Psychology is the science of behavior and mind. Psychology includes the study of conscious and unconscious phenomena, as well as feeling and thought, it is an academic discipline of immense scope. Psychologists seek an understanding of the emergent properties of brains, all the variety of phenomena linked to those emergent properties; as a social science it aims to understand individuals and groups by establishing general principles and researching specific cases. In this field, a professional practitioner or researcher is called a psychologist and can be classified as a social, behavioral, or cognitive scientist. Psychologists attempt to understand the role of mental functions in individual and social behavior, while exploring the physiological and biological processes that underlie cognitive functions and behaviors. Psychologists explore behavior and mental processes, including perception, attention, intelligence, motivation, brain functioning, personality; this extends to interaction between people, such as interpersonal relationships, including psychological resilience, family resilience, other areas.
Psychologists of diverse orientations consider the unconscious mind. Psychologists employ empirical methods to infer causal and correlational relationships between psychosocial variables. In addition, or in opposition, to employing empirical and deductive methods, some—especially clinical and counseling psychologists—at times rely upon symbolic interpretation and other inductive techniques. Psychology has been described as a "hub science" in that medicine tends to draw psychological research via neurology and psychiatry, whereas social sciences most draws directly from sub-disciplines within psychology. While psychological knowledge is applied to the assessment and treatment of mental health problems, it is directed towards understanding and solving problems in several spheres of human activity. By many accounts psychology aims to benefit society; the majority of psychologists are involved in some kind of therapeutic role, practicing in clinical, counseling, or school settings. Many do scientific research on a wide range of topics related to mental processes and behavior, work in university psychology departments or teach in other academic settings.
Some are employed in industrial and organizational settings, or in other areas such as human development and aging, sports and the media, as well as in forensic investigation and other aspects of law. The word psychology derives from Greek roots meaning study of soul; the Latin word psychologia was first used by the Croatian humanist and Latinist Marko Marulić in his book, Psichiologia de ratione animae humanae in the late 15th century or early 16th century. The earliest known reference to the word psychology in English was by Steven Blankaart in 1694 in The Physical Dictionary which refers to "Anatomy, which treats the Body, Psychology, which treats of the Soul."In 1890, William James defined psychology as "the science of mental life, both of its phenomena and their conditions". This definition enjoyed widespread currency for decades. However, this meaning was contested, notably by radical behaviorists such as John B. Watson, who in his 1913 manifesto defined the discipline of psychology as the acquisition of information useful to the control of behavior.
Since James defined it, the term more connotes techniques of scientific experimentation. Folk psychology refers to the understanding of ordinary people, as contrasted with that of psychology professionals; the ancient civilizations of Egypt, China and Persia all engaged in the philosophical study of psychology. In Ancient Egypt the Ebers Papyrus mentioned thought disorders. Historians note that Greek philosophers, including Thales and Aristotle, addressed the workings of the mind; as early as the 4th century BC, Greek physician Hippocrates theorized that mental disorders had physical rather than supernatural causes. In China, psychological understanding grew from the philosophical works of Laozi and Confucius, from the doctrines of Buddhism; this body of knowledge involves insights drawn from introspection and observation, as well as techniques for focused thinking and acting. It frames the universe as a division of, interaction between, physical reality and mental reality, with an emphasis on purifying the mind in order to increase virtue and power.
