Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Psychology Guide

What is Psychology?

Psychology as a scientific discipline aims to describe, understand, and predict the behavior of living organisms. In doing so, psychology embraces the many factors that influence behavior - from sensory experience to complex cognition, from the role of genetics to that of social and cultural environments, from the processes that explain behavior in early childhood to those that operate in older ages, and from normal development to pathological conditions.

UC Berkeley Department of Psychology

Key Terms

Scientific Method: a standardized way of making observations, gathering data, forming theories, testing predictions, and interpreting resultsResearchers in psychology use the scientific method to make observations in order to describe and measure behavior. 

Theory: a well-established principle that has been developed to explain some aspect of the natural world. A theory arises from repeated observation and testing and incorporates facts, laws, predictions, and tested hypotheses that are widely accepted.

Hypothesis: a specific, testable prediction about what is expected to occur in a study.

This diagram shows the steps of the scientific method:

Scientific Method as a decision tree

The Impact of Research and How it Can be Used in Art

Common areas of study that relate psychology and art include theories on the strategies and effectiveness of advertising, corporate identity and branding, art analysis and perception, and the cultural implications of social media.

Psychological research can be used to elevate the study and interpretation of all art forms and lend to a deeper understanding of an artist through critical analysis.  

Otis College of Art and Design | 9045 Lincoln Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90045 | Otis Dashboard

Millard Sheets Library | Library Dashboard Site | 310-665-6930 | Ask a Librarian