How does mathematics relate to psychology

After reading this article you will learn about the relationship between Psychology and Other Sciences.

(i) Psychology and Physical Sciences:

Psychology is a science of experience of an individual. But experience presupposes the duality of subject and object, both of which are real. Psychology deals with mental processes such as knowing, feeling and willing, and in order to account for them adequately it must study the nature of physical stimuli in relation to knowing and willing.

But there is a difference between psychology and physical sciences in the treatment of physical objects. Physical sciences investigate the nature of physical stimuli apart from their relation to an individual. But psychology studies the nature of the interaction between an individual with physical stimuli.

Psycho­logical science is not concerned with the nature of physical stimuli in themselves apart from their relation to an individual. It is primarily concerned with behaviour of an individual, and indirectly concerned with external stimuli.

Physical sciences investigate the nature of physical phenomena, and so they help psychology to explain the experience and behaviour of the individual, which are reactions to the physical and social stimuli.

(ii) Psychology and Biology:

Psychology is a science of the experience and behaviour. However experience cannot be adequately explained without the concomitant physiological processes. The environment acts on the mind through the sense-organs; and the mind reacts to the environ­ment through the muscles. The sense-organs and muscles are organs of the body. So mental processes are closely related to bodily processes.

In fact, mental processes are regarded by many psychologists as functions of life. They are devices for better adaptation of the psycho-physical organism to the environment. Many modern psychologists treat psychology from the biological point of view.

They hold that consciousness emerges when the innate reactions fail to adapt the organism to the environment, and that higher mental processes are evolved in order to adjust the organism more and more effectively to the complex environment.

The relation between psychological science and biological science is very close. Experience and behaviour of an individual can be explained in terms of some of the basic concepts of biological science. E. R. Hess has shown that there are close correlations between psychic and neuronal processes in human personality.

In his view, it is quite probable that there are connections between “psychic performances and the organization of the brain.” 

The sub­jective experience of an individual is closely related to the cerebral structure and the properties of its structural elements. There is a close correlation between the organization of the brain and arrange­ments of the contents of consciousness. It is obvious, then, that the relation between psychological and biological sciences is very great.

(iii) Psychology and Physiology:

Psychology is a science of experience. Experiences of an individual are intimately connected with physiological processes, especially of the nervous system. Hence, psychology studies these physiological processes in order to adequately account for mental processes.

It does not study those physiological processes which are not related to mental processes, because it is primarily concer­ned with mental processes and behaviour.

Psychology is not to be confounded with physiology. Psychology deals with experiences, viz., knowing, feeling and willing. These are connected with physiological processes which are, therefore, studied by psychology. Psychology also deals with behaviour which is an expression of experience.

Behaviour is bodily reaction of an individual to the physical and social environment. Hence, psychology studies the nature of the different kinds of behaviour. It does not study the nature of all kinds of physiological processes. Physiology, on the other hand, studies the nature of all kinds of physiological processes—the functions of all organs of the body.

The Behaviourists seek to reduce psychology to physiology which is a biological science. They do away with the concept of mind or consciousness. Psychology deals with behaviour which is a reaction of the whole organism to the stimulus, and not of a part of it. But physiology studies the reactions of the different parts or organs of the body.

The relation between psychological science and physiology is so intonate that a very important discipline has developed during the last quarter of a century known as ‘physiological psychology’.

Physiological psychology has developed with great strides by adop­ting the concepts and techniques from other allied disciplines like neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, endocrinology, pharmacology, cellular physiology, and biochemistry. Researches in the field of physiological psychology have thrown valuable light on the nature of human personality and telic behaviour.

(iv)  Psychology and Logic:

Psychology is wider in scope than Logic, because it deals with all kinds of mental processes, viz., knowing, feeling and willing. But Logic deals with thinking only, which is a kind of knowing. It does not deal with feeling and willing.

But Logic is not identical with the psychology of thinking, because psychology is a positive science, while Logic is a norma­tive science. Psychology tells us how we actually think while Logic- tells us how we ought to think in order to arrive at truth.

There are some differences between Psychology and Logic. Psychology is concerned with the study of mental processes, e.g., conception, judgement, and reasoning, while Logic is concerned with mental products, e.g., concepts, judgements and inferences.

Psychology deals with the process of reasoning or mental exploration of data whereas Logic deals with the result of mental explora­tion or finding a new relationship among the data.

Psychology deals with concrete mental processes, viz., concep­tion, judgement and reasoning as attended with feeling and willing, while Logic deals with the abstract mental products, viz., concepts, judgements and inferences divorced from feeling and willing.

Logic, as a normative science, is based on Psychology which is a positive science. In order to know how we ought to reason, we should know how we do reason. We should know the nature of reasoning before we can investigate the conditions of its validity.

Psychology deals with the actual process of reasoning. Logic deals with the validity of reasoning and the conditions of its validity. Nevertheless, the laws of logic are conditioned by the laws according to which the human personality thinks. All types of logical thinking are limited by the limitations of the human mind.

During recent years the relation between psychological science and logic is very close. Many contemporary psychologists make extensive use of some of the concepts of symbolic logic or mathema­tical logic. During the empirical phase of the development of psychological science it has been more concerned with experiments.

However, recently it has been making use of the concepts and techniques of symbolic logic for theoretical systematization of psychological science. It is further expected with the systematiza­tion of the theory of psychological science it would make more extensive use of symbolic logic.