An ancient text known as The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine identifies the brain as the nexus of wisdom and sensation, includes theories of personality based on yin–yang balance, analyzes mental disorder in terms of physiological and social disequilibria. Chinese scholarship focused on the brain advanced in the Qing Dynasty with the work of Western-educated Fang Yizhi, Liu Zhi, Wang Qingren. Wang Qingren emphasized the importance of the brain as the center of the nervous system, linked mental disorder with brain diseases, investigated the causes of dreams and insomnia, advanced a theory of hemispheric lateralization in brain function. Distinctions in types of awareness appear in the ancient thought of India, influenced by Hinduism. A central idea of the Upanishads is the distinction between a person's transient mundane self and their eternal unchanging soul. Divergent Hindu doctrines, Buddhism, have challenged this hierarchy of selves, but have all emphasized the importance of reaching higher
In biology, a gene is a sequence of nucleotides in DNA or RNA that codes for a molecule that has a function. During gene expression, the DNA is first copied into RNA; the RNA can be directly functional or be the intermediate template for a protein that performs a function. The transmission of genes to an organism's offspring is the basis of the inheritance of phenotypic trait; these genes make up different DNA sequences called genotypes. Genotypes along with developmental factors determine what the phenotypes will be. Most biological traits are under the influence of polygenes as well as gene–environment interactions; some genetic traits are visible, such as eye color or number of limbs, some are not, such as blood type, risk for specific diseases, or the thousands of basic biochemical processes that constitute life. Genes can acquire mutations in their sequence, leading to different variants, known as alleles, in the population; these alleles encode different versions of a protein, which cause different phenotypical traits.
Usage of the term "having a gene" refers to containing a different allele of the same, shared gene. Genes evolve due to natural selection / survival of the fittest and genetic drift of the alleles; the concept of a gene continues to be refined. For example, regulatory regions of a gene can be far removed from its coding regions, coding regions can be split into several exons; some viruses store their genome in RNA instead of DNA and some gene products are functional non-coding RNAs. Therefore, a broad, modern working definition of a gene is any discrete locus of heritable, genomic sequence which affect an organism's traits by being expressed as a functional product or by regulation of gene expression; the term gene was introduced by Danish botanist, plant physiologist and geneticist Wilhelm Johannsen in 1909. It is inspired by the ancient Greek: γόνος, that means offspring and procreation; the existence of discrete inheritable units was first suggested by Gregor Mendel. From 1857 to 1864, in Brno, he studied inheritance patterns in 8000 common edible pea plants, tracking distinct traits from parent to offspring.
He described these mathematically as 2n combinations where n is the number of differing characteristics in the original peas. Although he did not use the term gene, he explained his results in terms of discrete inherited units that give rise to observable physical characteristics; this description prefigured Wilhelm Johannsen's distinction between phenotype. Mendel was the first to demonstrate independent assortment, the distinction between dominant and recessive traits, the distinction between a heterozygote and homozygote, the phenomenon of discontinuous inheritance. Prior to Mendel's work, the dominant theory of heredity was one of blending inheritance, which suggested that each parent contributed fluids to the fertilisation process and that the traits of the parents blended and mixed to produce the offspring. Charles Darwin developed a theory of inheritance he termed pangenesis, from Greek pan and genesis / genos. Darwin used the term gemmule to describe hypothetical particles. Mendel's work went unnoticed after its first publication in 1866, but was rediscovered in the late 19th century by Hugo de Vries, Carl Correns, Erich von Tschermak, who reached similar conclusions in their own research.
In 1889, Hugo de Vries published his book Intracellular Pangenesis, in which he postulated that different characters have individual hereditary carriers and that inheritance of specific traits in organisms comes in particles. De Vries called these units "pangenes", after Darwin's 1868 pangenesis theory. Sixteen years in 1905, Wilhelm Johannsen introduced the term'gene' and William Bateson that of'genetics' while Eduard Strasburger, amongst others, still used the term'pangene' for the fundamental physical and functional unit of heredity. Advances in understanding genes and inheritance continued throughout the 20th century. Deoxyribonucleic acid was shown to be the molecular repository of genetic information by experiments in the 1940s to 1950s; the structure of DNA was studied by Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins using X-ray crystallography, which led James D. Watson and Francis Crick to publish a model of the double-stranded DNA molecule whose paired nucleotide bases indicated a compelling hypothesis for the mechanism of genetic replication.
In the early 1950s the prevailing view was that the genes in a chromosome acted like discrete entities, indivisible by recombination and arranged like beads on a string. The experiments of Benzer using mutants defective in the rII region of bacteriophage T4 showed that individual genes have a simple linear structure and are to be equivalent to a linear section of DNA. Collectively, this body of research established the central dogma of molecular biology, which states that proteins are translated from RNA, transcribed from DNA; this dogma has since been shown to have exceptions, such as reverse transcription in retroviruses. The modern study of genetics at the level of DNA is known as molecular genetics. In 1972, Walter Fiers and his team were the first to determine the sequence of a gene: that of Bacteriophage MS2 coat protein; the subsequent development of chain-termination DNA sequencing in 1977 by Frederick Sanger improved the efficiency of sequencing and turned it into a routine laboratory tool.
