psychology

noun
psy·​chol·​o·​gy | \ sī-ˈkä-lə-jē How to pronounce psychology (audio) \
plural psychologies

Definition of psychology

1 : the science of mind and behavior
2a : the mental or behavioral characteristics of an individual or group
b : the study of mind and behavior in relation to a particular field of knowledge or activity
3 : a theory or system of psychology Freudian psychology the psychology of Jung

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The Roots of Psychology

The word psychology was formed by combining the Greek psychē (meaning “breath, principle of life, life, soul,”) with –logia (which comes from the Greek logos, meaning “speech, word, reason”). An early use appears in Nicholas Culpeper’s mid-17th century translation of Simeon Partliz’s A New Method of Physick, in which it is stated that “Psychologie is the knowledg of the Soul.” Today, psychology is concerned with the science or study of the mind and behavior. Many branches of psychology are differentiated by the specific field to which they belong, such as animal psychology, child psychology, and sports psychology.

Examples of psychology in a Sentence

She studied psychology in college. the psychology of an athlete the psychology of crowd behavior We need to understand the psychologies of the two people involved in the incident.
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Recent Examples on the Web Most have either looked only at comparisons between two cultures or focused on big, industrialized countries, says Joshua Jackson, a doctoral student in psychology at Chapel Hill. Diana Kwon, Scientific American, "Emotional Words Such as “Love” Mean Different Things in Different Languages," 19 Dec. 2019 This fall's course included a Skype talk from Alex Auerbach, director of clinical and sport psychology at the University of Arizona. Jaime Adame, Arkansas Online, "UA researcher keys on college athletes," 15 Dec. 2019 Teixeira grew up in Guinea-Bissau and then moved to Cape Verde to study psychology at Jean Piaget University. Eric Levenson, CNN, "Man found guilty of murder in gruesome killings of engaged doctors in their Boston penthouse," 10 Dec. 2019 Wright — whose wife, University of Cincinnati psychology professor Farrah Jacquez, is of Mexican descent — will gather with her family and his relatives at his parents' home in Florence, Kentucky, after hosting two recent Thanksgivings. Dan Sewell, Cincinnati.com, "On the Thanksgiving menu: Turkey, with a side of impeachment," 27 Nov. 2019 The team used reinforcement learning, which borrows concepts from the psychology term by the same name. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "Bad News for Dads: Robots Can Grill Hot Dogs Now," 23 Dec. 2019 Still, much of market and consumer psychology is confidence, a quality Trump has in surplus. Christine Romans, CNN, "It took 10 years. Americans finally believe the economy is good," 20 Dec. 2019 To find out how a concept like love varies from language to language, Joshua Conrad Jackson, a Ph.D. student in cultural psychology at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, tried a new approach using statistics. Catherine Matacic, Science | AAAS, "What is love? It depends which language you speak," 19 Dec. 2019 From an academic background in psychology and neuroscience—rather than computer science—Mr Marcus has long been an AI gadfly. K.n.c., The Economist, "Don’t trust AI until we build systems that earn trust," 18 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'psychology.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of psychology

1749, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for psychology

New Latin psychologia, from psych- + -logia -logy

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Learn More about psychology

Time Traveler for psychology

Time Traveler

The first known use of psychology was in 1749

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Statistics for psychology

Last Updated

12 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Psychology.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/psychology. Accessed 19 January 2020.

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More Definitions for psychology

psychology

noun
How to pronounce psychology (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of psychology

: the science or study of the mind and behavior
: the way a person or group thinks

psychology

noun
psy·​chol·​o·​gy | \ sī-ˈkä-lə-jē How to pronounce psychology (audio) \

Kids Definition of psychology

: the science that studies the mind and behavior

psychology

noun
psy·​chol·​o·​gy | \ -jē How to pronounce psychology (audio) \
plural psychologies

Medical Definition of psychology

1 : the science of mind and behavior
2a : the mental or behavioral characteristics typical of an individual or group or a particular form of behavior mob psychology the psychology of arson
b : the study of mind and behavior in relation to a particular field of knowledge or activity color psychology the psychology of learning
3 : a treatise on or a school, system, or branch of psychology

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More from Merriam-Webster on psychology

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with psychology

Spanish Central: Translation of psychology

Nglish: Translation of psychology for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of psychology for Arabic Speakers

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