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Does Psychology Tell Us More About Ourselves Than 'common Sense'? 1,683 Words

1762 words - 8 pages

In order to answer a question on whether psychology provides more information or insight about ourselves than common sense does, one must first seek to clarify and distinguish the differences between these two terms. What is Psychology? Psychology can be defined as "the science or study of the thought processes and behaviour of humans and other animals in their interaction with the environment." Common sense on the other hand, according to Charles G. Morris and Albert A. Maisto in Psychology: An Introduction. Tenth Edition, is "a collection of untested cultural assumptions and sayings that cover almost any situation."Psychologists study processes of sense perception, thinking, learning, ...view middle of the document...

Take for example, a toddler or pre-teen would not experience the same thought and behavioral patterns as would an adolescent, due to the drastic change of chemical and biological make-up that occurs during adolescence. Here, psychology analyzes these changes and their effects, and can apply his conclusion to the contribution of a better understanding of self. Common sense, which will be examined in a broader scale further in this essay, does not and cannot provide as accurate a conclusion or explanation as does the principled and proven methodology of psychology.In order to strengthen the argument given, I will attempt to highlight Personality psychology with relation to the current events in the United States of America. Personality psychology looks at differences among people such as anxiety, aggressiveness, and self esteem. Some may view the recent attacks on America as results of aggression and attempts to rebuild the self-esteem of the Afghanistans and other countries that were themselves victims of the United States' attacks.Common sense and psychological theories can be linked in the example given. The attacks on America can be viewed as a result of cultural or religious influences as the teachings of Islam provide that it is an honour to commit suicide and murder (even mass murder) for the cause of Islam. Hence, it is possible to argue that from the Islamic followers's point of view that the actions taken against the United States, seen in their eyes as a terrorist and corrupt country, were fully justified. This opinion can be viewed psychologically as a direct result of cultural and religious influence as well as that the Americans paid for their wrongs and must continue to pay, no matter the cost as justice must prevail, from a common sense point of view.Common sense is seen as more applicable in day to day life, it is closely linked with morality as, taking for example the justice system, common sense suggests that if a person or a group is guilty of wrong doing upon another, they must be punished and brought to justice, whereas psychology may point out the reason leading to this action as a psychological effect or result due to reactions to experiences beyond the perpetrator's control. Common sense teaches us that we shouldn't do certain things because of negative repercussions.However, common sense has too many contradictions to be solely depended on in the comprehension of ourselves and in the governing of our lives. Take for example, common sense states that "opposites attract," when in fact, according to Morris and Maisto, research shows that people are attracted to people who are similar to themselves in characteristics important to them, thus proving that findings in psychology often are found contradictory to "common sense."Common sense is sometimes expressed in proverbs such as "look before you leap." Yes, it can be argued, that is common sense - after all, it would be considered stupid to proceed with something without...

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