(v) Psychology and Philosophy:

Philosophy has two parts epistemology and ontology. Psycho­logy is related to epistemology. Psychology enquires into the nature of knowing, feeling, and willing. It deals with knowing as a fact, and the nature and development of knowledge of an individual mind.

It is concerned with the validity of knowledge. Psychology assumes the possibility of knowledge and merely traces its growth and development in an individual mind.

But Epistemology enquires into the conditions under which knowledge is possible, and deals with the validity of knowledge.

It seeks to answer the following questions:

(1) Is knowledge of reality possible?

(2) Does knowledge represent reality?

(3) What is the source of true knowledge? Is it experience or reason or both?

(4) What are the conditions of valid knowledge?

(5) What is the range, extent, or limit of knowledge?

Thus Psychology is the basis of Epistemology. It enquires into the nature of knowing as a fact. Epistemology, on the other hand, enquires into the validity of knowledge. In order to enquire into the validity of knowledge, we should know how we actually know.

Locke tried to solve the problems of epistemology by the psychological analysis of the process of knowing. But Kant tried to solve them by the critical method, and tried to find out the a priori conditions of knowledge, which are its presuppositions.

Psychology is related to Ontology or Metaphysics. Psychology deals with knowing as a fact. Epistemology enquires into the condi­tions of the validity of knowledge. Metaphysics or Ontology enq­uires into the ultimate nature of the reality that is known.

Metaphysics or Ontology deals with the ultimate nature of the self, the external world, and God. Psychology is not concerned with God at all. It assumes the reality of the mind and the external world, and the mind’s capacity to know the world. Metaphysics proves the reality of the self, the world, and the knowledge of the world by the self. Metaphysics tests the validity of the fundamental assumptions of psychology.

Psychology originated from philosophy like every other science. However, as psychology developed as an autonomous science, it got itself separated from philosophy. Recently it has discovered that there are certain theoretical problems in psychological science which are of speculative nature.

These speculative problems of psychological science fall within the range of philosophy. Philoso­phical psychology deals with those problems in psychological science which have philosophical overtones.

(vi) Psychology and Sociology:

Psychology deals with the behaviour pattern of an individual in relation to the environment which is physical as well as social. The external world or light, sound, taste, smell, heat, cold, etc., constitute the physical environment. Parents, relatives, friends, enemies, playmates, companions and all the people with whom an individual comes into contact and interacts constitute his social environment.

The individual mind grows and develops through interaction with the society. He develops his personality through social intercourse. There is constant interaction between the individual and the society.

Sociology deals with the nature, origin, and development of society. It investigates into manners, customs and institutions of a society in all its stages of development from the savage to the civilized state. Hence, psychology is intimately related to sociology.

Sociology is primarily concerned with the study of the inter­relationships between human personalities in social groups. It is concerned with the study of the bonds which inter-relate individuals in society. The nature of inter-personal relationships has become quite intelligible through investigations in the field of psychology.

It is obvious, then, that there is considerable overlapping between the provinces of psychology and sociology. However, in spite of the fact that there is close relation between psychology and sociology there are certain points of difference between the two.

Psychology is primarily concerned with the experience and behaviour of an individual. Sociology, on the other hand, is concerned with the role that an individual plays in society.

Social psychology deals with the collective behaviour. It investigates the peculiar characteristics of the individuals which they acquire as members of groups. It studies the behaviour of the crowd and the mob. It studies the psychological principles of social organisation. It is the meeting ground of psychology and sociology.

Psychology, sociology and social psychology are the various branches of social science. Psychology and sociology are concerned with the study of behaviour of individuals in social setting. They study behaviour from different points of view.

(vii) Psychology and Education:

Psychology is the science of the behaviour of the individual in relation to the environment. Education is the science of unfolding the powers, of the pupil and moulding his character and behaviour in such a manner that he becomes a useful and well-adjusted member of the community.

Education is the process of developing the powers of the individual harmoniously, and adjusting him to the social environment by modifying his behaviour. Therefore, educa­tional psychology applies the general principles of psychology to the practical needs of education. It gives a psychological founda­tion to education and makes it sound.

Education implies two agents—viz., the teacher and the pupil. The teacher should know the mind of the pupil. Otherwise, he cannot impart appropriate education to him. There are special characteristics of the child mind which differ according to different stages of its development.

A teacher should utilize the principles of psychology to develop the child’s powers of observation, attention, memory, imagination, thinking, emotion, volition, and character.

Psychology helps an educationist by telling him of the innate endowment of the child, of the laws of his mental development, of the effect of the environment on his mind. It helps an educationist by telling him how one person acts on another, how the group life influences the individual, and how the corporate life of a school moulds the personality of a child.

It helps an educationist by telling him how knowledge systems are built up, and how new knowledge is received and assimilated into the system of knowledge already formed.

During recent years psychological techniques are employed for evoking creative behaviour. Jackson and Messick maintain that human invention results from the interaction between the creative person, his product of creativity, and the responses of the environment to it.

Psychological principles have been very successfully applied to educational designs. “Man has himself created the human civilization through his educational designs.” It is evident, then, that the relation between psychology and education is very close.

Education is a normative science. It lays down the end of education. Psychology cannot help the science of education in defining its end. But it can point out the means of realizing the end of education. It studies mental processes, e.g., motives, emotions, and sentiments of the child, the adolescent and the adult.

Therefore, i can help the education of the child, the adolescent and the adult. It studies the behaviour of the individual and the group. Therefore, it can help the science of education which seeks to stimulate the intellectual growth of a learner.