Personality psychology is a branch of psychology that studies personality and its variation among individuals. It is a scientific study which aims to show how people are individually different due to psychological forces, its areas of focus include: construction of a coherent picture of the individual and their major psychological processes investigation of individual psychological differences investigation of human nature and psychological similarities between individuals"Personality" is a dynamic and organized set of characteristics possessed by a person that uniquely influences their environment, emotions and behaviors in various situations. The word personality originates from the Latin persona, which means "mask". Personality refers to the pattern of thoughts, social adjustments, behaviors exhibited over time that influences one's expectations, self-perceptions and attitudes. Personality predicts human reactions to other people and stress. Gordon Allport described two major ways to study personality: the idiographic.
Nomothetic psychology seeks general laws that can be applied to many different people, such as the principle of self-actualization or the trait of extraversion. Idiographic psychology is an attempt to understand the unique aspects of a particular individual; the study of personality has a broad and varied history in psychology with an abundance of theoretical trad. The major theories include dispositional perspective, humanistic, behaviorist and social learning perspective. However, many researchers and psychologists do not explicitly identify themselves with a certain perspective and instead take an eclectic approach. Research in this area is empirically driven, such as dimensional models, based on multivariate statistics, such as factor analysis, or emphasizes theory development, such as that of the psychodynamic theory. There is a substantial emphasis on the applied field of personality testing. In psychological education and training, the study of the nature of personality and its psychological development is reviewed as a prerequisite to courses in abnormal psychology or clinical psychology.
Many of the ideas developed by historical and modern personality theorists stem from the basic philosophical assumptions they hold. The study of personality is not a purely empirical discipline, as it brings in elements of art and philosophy to draw general conclusions; the following five categories are some of the most fundamental philosophical assumptions on which theorists disagree: Freedom versus determinism – This is the question whether humans have control over their own behavior and understand the motives behind it or if their behavior is causally determined by forces beyond their control. Behavior is categorized as being either unconscious, environmental or biological by various theories. Heredity versus environment – Personality is thought to be determined either by genetics and biology, or by environment and experiences. Contemporary research suggests that most personality traits are based on the joint influence of genetics and environment. One of the forerunners in this arena is C. Robert Cloninger, who pioneered the Temperament and Character model.
Uniqueness versus universality – This question discusses the extent of each human's individuality or similarity in nature. Gordon Allport, Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers were all advocates of the uniqueness of individuals. Behaviorists and cognitive theorists, in contrast, emphasize the importance of universal principles, such as reinforcement and self-efficacy. Active versus reactive – This question explores whether humans act through individual initiative or through outside stimuli. Traditional behavioral theorists believed that humans are passively shaped by their environments, whereas humanistic and cognitive theorists believe that humans are more active in their role. Most modern theorists agree that both are important, with aggregate behavior being determined by traits and situational factors being the primary predictor of behavior in the short term. Optimistic versus pessimistic – Personality theories differ with regard to whether humans are integral in the changing of their own personalities.
Theories that place a great deal of emphasis on learning are more optimistic than those that do not. Personality type refers to the psychological classification of different types of people. Personality types are distinguished from personality traits. There are many types of theories regarding personality, but each theory contains several and sometimes many sub theories. A "theory of personality" constructed by any given psychologist will contain multiple relating theories or sub theories expanding as more psychologists explore the theory. For example, according to type theories, there are two types of people and extroverts. According to trait theories and extroversion are part of a continuous dimension with many people in the middle; the idea of psychological types originated in the theoretical work of Carl Jung in his 1921 book Psychologische Typen and William Marston. Building on the writings and observations of Jung during World War II, Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother, Katharine C. Briggs, delineated personality types by constructing the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator.
This model was used by David Keirsey with a different understanding from Jung and Myers. In the former Soviet Union, Lithuanian Aušra Augustinavičiūtė independently derived a model of personality type from Jung's called socionics. Theories could be co
Big Five personality traits
The Big Five personality traits known as the five-factor model and the OCEAN model, is a taxonomy for personality traits. It is based on common language descriptors; when factor analysis is applied to personality survey data, some words used to describe aspects of personality are applied to the same person. For example, someone described as conscientious is more to be described as "always prepared" rather than "messy"; this theory is based therefore on the association between words but not on neuropsychological experiments. This theory uses descriptors of common language and therefore suggests five broad dimensions used to describe the human personality and psyche; the five factors have been defined as openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion and neuroticism, represented by the acronym OCEAN or CANOE. Beneath each proposed global factor, there are a number of correlated and more specific primary factors. For example, extraversion is said to include such related qualities as gregariousness, excitement seeking, warmth and positive emotions.
