Psychology the patterns that are present within societies and

Psychology is a science that provides us an insight into
human behaviour as individuals and as groups. Moreover, it helps us to
understand some of the patterns that are present within societies and the links
between them. There are many aspects of psychology that provide a deeper
understanding of one’s self, such as manifestations of personality traits,
sleep and circadian rhythms as well as the psychology of ageing. I do believe
that students choose to study biology for these reasons and will continue to
explain how the mentioned topics are examples of how psychology students are
understanding more about themselves. 

Beginning with the study of personality traits in
psychology. People always strive to present themselves in the best possible
ways, and by learning about the way small behaviours are perceived, can allow us
to change these traits to be presented in the desired way. Personality traits
are the differences and ongoing characteristics that define the way a person
might think or feel (Allik & McCrae, 2002). These traits can be
categorised or defined through ‘the big five’. ‘The big five’ refers to the
Five-Factor Model of Personality which categorises the main five dimensions of
personality (McCrae & John, 1992). The five factors
used in this model are; openness, conscientiousness, extraversion,
agreeableness, neuroticism (Diener & Lucas, 2018).

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It is important to know about our personality and whether we
can improve it because it can affect the quality of our life. For instance, if
someone is perceived as more open to experience they might be promoted to a
more variety of jobs that that would lead to a better earning.

In other aspects of psychology, simple biological processes
and their importance to our development, are necessary to be studied as it will
help us construct a better way of living. Sleep and the circadian rhythms are
an example of that. Sleep is a vital function in our survival and we need to
optimise it for better performance in our daily lives and psychology students
will be striving for knowledge that will be beneficial in their day-to-day
life.

Sleep is needed for energy conservation (Siegel, 2005), restoration and recovery of body
systems (Gumustekin , et al., 2004), and memory
consolidating (Cirelli & Tononi, 2008). Thus it is
necessary to understand the concept of sleep and maximise it, potentially
helping students gain higher grades (Parkinson-Gloor, Lemola, & Grob, 2013) by gaining better
sleep and understanding it first to do so.

Sleep consists of two phases; the ‘Rapid Eye Movement’
(REM-Sleep) phase and ‘Non-Rapid Eye Movement’ (NREM sleep) phase. Sleep is
regulated by homeostatic processes and circadian processes, and these process
must not be altered in order to avoid sleep deprivation. Through psychological
study, it has been concluded that these two phases alternate throughout the
night. However, the deep sleep phase which is also known as the slow wave sleep
is the more restoring, where the brain returns to its original shape, allowing
for information processing.

To maintain the sleep cycle, Zeitgebers, translated as ‘time
keepers’ are cues that maintain the sleep cycle (Arendt & Broadway, 1987). These cues include
light, melatonin, and nutrition and it is to understand their affects. For
instance, students could possibly be experiencing delayed sleep phase syndrome (Lack & Wright, 2007) which could result
in depressive moods and leaving them tiered through the day. To combat this,
blue light therapy could be used. Light of shorter wavelength is effective in
reducing melatonin secretion (Lack & Wright, 2007), thus increasing attention
and being more awake.

Another aspect that psychology helps students understand
about themselves is the psychology of ageing. The concern with ageing is that
as a person ages they will no longer be fit to live the life they want. The
case is that memory and intelligence levels reduce with ageing (Verhaeghen, 2011). However not all
aspects of memory are declining as a result of ageing. Semantic memory (that of
remembering general facts and knowledge) is persevered better than episodic
memory (the memory of events or episodes) due to which parts of the nervous
system are affected (Verhaeghen, 2011). Moreover, studies testing whether
these results of ageing can be reduced have concluded that some memory loss or
lack of attention can be reduced through physical or mental exercise or even
increased social interactions. A study of the fitness effects on cognitive
functions of older adults by S. Colcombe
and A. Kramer showed that exercise had a large positive affect on different
aspects of cognition, including speed and control (Colcombe & Kramer, 2003).

This insight into psychology through the
students that choose to study it will change the view of psychology by the
public, that it is not just the study of mental illnesses or the mind but it
covers more intricate subjects of the body itself and how we can improve our
standard of living and wellbeing. This could also have an effect on the
scientific understanding of human behaviour. The strive for knowledge, itself
is a form of behaviour that is being witnessed by the students and also that
human behaviour is interlinked. For instance how sleep deprivation can affect
our mood and that will affect how we are being perceived is a mere example of
how linked and complicated human behaviour is.