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Gripes about psychology

    People have a lot of assumptions about psychology. After studying for four years, I have heard, “So, you're going to analyze me?” or “Good, I have lots of problems,” about as often as I have mentioned my field of study. That would be fine and dandy if I was studying Clinical psych. But I'm not. There is more to psych than Freud and psychoanalysis! “Sure,” you say, “there are lab rats too.” No! Psych is the study of behaviour. Any behaviour.
    For my honours thesis, I studied how we identify faces. In my second year, I looked at human memory for pictures. Sure, plenty of people study depression, sexual disorders and schizophrenia, but many others research human language acquisition, wolves’ social hierarchies, neural pathways for hearing and, yes, rats.
    It really annoys me that people are so ill-informed about all the varied dimensions of psychology. To Mr. Joe Public, psychology equals the “talking cure.” And he assumes that every psychologist does that. Where does this idea come from? It certainly doesn't come from the school system, because (at least in Nova Scotia) psych is completely absent from the curriculum. (I know, deep cuts… keep the essentials…) The misconception is probably caused by the media, but that catch-all is too deep to get into.
   In any case, if you've put up with me this far, at least you know that not all psychologists say, “I see, tell me more…”

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