural psyche as a form of human interaction with the environment. Due to its versatility, this form is investigated from totally different aspects which are studied by different branches of psychology. The development of the psyche, its norm and pathology, human activities in life, as well as their relationships with the world, are the objects of general psychology.
Cross-cultural Factors within this Area of Psychology
Cross-cultural psychology has been described as part of the science that endeavors to change the way human beings behave in a multi-cultural dimension (Matsumoto & Jones, 2008).Cross-cultural relationships are significant to this field, since they require gathering the research data and information from more than one culture. Some problems affect this area of psychology including misunderstanding of some diversity issues in the culture. Lack of adequate cultural communication between some cultures is also one of the negative impacts in this field of psychology, making it sometimes challenging for a broad range of psychologists to provide quality data. Therefore, the issue of misunderstanding the concept of psychology has immensely curtailed the progress in this sector.
According to the Ethical Issues in Cross-Cultural Psychology, another factor that affects success in this area of psychology is ethnicity (Matsumoto & Jones, 2012). The authors have pointed out that most researchers choose the people who are the primary sources of their data on the basis of their culture. They have even gone ahead to evaluate these groups from racial and ethnical perspectives. The authors also acknowledged that the results of their research are important because they challenge the American indigenous monoculture research system. Therefore, this leads to a stereotypic interpretation of the data without sufficient empirical proof.
Another cross-cultural factor within this area of psychology is inefficiency in evaluating cultural aspects and psychological phenomena. It has led to misinterpretation of some significant data. For instance, there is a serious disparity between the Western and the non-Western culture. This has led to an emergence of some stereotypic information that has tremendously misled most people. Some of this stereotypic information has depicted the Westerners as ‘egocentric’, while people from the Eastern cultures are shown as ‘socio-centric’ (Matsumoto & Jones, 2012).
Emerging Trends in this Division of Psychology
At the moment, there are several emerging trends in the development of general psychology. Firstly, a new system of social reality analysis is being developed. Now there is a new concept in the study of a person and society that takes into account historical and cultural features of modern society. Secondly, current reality requires understanding of the new psychological phenomena. Business and entrepreneurship have become an independent sphere of psychological analysis, which studies the rules of business culture, social attitudes towards entrepreneurs, as well as the forms and methods of interaction at different levels of entrepreneurship.
There is also a shift from the male domination in these spheres to equal distribution of influence between genders (Fish, 2011). According to The Concept of Race and Psychotherapy the majority of employees used to recruit more men compared to the number of women (Fish, 2011). In modern society, this aspect has changed due to feminism that ensured that women are given an equal chance to participate in these activities. Training in psychology for both males and females has been one of the greatest achievements in this division. It has led to an increase in number of qualified individuals to handle day-to-day issues related to psychology.
Engaging fundamental problems of regularities of cognitive processes and the study of personal traits, general psychology continuously monitors the results obtained in the related fields of knowledge and special branches of psychology. A scientific product of general psychology is fundamental knowledge concerning the general view on the most important phenomena of mental activity, methodological approaches and methods of research. Review of General Psychology publishes innovative articles that discuss conventional sub-disciplines in psychology. The journal provides the actual historical analysis and discusses modern tendencies in various branches of psychology.
Nowadays, there are many pieces of research in the field of psychology. Psychologists and researchers study the human brain and its action in different situations. Researchers at Princeton University raised a question on how the brain switches to a new efficient strategy. “The research found that activity in a region of the brain known as the medial prefrontal cortex was involved in monitoring what is happening outside one’s current focus of attention and shifting focus from a successful strategy to one that is even better” (Princeton University, 2015).
The American Psychological Association undoubtedly occupies the first place among psychological organizations. This complicated organization with many functions and a complex organizational structure is designed to promote the development of psychology as profession and science. They have also succeeded in developing other branches of the American Psychological Association which deal with other disciplines. For example, the Cross-Cultural Psychology that deals with the cultural aspects of the science.
Current Research at International and National Levels in this Area of Psychology
There is a wide range of research being conducted both at national and international levels. For example, there is the Association for Psychological Science that was previously referred to as the American Psychological Society (APS). It was established in 1988 in order to extend scientific research to the national level. The primary objective of this association was propagation of information on the psychological survey (The University of New Orleans, n.d). It is also recognized for publishing comprehensive scientific articles that covered all the scientific disciplines of all the social and neural sciences (The University of New Orleans, n.d). In their attempt to foster the scientific study at national level, the Association for Psychological Science partnered with the National Science Foundation. In 2005, the Association conducted its peaceful referendum and managed to select a group of leaders who would champion the objectives of the Association in scientific research. In 2006, the name of the association was changed from the American Psychological Society to the American Psychological Science (The University of New Orleans, n.d).
Another significant research in this field of psychology is the subjective experiences. According to this survey, when most individuals are asked to rate their independent experiences, physiological sensations and personal behaviors whenever they had feelings of anger, guilt and happiness, most sensations appeared to have variances. Therefore, the conclusion of this research was that human beings possess different attributes in different states of mind. Such research can explain to humanity why at times individuals can be upset whenever they are restrained from acquiring what they need (The University of New Orleans, n.d).
This association has also succeeded in carrying out research on matters relating to drug and substance abuse. Their findings have been the cornerstone of curbing this escalating menace. In addition to this, the Association’s collaboration with the National Institute of Mental Health has managed to rehabilitate greater percentage of individuals suffering from addiction. They have been able to explain certain phenomena to the society such as causes of alcoholism. Through this association, the rest of the world has been able to trace the reason for alcoholism, which at times is genetically caused. Therefore, their findings should be taken into consideration because they can prove useful in the eradication of some of the most severe health issues experienced globally.