Studying the Mind

The brain is the most amazing and powerful tool we have; the mind is powerful, but not in the same way as the brain. The distinction between the two is important. The brain is the physical organ in our bodies. It regulates everything; it’s in charge of everything. Some things we are unaware of, like breathing and sleeping. Other things we have to think about, like eating and moving. The study of the brain is neurology.

The mind is messy. The mind is the entire study of psychology. So many things can go wrong (or right if you’re into positive psychology). It’s difficult to study because the mind is not a physical thing. Even when people take the time to study the mind, there are no definitive results. If you actually take the time to read a scientific study of psychology the results are never 100% one way or another. This is why psychology is considered a “soft science.”

When you read an article about some psychological discovery, chances are the author didn’t read the actual entire study, or they misinterpreted it, or they stretched the truth to make it way more interesting. For example, a popular article might be titled, “CURE FOR DEPRESSION FOUND!!!” and go on to describe some pill or method or therapy that cures depression. (I made this up, total exaggeration). If you were to find and read the original scientific study you would most likely find that said pill or method or therapy worked like 60% of the time. You would probably also read that whatever it is isn’t actually a cure for depression, it just alleviates the symptoms. Even then, the article will describe every single aspect of the study and why they got the results they did and it is a LOT more convoluted than that popular article you read!

Popular articles are important because they draw attention to the field of psychology and help people to understand it without having to decipher a scientific study. It’s just important to remember that there is nothing definitive in psychology. We continue to do study after study and people study the same things over and over with different methodologies and mixed results. Eventually, hopefully, whatever is being studied will start to produce similar results and we’ll be launched forward little by little.