Advertising and Marketing Psychology Business Psychology Clinical Psychology Criminal Psychology Death and Dying Psychology P S Y C H O L O G Y I N A C T I O N
Family Psychology Media Psychology
Performance Psychology Rehabilitation Psychology
School Psychology Sports Psychology
P S Y C H O L O G Y I N A C T I O N
By Amanda Turner Anne S. Walters, PhD, ABPP, Consultant Performance Psychology
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C O N T E N T S
Introduction: What Is Psychology? .............................. 6 Chapter 1: Becoming a Performance Psychologist ... 10 Chapter 2: History and Development of the Field .... 26 Chapter 3: Common and Unusual Issues .................. 42 Chapter 4: How Psychology Helps ............................ 60 Chapter 5: Takeaways for Everyday Life . ................. 76 Series Glossary of Key Terms ...................................... 90 Further Reading & Internet Resources ...................... 93 Index . ............................................................................. 94 Author’s Biography and Credits ................................. 96 KEY I CONS TO LOOK FOR : Words to Understand: These words with their easy-to-understand definitions will increase readers’ understanding of the text while building vocabulary skills. Sidebars: This boxed material within the main text allows readers to build knowledge, gain insights, explore possibilities, and broaden their perspectives by weaving together additional information to provide realistic and holistic perspectives. Educational Videos: Readers can view videos by scanning our QR codes, providing them with additional educational content to supplement the text. Text-Dependent Questions: These questions send the reader back to the text for more careful attention to the evidence presented there. Research Projects: Readers are pointed toward areas of further inquiry connected to each chapter. Suggestions are provided for projects that encourage deeper research and analysis. Series Glossary of Key Terms: This back-of-the-book glossary contains terminology used throughout this series. Words found here increase the reader’s ability to read and comprehend higher-level books and articles in this field.
What Is Psychology? When we look up the meaning of the word psychology , we learn that it comes from two Greek words—“psyche,” which means “mind,” and “logia,” which means “the study of.” Hence, psychology is “the study of the mind.” (Merriam-Webster.com) Essentially, psychology aims to study and better understand emotions, thoughts, and behaviors, with the goal of benefiting society. Those who choose to study psychology generally have a strong urge to help others, though the definition of “others” can vary across concentric circles of influence, from the individual to the family and then on to broader systems such as a school, neighborhood, or society. That urge to help and understand people and their behavior is perhaps the most basic motivator that leads an individual to want to pursue the study of psychology. Some describe psychology as a “hub science” to depict the way that it links to the social sciences, the natural sciences, medicine, and the humanities. In university settings, however, psychology is considered a social science. Social sciences deal with the study of human behavior in its social and cultural aspects. They include fields such as anthropology, sociology, political science, history, education, and economics. These fields are certainly diverse, and yet one can see the commonality: these disciplines all teach us more about how the individual and society interact and influence each other. Another important distinction is the one between psychology and psychiatry. Simply put, psychologists pursue
graduate level degrees (master’s or doctorate) in psychology, whereas psychiatrists complete medical school prior to specializing in psychiatry. After medical school (and receiving an MD degree), there are three years of psychiatry training to become an adult psychiatrist. If they want to specialize further (such as in child and adolescent psychiatry or forensics), there is additional training in this specialty field for several years and then they must take a board examination to become certified in their specialty area. Psychiatrists can prescribe medication, and psychologists cannot (although in some rural or underserved areas this is an option for psychologists). Psychiatrists are also uniquely suited to understand biological or medical contributions to mental illness. On the other hand, some day-to-day practices of psychiatrists do not look that different from those of psychologists. What does studying psychology entail? There are so many options! Within psychology, there are multiple fields of study. Some of them you will learn about in these volumes, but it would take far too many volumes to cover all of them. If you’re interested in exploring more about psychology beyond this series, you might consider developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, and comparative psychology. Developmental psychology is the study of development throughout a person’s life, from infancy through old age. Some of the more famous developmental psychologists have been Jean Piaget, who identified stages for the development of cognition in children, and B. F. Skinner, who studied the process of learning and taught us about the concepts of operant and classical conditioning. Another field, cognitive psychology, studies human thought: one famous psychologist in this field is Noam Chomsky, who studied the development of language. Comparative psychologists study animal behavior, and in this area Konrad
