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Real-World Applications of Psychological Theories

Info: 5003 words (20 pages) Essay
Published: 18th May 2020 in Psychology

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 ‘Psychological theory and research into how people understand themselves and others has important real-world applications. ‘Evaluate this claim, drawing upon examples of research from across the module to support your answer.

This essay will evaluate the research across this module, which has shown examples of psychological theories and research into how people understand themselves and others, also how this has importance within real world applications. Within this evaluation examples drawn upon are from multiple blocks within this module which shows support for this claim. Although, also considering the option of in psychology are mistakes made, is there a possibility it could be wrong? Psychology is great; however, it does hold its own restrictions.

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How do we understand ourselves and others in the real world? One example of this in block 1 is mind reading, known as the theory of mind. Many people can automatically think of the term mind reading and associate this with psychics and mystics, known as the extraordinary mindreading(Hewson, 2015). However in a sense people mind read all the time as they network with others on a regular basis – this is mind reading used in real world application, people are accrediting mental states to others to interpret their actions in terms of such states including, beliefs, desires, goals/ambitions, emotions etc. Psychologist have therefore used this term ‘mindreading’ to refer to a basic capability, underpinning people’s social relations with others (Hewson, 2018)

Psychologist are very much interested in using their knowledge in the real world, although as well as this, investigating conditions such as autism and psychopathy provides useful theoretical comprehensions to the human mind, for example in the case of autism this work has been focused on helping develop the ability of those with ASD to intermingle with others in order to improve their quality of life (Hewson and Turner, 2018a). Reviewing methods to try and teach autistic children mindreading skills, a project had taken place, a computer game initially intended to teach both emotion recognition and emotion expression, however there had been inadequate research data on emotion expression, therefore the sample could not be developed in this way, this demonstrates the essential role behind research findings and theories in informing such real world mediations. Such research is central to developing real world interventions that can be effective and useful in helping individuals with conditions such as autism(Hewson and Turner, 2018b). The basic ability is found to be a essential element of human social interaction, for the majority of people, these ‘mindreading’ skills are often in use spontaneously and naturally, without needing a great deal of conscious thought or reflection, except maybe when dealing with challenging situations, such as conflict with others (Hewson and Turner, 2018c).  


Furthermore when dealing with these challenging situations, such as conflict with others, theories of relationship conflict can be reflected at three different stages; internal individual experience, interpersonal dynamics and sociocultural messages, it may be that none of these theories are the right way or the best insight, although psychologist have studied conflict in different ways, all these ways show to have something to offer our understanding of the complicated area. Looking into the social rules people have absorbed, the history of peoples relationships with each other, their self-concept and then the things they value, the anger that can be experienced, the ways their thoughts process and memories work, by examining the conflict on all these different levels it helps to build a more in-depth understanding of what is taking place(Barker, 2018a). However, it is important to remember that it is said tensions exist between different theories, the existential approach, which sees conflict as being an unavoidable part of human relationships, the sociocultural approach, which maintains that the way in which relationships are made makes them as if they are almost drawn to conflict, then there is the explanation that conflict is the consequence from the internal cognitive biases, which all people have, and it also being the sociocultural approach, which places the foundation of conflict within the social messages, suggesting; that people would not experience conflict in the ways they do at current if social standards did not daunt people from admitting when they are in the wrong (Barker, 2018b).  Also, remembering different cultures, social class and different communities have been noticed to having dissimilar ways of connecting and interacting which may seem like conflict to other people on the outside of this, which then this leads on to the expectancies of specific sorts of relationships, meaning that more people are more prone to self-justification or objectification, meaning the need then lead us to consider how peoples identities are bound up in the wider social context of their nationalities (Barker, 2015).


Having reflected on the impact of social relationships in everyday life, and then focusing on nations, an important source of identification for people, the social structure of nations, nations then being described as constructed categories of belonging a mention of nations not being ‘natural;’ communities, that they are socially and historically constructed. They are ‘imagined’ communities as Benedict Anderson (1983) has famously argued. Within psychology there is a wide framework of an approach towards the social constructionists, this is including three focus areas within this approach to understanding the nations; Variability- people or groups with different positions and interests which then may acquire and advance and different understanding of their nation, another being change and debate- the meaning national identities can be the subject of debate where as individuals or different groups argue for their individuality and try to establish their own understanding of national identity, this also means that the meanings attached to national identities are open to be argues and can therefore change, last but not least, functions of different ways of constructing the nation- social constructionist research, showing an interest in researching who is included and excluded in different versions of outlining nation, as an example (Andreouli, 2018a). Therefore, it is suggested that nations and national identities are socially constructed and are then likely to change and up for dispute.

