Psychology: Chapter 1, Section 1--Five Basic Goals

  1. Goal #1
    Describe--The first goal is to observe behavior and describe, often in minute detail, what was observed as objectively as possible.
  2. Goal #2
    Explain--While descriptions come from observable data, psychologists must go beyond what is obvious and explain their observations. In other words, why did the subject do what he or she did?
  3. Goal #3
    Predict--Once we know what happens, and why it happens, we can begin to speculate what will happen in the future. There’s an old saying, which very often holds true: “the best predictor of future behaviors is past behavior.”
  4. Goal #4
    Control--Once we know what happens, why it happens, and what is likely to happen in the future, we can excerpt control over it. In other words, if we know you choose abusive partners because your father was abusive, we can assume you will choose another abusive partner, and can therefore intervene to change this negative behavior.
  5. Goal #5
    Improve--not only do psychologists attempt to control behavior, they want to do so in a positive manner, they want to improve a person’s life, not make it worse. This is not always the case, but it should always be the intention.
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Psychology: Chapter 1, Section 1--Five Basic Goals
The five basic goals of Psychology.