An automated version of the Sanger method was used in early phases of the
The phenotype of an organism is the composite of the organism's observable characteristics or traits, including its morphology or physical form and structure. An organism's phenotype results from two basic factors: the expression of an organism's genetic code, or its genotype, the influence of environmental factors, which may interact, further affecting phenotype; when two or more different phenotypes exist in the same population of a species, the species is called polymorphic. A well-documented polymorphism is Labrador Retriever coloring. Richard Dawkins in 1978 and again in his 1982 book The Extended Phenotype suggested that bird nests and other built structures such as caddis fly larvae cases and beaver dams can be considered as "extended phenotypes"; the genotype-phenotype distinction was proposed by Wilhelm Johannsen in 1911 to make clear the difference between an organism's heredity and what that heredity produces. The distinction is similar to that proposed by August Weismann, who distinguished between germ plasm and somatic cells.
The genotype-phenotype distinction should not be confused with Francis Crick's central dogma of molecular biology, a statement about the directionality of molecular sequential information flowing from DNA to protein, not the reverse. The term "phenotype" has sometimes been incorrectly used as a shorthand for phenotypic difference from wild type, bringing the absurd statement that a mutation has no phenotype. Despite its straightforward definition, the concept of the phenotype has hidden subtleties, it may seem that anything dependent on the genotype is a phenotype, including molecules such as RNA and proteins. Most molecules and structures coded by the genetic material are not visible in the appearance of an organism, yet they are observable and are thus part of the phenotype, it may seem that this goes beyond the original intentions of the concept with its focus on the organism in itself. Either way, the term phenotype includes inherent traits or characteristics that are observable or traits that can be made visible by some technical procedure.
A notable extension to this idea is the presence of "organic molecules" or metabolites that are generated by organisms from chemical reactions of enzymes. Another extension adds behavior to the phenotype. Behavioral phenotypes include cognitive and behavioral patterns; some behavioral phenotypes may characterize psychiatric syndromes. Phenotypic variation is a fundamental prerequisite for evolution by natural selection, it is the living organism as a whole that contributes to the next generation, so natural selection affects the genetic structure of a population indirectly via the contribution of phenotypes. Without phenotypic variation, there would be no evolution by natural selection; the interaction between genotype and phenotype has been conceptualized by the following relationship: genotype + environment → phenotype A more nuanced version of the relationship is: genotype + environment + genotype & environment interactions → phenotype Genotypes have much flexibility in the modification and expression of phenotypes.
The plant Hieracium umbellatum is found growing in two different habitats in Sweden. One habitat is rocky, sea-side cliffs, where the plants are bushy with broad leaves and expanded inflorescences; these habitats alternate along the coast of Sweden and the habitat that the seeds of Hieracium umbellatum land in, determine the phenotype that grows. An example of random variation in Drosophila flies is the number of ommatidia, which may vary between left and right eyes in a single individual as much as they do between different genotypes overall, or between clones raised in different environments; the concept of phenotype can be extended to variations below the level of the gene that affect an organism's fitness. For example, silent mutations that do not change the corresponding amino acid sequence of a gene may change the frequency of guanine-cytosine base pairs; these base pairs have a higher thermal stability than adenine-thymine, a property that might convey, among organisms living in high-temperature environments, a selective advantage on variants enriched in GC content.
Richard Dawkins described a phenotype that included all effects that a gene has on its surroundings, including other organisms, as an extended phenotype, arguing that "An animal's behavior tends to maximize the survival of the genes'for' that behavior, whether or not those genes happen to be in the body of the particular animal performing it." For instance, an organism such as a beaver modifies its environment by building a beaver dam. When a bird feeds a brood parasite such as a cuckoo, it is unwittingly extending its phenotype.