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Psychology is the science of behavior and mind, including conscious and unconscious phenomena, as well as thought.It is an academic discipline of immense scope and diverse interests that, when taken together, seek an understanding of the emergent properties of brains, and all the variety of epiphenomena they manifest.Many do scientific research on a wide range of topics related to mental processes and behavior, and typically work in university psychology departments or teach in other academic settings (e.g., medical schools, hospitals).
In Heidelberg, Hermann von Helmholtz conducted parallel research on sensory perception, and trained physiologist Wilhelm Wundt.
A central idea of the Upanishads is the distinction between a person's transient mundane self and their eternal unchanging soul.
Divergent Hindu doctrines, and Buddhism, have challenged this hierarchy of selves, but have all emphasized the importance of reaching higher awareness.
Psychologists employ empirical methods to infer causal and correlational relationships between psychosocial variables.
In addition, or in opposition, to employing empirical and deductive methods, some—especially clinical and counseling psychologists—at times rely upon symbolic interpretation and other inductive techniques.
By many accounts psychology ultimately aims to benefit society.