This week : Psychology

Psychology is primarily concerned with the question of “Why the heck did you do that?”, as it has been since its inventor Ivan Pavlov was first poked in the eye by Mary Ainsworth. Several different approaches have been recognised, including social psychology, abnormal psychology, reverse psychology (AKA esrever ygolohcysp) and psychoanalysis. Sigmund Freud was heralded as the father of psychoanalysis, but because of psychoanalysis’ deep-rooted mental health issues it incorrectly identified him as its mother. Freud spent a lot of time high off his chops in the company of respected mental health professionals including Carl Jung and David Bowie, and finally concluded that all human thought was rooted in sex, having thought long and hard about the subject since ’69. Most psychologists were satisfied that Freud had penetrated the truth of the matter, though Adler considered his conclusions fallacious. The resulting mass orgy of debate goes on and on.

Not wanting to be outdone by a bearded, jumped-up Austrian, Pavlov attempted to hit back at Freud by training a team of attack dogs to sail to Vienna and savage Freud on command. Though his diabolical plan failed, Pavlov’s unnecessary cruelty to animals made him popular with other members of the scientific community, including Professor Schrodinger. Today, psychology is still attempting to answer the same question it started with, but now it relies heavily on a combination of empirical data, statistical analysis and lazy guesswork. Clinical psychology also frequently utilises mind-altering drugs, which the psychologists almost never share with their patients. The most well known psychological study in history took place in 1982, with the 74-day investigation into British-Argentinean international relations that came be known as the Falklands War.

You, the student of Psychology, are one of the luckiest people alive, because you are almost guaranteed a job in some field or another when you graduate. Psychology can be loosely defined as the study of people, so because every profession involves interacting with people (with the exception of computing and being a troglodyte), every profession needs a psychologist! You could apply for a job in counselling, marketing, media, market counselling, media councils, aromatherapy, entertainment or any one of the myriad of jobs that require non-specific qualifications. It’s true that psychology can be dangerous (one in four graduates break a bone the first time they Freudian slip), and difficult (Oedipus described it as complex), but ultimately a career in messing with people’s heads will be worthwhile. You will need to purchase a pair of glasses over which you can stare disinterestedly, a long couch and a beard, all of which are available from Argos. Under no circumstances should psychology be confused with psychiatry, which actually helps people, or parapsychology, which doesn’t.

* Jack Tomms is completely unqualified to make any claims about academia, at all, ever.

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