Wednesday, November 16, 2016

What is Psychology? By Charles Gray Shaw 1920

What is Psychology? By Charles Gray Shaw 1920

See also 175 Classic Books in Psychology on DVDrom (Psychopathology, Psychoanalysis etc)

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MOST people look at the word "Psychology" as though it stood for something of a mysterious character like witchcraft, hypnotism, New Thought or the like, when as a matter of fact Psychology is nothing more than organized common sense applied to the problems of the mind.

If you have wondered why a building four hundred feet high looks longer than a ship four hundred feet long, if you have asked yourself why they always have music at the moving-picture show, if you have noted that time passes rapidly when you are busy, if you have observed green shadows after gazing at red, if you have heard the newsboy ask "what paper" instead of offering papers in general—if you have done things of this kind you have begun the practical study of psychology.

In a more scientific way, Psychology may be called a study of one's own mental states and his neighbor's acts; it is thus a science of the mind's states and acts, of the intellect and the will. It is not sufficient for the mind to think or the will to act, not enough for one to have mental states and for the other to exhibit certain acts; to be a psychologist you must know the why and wherefore of these inner dreams and outer deeds. When you put yourself into an interrogative mood as to ideas and motives, you put yourself in the position of the psychologist.

In order to turn your brain into a kind of home-laboratory, gaze all about you and then inquire whether your eyes have seen anything more than colors and grays; listen to every sound in the street and then note whether you have heard more than tone and noise. Suggest to your mind such things as—a shovel, Washington, D. C, the moon, last Sunday and see what other idea immediately leaps into your mind.

Do you know why it is that in the simple but painful act of arising in the morning, you keep thinking that you ought to get up but do not budge and then suddenly find that you are out upon the floor? How do you tell when another person is growing angry? Why does fear show itself in wide-open eyes? Can you tell when a man is just on the point of buying goods or when a woman is prepared to say "yes"?

These are psychological questions with which we are generally familiar, but the secret of them means study, the most interesting study in the world. It is Psychology!

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