Lorenz studied the process by which baby geese “imprint” on the first object they see after birth. If you Google Professor Lorenz, you may see pictures of goslings following him around the yard. Although there are many ways to cluster the various subfields of psychology, one common distinction is between clinical and nonclinical applications, sometimes also referred to as applied psychology vs. basic research . Clinical or applied psychology focuses on understanding and treating psychiatric disorders that challenge day-to-day functioning. Treatment is derived from an evidence base that assesses outcomes or the ways that a treatment is effective. Establishing an evidence base is an important aspect of the work of a psychologist. Some devote their careers to this work, which can overlap with nonclinical or research applications. Researchers use scientific methods to advance knowledge in the field in a variety of topics. These psychologists work in academic settings as well as industry and organizations. Why would you want to become a psychologist or even to study psychology? The field of psychology has countless applications to everyday life, and as such, it can be a jumping off point for many careers. The reader will learn about different psychology careers in these volumes. What’s more, as a major in college, psychology can be applied to a variety of careers outside of psychology, such as human resources, teaching, criminal justice, and many others. For those who have the option to take an elective psychology course in high school, it can be a wonderful opportunity to get a jump start on the weighty decision of what to major in and to see whether the subject matter interests you. In writing this introduction, I can give you a window into a personal choice. I am a child clinical psychologist and have devoted my career to helping children and their families. I work
in an academic medical center, which means that although I do clinical work, I also teach and supervise psychology students at many phases of their career. In addition, I write for various venues and conduct applied research into the outcomes of the treatment we provide. I am also an administrator, and as such I attend to aspects of psychology as a “business”: hiring and training those who do the work in our setting and tracking our budget, to name a few examples. One of the best things about this career is that every day is different, and yet the common experience is of helping others. In producing this series, we hope that we can provide a window into the varied choices you can make with a degree in psychology. From professor to therapist, working with toddlers or the elderly, teaching business psychology or conducting family therapy, there is likely at least one application of the subject of psychology that will appeal to you. I hope the exploration is rewarding!
Anne S. Walters, PhD, ABPP Clinical Director Children’s Partial Hospital Program Clinical Professor Alpert Medical School of Brown University
Anxiety: Fear or worry that may be accompanied by uncomfortable physical symptoms, such as sweating, shaking, or an upset stomach. Debilitating: Causing an inability to function. Intake appointment: The first appointment between a psychologist and a client in which the psychologist learns about the client’s history. Visualization: A psychological technique that involves visualizing positive outcomes in a tough situation to help the client perform at a high level and/or overcome fear. Imagine you’re standing in front of your class, about to give a presentation. WORDS TO UNDERSTAND
Becoming a Performance Psychologist
Imagine you’re standing in front of your class, about to give a presentation on a topic you’ve been researching for months. You know the material, and you’ve rehearsed at home, but your nerves are beginning to get the best of you. When you begin your presentation, your voice sounds shaky, you’re stumbling over your words, and you’re forgetting valuable pieces of information that you knew you wanted to include. If you’ve ever choked under pressure (despite being well prepared), you’re not alone. Many people get nervous when performing (especially in front of others), and it can be hard to figure out how to calm your nerves so that you can give your best to the task at hand. Performance psychology is the study of how people perform, and what types of tactics performers can use to excel at their craft (even when they’re nervous, tired, or under a lot of pressure).
Everyone wants to perform at a high level—and performance psychologists help musicians, athletes, public speakers, businesspeople, athletes, and others maximize their talents and abilities when it matters most. Some performance psychologists work specifically with performers in a single discipline, such as actors or musicians, while others work with a variety of people who perform in different situations. What Is Performance Psychology? The goal of performance psychology is to help people achieve optimal human performance. Psychologists who help people perform at a high level work with a wide range of clients across a number of fields. Performance psychologists help people analyze their performance, as well as the thoughts and emotions that come before, during, and after performances, and how they can change those thoughts so that they’re able to perform at their peak ability. Performance psychologists may help their clients correct a specific problem, such as anxiety before a public speaking engagement. They may also help them explore past experiences that might be holding them back in their career or personal life. Who Does Performance Psychology Help? People who may turn to a performance psychologist for help include: • Businesspeople who want to work on their public speaking skills to deliver presentations that are clear and effective. • Athletes who want to get to the next level in their careers. • Musicians who want help staying focused while on stage.
The goal of performance psychology is to help achieve optimal performance.
Chapter 1: Becoming a Performance Psychologist
What’s a Phobia?
A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder. People who experience a phobia aren’t just nervous about something—they experience debilitating symptoms when faced with their fear. In addition to feeling paralyzed, a person may experience physical symptoms, such as trouble breathing, nausea, and trembling uncontrollably. A performance psychologist can help people who have performance-based phobias, such as the fear of public speaking, develop tools to help them manage their anxiety.
Musicians who want to stay focused on stage may see a performance psychologist.
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