That these underlying factors can be found is consistent with the lexical hypothesis: personality characteristics that are most important in people's lives will become a part of their language and, that more important personality characteristics are more to be encoded into language as a single word. The five factors are: Openness to experience. Appreciation for art, adventure, unusual ideas and variety of experience. Openness reflects the degree of intellectual curiosity, creativity and a preference for novelty and variety a person has, it is described as the extent to which a person is imaginative or independent and depicts a personal preference for a variety of activities over a strict routine. High openness can be perceived as unpredictability or lack of focus, more to engage in risky behaviour or drug taking. Individuals that have high openness tend to lean, in occupation and hobby, towards the arts, being creative and appreciative of the significance of intellectual and artistic pursuits.
Moreover, individuals with high openness are said to pursue self-actualization by seeking out intense, euphoric experiences. Conversely, those with low openness seek to gain fulfillment through perseverance and are characterized as pragmatic and data-driven—sometimes perceived to be dogmatic and closed-minded; some disagreement remains about how to contextualize the openness factor. Conscientiousness. Tendency to be organized and dependable, show self-discipline, act dutifully, aim for achievement, prefer planned rather than spontaneous behavior. High conscientiousness is perceived as being stubborn and focused. Low conscientiousness is associated with flexibility and spontaneity, but can appear as sloppiness and lack of reliability. Extraversion. Energetic, assertiveness and the tendency to seek stimulation in the company of others, talkativeness. High extraversion is perceived as attention-seeking and domineering. Low extraversion causes a reserved, reflective personality, which can be perceived as aloof or self-absorbed.
Extroverted people may appear more dominant in social settings, as opposed to introverted people in this setting. Agreeableness. Tendency to be compassionate and cooperative rather than suspicious and antagonistic towards others, it is a measure of one's trusting and helpful nature, whether a person is well-tempered or not. High agreeableness is seen as naive or submissive. Low agreeableness personalities are competitive or challenging people, which can be seen as argumentative or untrustworthy. Neuroticism. Tendency to be prone to psychological stress; the tendency to experience unpleasant emotions such as anger, anxiety and vulnerability. Neuroticism refers to the degree of emotional stability and impulse control and is sometimes referred to by its low pole, "emotional stability". High stability manifests itself as a stable and calm personality, but can be seen as uninspiring and unconcerned. Low stability manifests as the reactive and excitable personality found in dynamic individuals, but can be perceived as unstable or insecure.
Individuals with higher levels of neuroticism tend to have worse psychological well being. People who do not exhibit a clear predisposition to a single factor in each dimension above are considered adaptable and reasonable, yet they can be perceived as unprincipled and calculating. Depending on how much of each trait a person has, it could make someone more susceptible to participating in certain activities. Family life and the way someone was raised will affect these traits. Twin studies and other research have shown that about half of the variation between individuals results from their genetics and half from their environments. Researchers have found conscientiousness, openness to experience, neuroticism to be stable from childhood through adulthood; the Big Five personality traits was the model to comprehend the relationship between personality and academic behaviors. This model was defined by several independent sets of researchers who used factor analysis of verbal descriptors of human behavior.
These researchers began by studying relationships between a large number of verbal descriptors related to personality traits. They reduced the lists of these descriptors by 5–10 fold
Developmental psychology is the scientific study of how and why human beings change over the course of their life. Concerned with infants and children, the field has expanded to include adolescence, adult development and the entire lifespan. Developmental psychologists aim to explain how thinking and behaviors change throughout life; this field examines change across three major dimensions: physical development, cognitive development, socioemotional development. Within these three dimensions are a broad range of topics including motor skills, executive functions, moral understanding, language acquisition, social change, emotional development, self-concept, identity formation. Developmental psychology examines the influences of nature and nurture on the process of human development, processes of change in context and across time. Many researchers are interested in the interactions among personal characteristics, the individual's behavior, environmental factors, including the social context and the built environment.
