1.2 Psychology has wide appeal
Some people will be doing this psychology course to consolidate earlier study and experience and to build a career. Others will be quite new to psychology as a formal research-based discipline. Some will have been stimulated to study a course in psychology by the well-publicised examples of research findings or psychologists at work that are presented in the media. Some will be coming to this course because of experiences in their own personal lives. This may be because they have been touched by especially difficult circumstances which they want to come to terms with, or because they feel the need to understand psychological topics such as identity, personality, relationships, intergroup relations or unconscious motivations. Others may have become curious about basic psychological questions such as how we perceive, the nature of memory, why we forget, and how we can understand the processes of learning. Psychologists working professionally, whether doing research or in their psychotherapeutic practices, can help us to think about such everyday issues.
Whilst no psychology course can promise definitive answers to all the questions in which you personally may be interested, the material in this course will increase your knowledge and your awareness, and provide ways of thinking about psychological issues of many kinds. In this course we want to indicate how we have arrived at the contemporary, multifaceted discipline of twenty-first-century psychology and discuss some of the issues which psychologists debate and study.
Consider the suggestions we made about why people might be studying this course and then list your own reasons for studying psychology. Think about this question in some depth; don't stop at just one reason. Try to bring into mind anything that might be of relevance to you, especially at this particular point in your life. If you can, keep these notes until you reach the end of the course and then consider if, and how, the psychology you have studied has illuminated these original goals.