What is a psychological concept? Definition, Key Terms & Examples


What is a psychological concept?

Psychology is a fascinating subject, but it’s not always easy to understand. That’s why we created this list of psychological concepts and their definitions. Each one of these terms has been carefully selected because they are important to the study of psychology and understanding how our minds work.

We’ve organized them into different categories for your convenience and added links in case you want more information on each topic. This page will be regularly updated with new content so make sure you bookmark it!

What is a psychological concept?

Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mind, embracing all aspects of conscious and unconscious experience as well as thought. It is an academic discipline and social science that seeks to understand individuals and groups by establishing general principles and researching specific cases. 

In this field, a professional practitioner or researcher is called a psychologist and can be classified as a social, behavioral, or cognitive scientist. Psychologists attempt to understand the role of mental functions in individual and social behavior, while also exploring the physiological and biological processes that underlie cognitive functions and behaviors.

what is a psychological concept
what is a psychological concept?

What are the 5 types of psychological concepts?

The biological, humanistic, cognitive, psychoanalytic, and behavioral perspectives are five basic notions used in psychology to explain human behavior. 

 Each viewpoint offers its own take on the origins of why you do what you do.

The majority of psychologists use an eclectic approach to understanding and treating various human behaviors, incorporating elements from all five principles.

Behavioral Theories

Behavioral Theories - What are the 5 psychological concepts?
Behavioral Theories – What are the 5 psychological concepts?

Behavioral psychology, or behaviorism, is a learning theory based on the assumption that all behaviors are learned through conditioning. 

Therapists still employ behavioral approaches to assist clients to learn new skills and behaviors today.

A biological psychologist, for example, would explain aggressive conduct as the outcome of a physical ailment such as brain damage, tumor, or another brain disease. 

Cognitive Theories

The focus of cognitive theories of psychology are Internal states such as motivation, problem-solving, decision-making, thinking, and attention 

From a cognitive standpoint, behavior is the product of mental processes. These theories aim to explain various mental processes, such as how the mind processes information.

Humanistic Theories

Humanistic psychologists believe that you are fundamentally good and driven to reach your greatest potential.

The humanistic method, in contrast to the behavioral approach, focuses on individual empowerment. All of your decisions stem from a desire to better your life by meeting your needs and achieving your objectives.

Psychodynamic Theories

Psychodynamic psychology examines a person’s distinctive patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behavior. 

Sigmund Freud, a psychoanalyst, developed this hypothesis. Everyone’s subconscious, according to Freud, contains an ID, ego, and superego. In psychodynamic psychology, each component has subcomponents and plays a distinct role.

Biological Theories

Biopsychologists investigate the effects of your neurological system, hormones, and genetic makeup on your behavior.

All thoughts, feelings, and behaviors would have a biological basis in this perspective.  Your physical body informs all of your decisions. 

What is a concept in psychology?

Psychological concepts are ideas that psychologists come up with when carrying out their studies. However, they are not just “ideas”. They are carefully thought out and tested in order to ensure that they are true.

Sometimes, psychological concepts can change depending on the conclusions of psychologists’ research (Health & Social Care Information Centre). For example, “the concept heart” used to be thought of as a single organ until scientists found out there were four chambers (all chambers had valves on them).

What is a concept in psychology?
What is a concept in psychology?

What are examples of psychological concepts?

In psychology, a concept is a mental representation or idea that symbolically represents the real world.

One of the most important concepts in psychology is the concept of the self, which is found in numerous psychological theories. The concept of the self can be defined as one’s knowledge about oneself, including both conscious and unconscious aspects of the self.

Another concept in psychology is that of an attitude, which can be defined as a psychological tendency that is expressed by evaluating a particular entity with some degree of favor or disfavor.


Purpose of a Psychology Concept

Psychology is the “scientific study of human thoughts, feelings, and behaviors” (Health & Social Care Information Centre, 2014). It aims to find out why people act in certain ways by conducting research.

What are key concepts in psychology?

The scientific study of human behavior and mental processes. The branch of natural science is concerned with the physiological bases of behavior, with the nervous system and brain, and with the chemical and physical reactions that accompany all behavior. Psychology distinguishes itself from other disciplines by its approach to understanding behavior which is both scientific and humanistic.

The scientific study of behavior and mental processes, including their physiological bases. The branch of science is concerned with the measurement and explanation of human behavior.

How can we use psychology concepts in our everyday lives?

Understanding the current social, economic, and political context and how it affects us on a daily basis is becoming increasingly important. With the recent US election and Brexit, psychology has been a topic of much interest to the larger public. Psychology as a discipline uses scientific methods to test theories about what motivates individuals and groups. In this article, we highlight seven psychological concepts that can be applied to our everyday lives in order to better understand the world around us.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of some of the most popular psychological concepts and how they can be applied to your life. If not, don’t worry – we have plenty more over at our blog! Just head on over there for a whole new batch of content with which to entertain yourself. Have fun browsing through these fascinating topics, and if you’d like more information about any particular one or would like a personalized recommendation based on your interests, just let us know in the comments below!

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