Ongoing debates include biological essentialism vs. neuroplasticity and stages of development vs. dynamic systems of development. Developmental psychology involves a range of fields, such as educational psychology, child psychopathology, forensic developmental psychology, child development, cognitive psychology, ecological psychology, cultural psychology. Influential developmental psychologists from the 20th century include Urie Bronfenbrenner, Erik Erikson, Sigmund Freud, Jean Piaget, Barbara Rogoff, Esther Thelen, Lev Vygotsky. John B. Watson and Jean-Jacques Rousseau are cited as providing the foundations for modern developmental psychology. In the mid-18th century Jean Jacques Rousseau described three stages of development: infants and adolescence in Emile: Or, On Education. Rousseau's ideas were taken up by educators at the time, it focuses on how and why certain modifications throughout an individual’s life-cycle and human growth change over time. There are many theorists. For example, Erik Erikson developed a model of eight stages of psychological development.
He believed that humans developed in stages throughout their lifetimes and this would affect their behaviors In the late 19th century, psychologists familiar with the evolutionary theory of Darwin began seeking an evolutionary description of psychological development. James Mark Baldwin who wrote essays on topics that included Imitation: A Chapter in the Natural History of Consciousness and Mental Development in the Child and the Race: Methods and Processes. James Mark Baldwin was involved in the theory of developmental psychology. Sigmund Freud, whose concepts were developmental affected public perceptions. Sigmund Freud believed that we all had a conscious and unconscious level. In the conscious, we are aware of our mental process; the preconscious involves information that, though not in our thoughts, can be brought into consciousness. Lastly, the unconscious includes mental processes, he believed there is tension between the conscious and unconscious because the conscious tries to hold back what the unconscious tries to express.
To explain this he developed three personality structures: the id, superego. The id, the most primitive of the three, functions according to the pleasure principle: seek pleasure and avoid pain; the superego plays the moralizing role. Based on this, he proposed five universal stages of development, that each is characterized by the erogenous zone, the source of the child's psychosexual energy; the first is the oral stage. During the oral stage, "the libido is centered in a baby's mouth." The baby is able to suck. The second is the anal stage, from one to three years of age. During the anal stage, the child defecates from the anus and is fascinated with their defecation; the third is the phallic stage. During the phallic stage, the child is aware of their sexual organs; the fourth is the latency stage. During the latency stage, the child's sexual interests are repressed. Stage five is the genital stage. During the genital stage, puberty starts happening. Jean Piaget, a Swiss theorist, posited that children learn by constructing knowledge through hands-on experience.
He suggested that the adult's role in helping the child learn was to provide appropriate materials that the child can interact with and use to construct. He used Socratic questioning to get children to reflect on what they were doing, he tried to get them to see contradictions in their explanations. Piaget believed that intellectual development takes place through a series of stages, which he described in his theory on cognitive development; each stage consists of steps. He believed that these stages are not separate from one another, but rather that each stage builds on the previous one in a continuous learning process, he proposed four stages: sensorimotor, pre-operational, concrete operational, formal operational. Though he did not believe these stages occurred at any given age, many studies have determined when these co
Neuropsychology is the study and characterization of the behavioral modifications that follow a neurological trauma or condition. It is both an experimental and clinical field of psychology that aims to understand how behavior and cognition are influenced by brain functioning and is concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of behavioral and cognitive effects of neurological disorders. Whereas classical neurology focuses on the pathology of the nervous system and classical psychology is divorced from it, neuropsychology seeks to discover how the brain correlates with the mind through the study of neurological patients, it thus shares concerns with neuropsychiatry and with behavioral neurology in general. The term neuropsychology has been applied to lesion studies in animals, it has been applied in efforts to record electrical activity from individual cells in higher primates. In practice, neuropsychologists tend to work in research settings, clinical settings, or forensic settings or industry.
Neuropsychology is a new discipline within the field of psychology. The first textbook defining the field, Fundamentals of Human Neuropsychology, was published by Kolb and Whishaw in 1980. However, the history of its development can be traced back to the Third Dynasty in ancient Egypt even earlier. There is much debate as to. For many centuries, the brain was thought useless and was discarded during burial processes and autopsies; as the field of medicine developed its understanding of human anatomy and physiology, different theories were developed as to why the body functioned the way it did. Many times, bodily functions were approached from a religious point of view and abnormalities were blamed on bad spirits and the gods; the brain has not always been considered the center of the functioning body. It has taken hundreds of years to develop our understanding of the brain and how it affects our behaviors. In ancient Egypt, writings on medicine date from the time of the priest Imhotep, they took a more scientific approach to medicine and disease, describing the brain, trauma and remedies for reference for future physicians.