Although, as for identities being socially constructed and therefore, more likely to change and be up for dispute, this brings up a subject such as sexuality and the question around sex.

Having already focused on the relationship between peoples experience of the world and the way they show their understanding of it, psychological research and theory has shown on sex and sexuality that there is evidence of relevance across a number of applied fields, for example, it is useful for sexual educationalists to know how sexual awareness and the understanding of this subject develops during vital times including childhood and puberty age groups , It is also recognised that criminal and forensic psychologist need to know about criminal sexual behaviours, as dealing with the real world application within forensics, when and if sexual violence should occur there should be ideas of this happening and how to prevent or treat those who commit sexual offences. However, also using psychological study in these terms  for the opposite line of work almost, applying this with victims and perpetrators and also the general persons (Barker, 2018c).

The richness as well as diversity involved in this subject is  can also been seen as a part of, the online world, which shows evolvement, to show and meet demands of its users and offering variety and/or opportunities (Fox-Hamilton and Fullwood, 2018a), Some of the internet’s features adopt negative behaviours, this can include online aggression, trolling and flaming and cyber bullying however, in comparison the internet also has some positives which have been known to improve and add value to peoples lives. Upon reflection it is not merely possible to make out if the internet is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ as trying to determine this is not useful because it open up many possibilities for many people at the same time as introducing difficulties for others. In relation to the positives of the internet, and its knowingness of being able to increase psychological well-being, the internet has shown it can promote and support minority or disadvantaged groups, meaning there can be a sense of belonging for example those with disabilities and those within the LGBT community(Fox-Hamilton and Fullwood, 2018b).


As well as there being support found online there is also the suggestion of self-help. Focusing on the relationship between psychology and self-help it must be considered that for as long as psychology has existed as a form of discipline, there has also been a promotion for self-help books and also other materials directing people on how they can make changes to their lives for the better through numerous approaches, these strategies seem to belong to the world of psychology but are not actually based on any sort of psychological research or ideas. In the last couple of decades psychologists have started to investigate  the self-help literature in ways to find out what can be told to us regarding admired cultural views of psychological matters this is including examples such as, mental health problems, relationships and decision-making to which then this leads onto how peoples understanding shape their experiences and also how peoples self-experience can influence their understandings. The main aim is to try and improve people’s experiences by giving them, themselves a better understanding of how the self works psychologically. Considering the attempts to change people’s cognitive preferences so that they become more ‘mindful’ and are able to understand the role of sociocultural messages during their time of difficulties, such approaches are more rooted in research on people’s actual experiences, so therefore this could be regarded as one way of drawing on experience to improve understanding to self in the real world. (Barker 2018d)


All these psychological ideas and concepts should show a good understanding of how psychologist have explored the relationship between people and the natural environments and how the knowledge gained has been applied in real world application, psychology can get theories wrong when it comes to real world application however, research is often generated in response to cultural aspects as they arise, psychologist are always looking back at research to help development, psychology is everywhere in human life , there are characteristics to human life that would have been expected to belong to a different discipline however they are a part of/shared with psychology. Aspects of living psychology make psychology a fundamental part of how you live life, in particular how you think about yourself, the world and others. Every human has a brain that has been shaped by the evolutionary burdens however, much of what has been identified applies differently to people or applies to the same person differently at multiple stages in their life. A key aspect of psychology as a discipline is to remember, the gathering of individual experiences, the attempt to make sense of them, living psychology is something that everyone is doing every day and extraordinary. (Turner 2015) This concludes psychology does have an amazing input, although it does have its  limits, it is work in progress.


Part 1:



Part 2: Report

Write a brief report relevant to the areas identified in the scenario provided.

Psychological theory of online communication and creativity

 for online dating over 30’s

Introduction :

Within this report it will be discussed whether the creativity of this idea will work, looking at the online medium, as well as the psychological aspects relevant to the online dating scene, looking at innovative ways in which people can interact on dating websites, and the factors for creativity in order to understand the idea and understand the future customer. Considering the experience of the CEO and directors and their use of dating websites’ the certainty of ensuring that a new website is developed in such a way to be based on the online medium and for the idea to hold deeper understanding of the psychological aspects that are relevant to the dating context should be possible, with the source of these aims provided via methods and findings.

