Each of us is a student of human behaviour. From infancy to old age, we continually probe and search our own and others’ behaviours, trying to make some sense of it all. Psychology is the formal science of studying people. Psychology touches virtually every aspect of our lives. For example, how does the way our parents raised us affect the way we raise our own children? What is the best way to break a drug dependency? Can a man care for an infant as ably as a woman? Can you recall childhood experiences in more detail under hypnosis? What effect does prolonged stress have upon your immune system? How effective is Psychotherapy in treating depression? Psychologists are working on these and many other questions.
Psychology also affects our life through its influence on laws and public policy. Psychological theories and research have influenced laws concerning discrimination, capital punishment, pornography, sexual behaviour and the conditions under which individuals may not be responsible for their actions. An introductory course in Psychology should give you a better understanding of why people think and act as they do, and provide insights into your own attitudes and reactions. It should also help you evaluate the many claims made in the name of Psychology.