Despite this, Egyptians saw the heart not the brain as the seat of the soul. Aristotle reinforced this focus on the heart, he believed the heart to be in control of mental processes, looked on the brain, due to its inert nature, as a mechanism for cooling the heat generated by the heart. He drew his conclusions based on the empirical study of animals, he found that while their brains were cold to the touch and that such contact did not trigger any movements, the heart was warm and active and slowing dependent on mood. Such beliefs were upheld by many for years to come, persisting through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance period until they began to falter in the 17th Century due to further research; the influence of Aristotle in the development of neuropsychology is evident within language used in modern day, since we "follow our hearts" and "learn by the heart". Hippocrates looked upon the brain as the seat of the soul, he drew a connection between the brain and behaviors of the body saying "The brain exercises the greatest power in the man".
Apart from moving the focus from the heart as the "seat of the soul" to the brain, Hippocrates did not go into much detail about its actual functioning. However, by switching the attention of the medical community to the brain, the doors were opened to a more scientific discovery of the organ responsible for our behaviors. For years to come, scientists were inspired to explore the functions of the body and to find concrete explanations for both normal and abnormal behaviors. Scientific discovery led them to believe that there were natural and organically occurring reasons to explain various functions of the body, it could all be traced back to the brain. Over the years, science would continue to expand and the mysteries of the world would begin to make sense, or at least be looked at in a different way. Hippocrates introduced man to the concept of the mind –, seen as a separate function apart from the actual brain organ. Philosopher René Descartes expanded upon this idea and is most known by his work on the mind-body problem.
Descartes' ideas were looked upon as overly philosophical and lacking in sufficient scientific background. Descartes focused much of his anatomical experimentation on the brain, paying specific attention to the pineal gland – which he argued was the actual "seat of the soul". Still rooted in a spiritual outlook towards the scientific world, the body was said to be mortal, the soul immortal; the pineal gland was thought to be the place at which the mind would interact with the mortal and machine-like body. At the time, Descartes was convinced the mind had control over the behaviors of the body – but that the body could have influence over the mind, referred to as dualism; this idea that the mind had control over the body, but man's body could resist or influence other behaviors was a major turning point in the way many physiologists would look at the brain. The capabilities of the mind were observed to do much more than react, but to be rational and function in organized, thoughtful ways – much more complex than he thought the animal world to be.
These ideas, although disregarded by many
A placebo is a substance or treatment of no intended therapeutic value. Common placebos include inert tablets, inert injections, sham surgery, other procedures. In drug testing and medical research, a placebo can be made to resemble an active medication or therapy so that it functions as a control. In a clinical trial any change in the placebo arm is known as the placebo response, the difference between this and the result of no treatment is the placebo effect. A placebo may be given to a person in a clinical context in order to deceive the recipient into thinking that it is an active treatment; the use of placebos as treatment in clinical medicine is ethically problematic as it introduces deception and dishonesty into the doctor–patient relationship. An influential 1955 study entitled The Powerful Placebo established the idea that placebo effects were clinically important, were a result of the brain's role in physical health, but a 1997 review of the study found "no evidence of any placebo effect in any of the studies cited".
Subsequent research has found. Improvements that patients experience after being treated with a placebo can be due to unrelated factors, such as a natural recovery from the illness; the word "placebo", Latin for "I will please", dates back to a Latin translation of the Bible by St Jerome. The American Society of Pain Management Nursing define a placebo as "any sham medication or procedure designed to be void of any known therapeutic value". In a clinical trial, a placebo response is the measured response of subjects to a placebo, it is part of the recorded response to any active medical intervention. Any measurable placebo effect is termed either objective or subjective. Placebos have no meaningful therapeutic worth, they have no effect on disease, can only affect some people's subjective judgement of their symptoms. Sometimes they can make people feel better, sometimes worse – in which case they are termed a nocebo; because the placebo response is the patient response that cannot be attributed to an investigational intervention, there are multiple possible components of a measured placebo effect.
These components have varying relevance depending on the types of observations. While there is some evidence that placebo interventions can alter levels of endocannabinoids or endogenous opioids, other prominent components include expectancy effects, regression to the mean, flawed research methodologies. Children seem to have greater response than adults to placebos. A review published in JAMA Psychiatry found that, in trials of antipsychotic medications, the change in response to receiving a placebo had increased between 1960 and 2013; the review's authors identified several factors that could be responsible for this change, including inflation of baseline scores and enrollment of fewer ill patients. Another analysis published in Pain in 2015 found that placebo responses had increased in neuropathic pain clinical trials conducted in the United States from 1990 to 2013; the researchers suggested that this may be because such trials have "increased in study size and length" during this time period.