Understanding online communication :

It has been understood that internet access improves the living conditions of nations , this has resulted in several leads  to help mend the ‘digital divide’, or the disproportion of access to the internet by the known disadvantaged groups such as the elderly(Fox-Hamilton and Fullwood, 2018a). The online world keeps growing, this is a particular with meaning to meet the demands of its users and as well as this it offers a massive variety of opportunities. There have been and always will be specifics that people are able to engage within with activities online, however this is dependent on people’s personalities and social perspectives(Fox-Hamilton and Fullwood, 2018b).

Approaches to creativity :

Psychologist who have studied creativity have taken an emphasis at looking at the mental processes involved in a task for example, creative problem solving, however social psychologist have challenged this focus on an individual perspective, and have suggested creativity is ‘made’ and is not automatically ‘born’ and that interpersonal relationships are critical to it. There are two definitions for creativity one of which is an operational definition, by which creativity can be observed and measured for research purposes, then there is a theoretical definition which is to explain the operational one. Each has different implications for how creativity can be evaluated (Taylor and Turner 2018a).

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Furthermore, using examples given by Amabile (1983) citied  in (Taylor and Turner 2018b) if you want to know whether a piece of work is creative, just ask someone, better yet, ask a number of people who are skilled enough in the field to make that assessment and see whether they think the output is creative. Creativity is not just about what needs to be done but also to know how to do it, problem solving entails creativity, so does discovering what the problem is, that needs to be solved, having to consider the task at hand being either algorithmic, which is a task that can be solved following clear paths or set of rules or heuristic, described as the resolution has to be invented in order to deal with the problem, as there is no answer already (Taylor and Turner 2018c).


A psychological aspect relevant to an online dating context and understanding the future customer.

As explained some people are concerned with how other people perceive them. Mckenna and Colleagues (2002) cited in (Fox-Hamilton and Fullwood, 2018c) have made note of at least four ways in which the internet has a different approach to face to face communication;

  1. People do not have to reveal their identity to others online

Within dating sites there is a tendency to want to see the other person, with such a specific audience for the age group chosen, there is a possibility to lean more towards psychologically testing personalities, match personalities before looks.

  1. There is a reduction in the importance of the individual’s physical appearance online compared to offline

There is no concern to look your absolute best when ‘dating’ online, this can be done within the comfort of your own home, at work or even sitting on public transport after the gym.

  1. There is almost a level of control that exist over the time you put in and pace you can move at compared to face to face communication people can take their time to carefully consider what they are saying and edit messages before sending.

In this case it could be something as simple as setting up a bio, for people to really get to know each other, break barriers, there does not have to be any forced conversation, awkward pauses.

  1. Easier online than offline for people to find connections with other similar people -someone to understand and/or fully appreciate a rare disorder.

Online this can be disclosed early on, or if preferred waiting to connect with someone in order to feel more open.

Self-presentations and Online Support :

When it comes to online self-presentation there are many things to consider, however the internet is not a uniform being, this may lead people to feel they have more control over there self-presentation. Those who will be using this dating site need to be reminded that there Is an understanding of that self-presentation not only has implications for how others perceive a person but how the person is viewing themselves. This site needs to feed into people’s self-worth (Fox-Hamilton and Fullwood, 2018d). There are experiences of negativity online, which is where support comes in, showing the positive aspects which show to improve and add value to people lives, the internet along with this site can show to encourage and empower the minority groups to provide a feeling of belonging (Fox-Hamilton and Fullwood, 2018e). 


Online dating is growing, many people are evolving and creating important personal relationships it’s important to understand how people act in and perceive these relationships. With the understanding of online communication and how it has improved the living conditions of nations, its growth and available opportunities as well creativity. Examples such as if you want to know whether a piece of work is creative, ask someone, or a number of people who are skilled enough, see what they think. Remember, to be creative is not just about what needs to be done but also to know how it needs to be done. Keeping in mind perceptions of self and others, leading onto self-presentations and support that can and is provided.

Recommendations :

Skills needed for creativity in the work place,

  • Domain-relevant skills- The knowledge and technical abilities which belong to a specific field or area.
  • Creativity relevant skills- More general, finding a way to complete a task, people can be taught problem-solving skills, and also how to approach task in a creative way. ‘Make the familiar strange’ Gordan (1961) citied in (Taylor and Turner 2018d)

Having motivation is also essential

  • Intrinsic

Motivation from a personal view consisting of a person’s interests and experiences.

  • Extrinsic- An external goal, wanting to achieve what has been set out. (Taylor and Turner 2018e)

Working together, a pair or a group can merge into a unit that becomes a source of new creative outputs, working together can help share the workload, provide help and support to one another , two heads are better than one, different skills can combine and encourage new ways of thinking(Taylor and Turner 2018f)

Word limit: 1200 words



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