About

About This Blog

Those who study psychology typically want to know more about themselves and the people around them. The blog focuses on topics in psychology relevant to our everyday lives. In particular, I describe how scientific research can help us to understand everyday behaviors and also to deal better with various challenges many of us face.

The discipline of psychology is made up of a broad range of topic areas. In fact, the diversity of seemingly unrelated areas has led many to argue that psychology is not a unified discipline at all. Other disciplines are similarly diverse in their subject matter, but these disciplines usually contain fundamental principles that are shared by, and therefore unite, its various fields. For example, biology is unified by the principles and theories established within the fields of genetics and evolutionary biology, and especially the synthesis between these that developed between 1935 and 1945 (Dobzhansky, 1973; Huxley, 1942).

Psychology lacks such a set of unifying principles. This led Sigmund Koch (19841993) to conclude that psychology should be referred to as the psychological studies. Not all, however, agree that the situation is so dire (e.g., see Sternberg & Grigorenko, 2001). Regardless of whether one views psychology as one or many disciplines, one cannot deny that the topics studied by psychologists vary on a continuum ranging from the humanities to the natural sciences.

As a college professor who has taught a wide wide array of psychology and biology courses, I have had to do my best to develop some level of expertise across a number of areas — enough expertise, at least, to teach students about the basic concepts, theories, and perspectives within each area. Questions asked by students force teachers to delve ever deeper into the relevant fields in order to find answers. Trying to answer such questions is the best way for anyone to learn a subject area.

About The Author

My name is Jeffry Ricker. I am a professor of psychology at Scottsdale Community College in Scottsdale, Arizona, U.S.A. I attained the Ph.D. degree in Cognitive & Experimental Psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, with a research specialization in Behavior Genetics. In addition to teaching at Scottsdale Community College, I have taught at Arizona State University; the University of Missouri, St. Louis; and Paradise Valley Community College.

My educational and professional experiences may be found here: http://sccpsy101.com/curriculum-vitae/

My PSY 101 (Introduction to Psychology) website may be found here: http://sccpsy101.com/

You may contact me at drjeffryricker@gmail.com

References

Dobzhansky, T. (1973). Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution. The American Biology Teacher, 35 (3), 125-129.  Retrieved January 6, 2012, from http://tinyurl.com/83kpfyg

Huxley, J. S. (1942). Evolution: The modern synthesis. London: Allen & Unwin.

Koch, S. (1984, September). Psychology versus the psychological studies. In Symposium: Psychology in the Future (p. 175). Paper read at XXIII International Congress of Psychology, Acapulco, Mexico.  Retrieved January 5, 2012, from http://tinyurl.com/7rcy69q

Koch, S, (1993). “Psychology” or “the psychological studies”? American Psychologist, 48, 902-904. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.48.8.902  Retrieved January 5, 2012, from http://tinyurl.com/6qk7c6b

Sternberg, R. J., & Grigorenko, E. L. (2001). Unified psychology. American Psychologist, 56, 1069-1079. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.56.12.1069  Retrieved January 5, 2012, from http://tinyurl.com/7fmf7wm