A 2010 Cochrane review suggests that placebo effects are only apparent in subjective, continuous measures, in the treatment of pain and related conditions. Placebos are believed to be capable of altering a person's perception of pain. "A person might reinterpret a sharp pain as uncomfortable tingling."One way in which the magnitude of placebo analgesia can be measured is by conducting "open/hidden" studies, in which some patients receive an analgesic and are informed that they will be receiving it, while others are administered the same drug without their knowledge. Such studies have found that analgesics are more effective when the patient knows they are receiving them. In 2008, a controversial meta-analysis led by psychologist Irving Kirsch, analyzing data from the FDA, concluded that 82% of the response to antidepressants was accounted for by placebos. However, there are serious doubts about the used methods and the interpretation of the results the use of 0.5 as cut-off point for the effect-size.
A complete reanalysis and recalculation based on the same FDA data discovered that the Kirsch study suffered from "important flaws in the calculations". The authors concluded that although a large percentage of the placebo response was due to expectancy, this was not true for the active drug. Besides confirming drug effectiveness, they found that the drug effect was not related to depression severity. Another meta-analysis found that 79% of depressed patients receiving placebo remained well compared to 93% of those receiving antidepressants. In the continuation phase however, patients on placebo relapsed more than patients on antidepressants, it was assumed that placebo response rates in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome are unusually high, "at least 30% to 50%", because of the subjective reporting of symptoms and the fluctuating nature of the condition. According to a meta-analysis and contrary to conventional wisdom, the pooled response rate in the placebo group was 19.6% lower than in some other medical conditions.
The authors offer possible explanatio
Educational psychology is the branch of psychology concerned with the scientific study of human learning. The study of learning processes, from both cognitive and behavioral perspectives, allows researchers to understand individual differences in intelligence, cognitive development, motivation, self-regulation, self-concept, as well as their role in learning; the field of educational psychology relies on quantitative methods, including testing and measurement, to enhance educational activities related to instructional design, classroom management, assessment, which serve to facilitate learning processes in various educational settings across the lifespan. Educational psychology can in part be understood through its relationship with other disciplines, it is informed by psychology, bearing a relationship to that discipline analogous to the relationship between medicine and biology. It is informed by neuroscience. Educational psychology in turn informs a wide range of specialities within educational studies, including instructional design, educational technology, curriculum development, organizational learning, special education, classroom management, student motivation.
Educational psychology both draws from and contributes to cognitive science and the learning sciences. In universities, departments of educational psychology are housed within faculties of education accounting for the lack of representation of educational psychology content in introductory psychology textbooks; the field of educational psychology involves the study of memory, conceptual processes, individual differences in conceptualizing new strategies for learning processes in humans. Educational psychology has been built upon theories of operant conditioning, structuralism, humanistic psychology, Gestalt psychology, information processing. Educational psychology has seen rapid growth and development as a profession in the last twenty years. School psychology began with the concept of intelligence testing leading to provisions for special education students, who could not follow the regular classroom curriculum in the early part of the 20th century. However, "school psychology" itself has built a new profession based upon the practices and theories of several psychologists among many different fields.
Educational psychologists are working side by side with psychiatrists, social workers, teachers and language therapists, counselors in attempt to understand the questions being raised when combining behavioral and social psychology in the classroom setting. Educational psychology is a new and growing field of study. Though it can date back as early as the days of Plato and Aristotle, it was not identified as a specific practice, it was unknown that everyday teaching and learning in which individuals had to think about individual differences, development, the nature of a subject being taught, problem solving, transfer of learning was the beginning to the field of educational psychology. These topics are important to education and as a result it is important to understanding human cognition and social perception. Educational psychology dates back to the time of Plato. Plato and Aristotle researched individual differences in the field of education, training of the body and the cultivation of psycho-motor skills, the formation of good character, the possibilities and limits of moral education.
Some other educational topics they spoke about were the effects of music and the other arts on the development of individual, role of teacher, the relations between teacher and student. Plato saw knowledge as an innate ability, which evolves through experience and understanding of the world; such a statement has evolved into a continuing argument of nature vs. nurture in understanding conditioning and learning today. Aristotle observed the phenomenon of "association." His four laws of association included succession, contiguity and contrast. His studies facilitated learning processes. John Locke was considered one of the most influential philosophers in post-renaissance Europe in about mid 1600s. Locke was called "Father of English Psychology". One of Locke's most important works was written in 1690, named An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. In this essay, he introduced the term "tabula rasa" meaning "blank slate." Locke explained that learning was understood through experience only, we were all born without knowledge.
