Why do we behave the way we do?

Why do we behave the way we do?
2020-06-22

Hi and welcome, I'm Josh and I was a Programme Ambassador for the MSc Psychological Studies degree during my time as a student. The conversion course is a unique opportunity to study a masters in a new subject. It draws in all sorts of people with different backgrounds and stories. We all have our own reason for how we started getting interested in psychology - starts out with a little googling about personality, mental health, why people behave in strange ways, memory hacks, and before you know it, you want to know how the whole brain works and you're searching for conversion courses.

Psychology really is a brilliant subject because it applies a range of disciplines to understand the central theme - why do we behave the way we do? During the programme, we built the foundation by learning about neuroscience, cognitive psychology and psychophysics. Even if your main interests are social behaviour or child behaviour, it all boils down to perception - we see the world through the filter of the eye and our other senses. I studied Philosophy and Economics for my undergraduate and the Philosophy always had me fascinated by what we really know about objective reality. The neuroscience has you looking at the relationship between neurotransmitters and behaviour, how drugs affect our behaviour, and what different areas of the brain are responsible for. It also opens up the question - can our behaviour influence our physiology, or are we controlled by chemicals in our brain? Are we just animals in a deterministic world or are we the architects of our experience?

Beyond that we also learnt about the methods psychologists use to measure behaviour objectively - this is absolutely essential since the findings psychologists make are only as valid as the questionnaires and tests we use that claim to measure things like IQ or depression. You'll get a firm grasping of introductory statistics and by the time you start your thesis you'll be beginning to grasp how to think, write and critique like a psychologist and scientist.

Other areas that you’ll learn about are the development of infants through to adolescence and the surprising ways in which we behave and interact socially.

Published by The School of Psychology, University of Aberdeen

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