He followed by contrasting Plato's theory of innate learning processes. Locke believed. Locke introduced this idea as "empiricism," or the understanding that knowledge is only built on knowledge and experience. In the late 1600s, John Locke advanced the hypothesis that people learn from external forces, he believed that the mind was like a blank tablet, that successions of simple impressions give rise to complex ideas through association and reflection. Locke is credited with establishing "empiricism" as a criterion for testing the validity of knowledge, thus providing a conceptual framework for development of experimental methodology in the natural and social sciences. Philosophers of education such as Juan Vives, Johann Pestalozzi, Friedrich Fröbel, Johann Herbart had examined and judged the methods of education centuries before the beginnings of psychology in the late 1800s. Juan Vives proposed induction as the method of study and believed in the direct observation and investigation of the study of nature.
His studies focus of humanistic learning, which opposed scholasticism and was influenced by a variety of sources including philosophy, psy
Psychology of religion
Speaking, psychology of religion consists of the application of psychological methods and interpretive frameworks to the diverse contents of religious traditions as well as to both religious and irreligious individuals. The extraordinary range of methods and frameworks can be helpfully summed up regarding the classic distinction between the natural-scientific and human-scientific approaches: the first cluster proceeds by means of objective and preferably experimental procedures for testing hypotheses regarding the causal connections among the objects of one's study. In contrast, the human-scientific approach accesses the human world of experience using qualitative and interpretive methods, with the goal of discerning meaningful rather than causal connections among the phenomena one seeks to understand. Psychologists of religion pursue three major projects: systematic description of religious contents, attitudes and expressions; the psychology of religion first arose as a self-conscious discipline in the late 19th century, but all three of these tasks have a history going back many centuries before that.
The challenge for the psychology of religion is threefold: to provide a thoroughgoing description of the objects of investigation, whether they be shared religious content or individual experiences, attitudes, or conduct. These fruits may be both negative; the first, descriptive task requires a clarification of one's terms—above all, the word religion. Historians of religion have long underscored the problematic character of this term, noting that its usage over the centuries has changed in significant ways in the direction of reification; the early psychologists of religion were aware of these difficulties acknowledging that the definitions they were choosing to use were to some degree arbitrary. With the rise of positivistic trends in psychology over the course of the 20th century the demand that all phenomena be operationalized by quantitative procedures, psychologists of religion developed a multitude of scales, most of them developed for use with Protestant Christians. Factor analysis was brought into play by both psychologists and sociologists of religion, to establish a fixed core of dimensions and a corresponding set of scales.
The justification and adequacy of these efforts in the light of constructivist and other postmodern viewpoints, remains a matter of debate. In the last several decades among clinical psychologists, a preference for the terms "spirituality" and "spiritual" has emerged, along with efforts to distinguish them from "religion" and "religious." In the United States, "religion" has for many become associated with sectarian institutions and their obligatory creeds and rituals, thus giving the word a negative cast. In fact, "spirituality" has undergone an evolution in the West, from a time when it was a synonym for religion in its original, subjective meaning. Today, efforts are ongoing to "operationalize" these terms, with little regard for their history in their Western context, with the apparent realist assumption that underlying them are fixed qualities identifiable using empirical procedures. Schnitker and Emmons theorized that the understanding of religion as a search for meaning makes implications in the three psychological areas of motivation and social relationships.
The cognitive aspects relate to God and a sense of purpose, the motivational ones to the need to control, the religious search for meaning is weaved into social communities. American psychologist and philosopher William James is regarded by most psychologists of religion as the founder of the field, he served as president of the American Psychological Association, wrote one of the first psychology textbooks. In the psychology of religion, James' influence endures, his Varieties of Religious Experience is considered to be the classic work in the field, references to James' ideas are common at professional conferences. James distinguished between personal religion. Institutional religion refers to the religious group or organization and plays an important part in a society's culture. Personal religion, in which the individual has mystical experience, can be experienced regardless of the culture. James was most interested in understanding personal religious experience. In studying personal religious experiences, James made a distinction between healthy-minded and sick-souled religiousness.
Individuals predisposed to healthy-mindedness tend to ignore the evil in the world and focus on the positive and the good. James used examples of Walt Whitman and the "mind-cure" religious movement to illustrate healthy-mindedness in The Varieties of Religious Experience. In contrast, individuals predisposed to having a sick-souled religion are unable to ignore evil and suffering and need a unifying experience, religious or otherwise, to reconcile good and evil. James included quotations from Leo Tolstoy and John Bunyan