7 Ways Psychology Can Change Your Life

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Psychology gives you an opportunity to learn something new about yourself.

While psychology is the study of mental functions and behaviors in others, there are many things we can learn for and about ourselves. Here's how psychology can change your life for the better and teach you things you never knew.

1. You gain increased self-understanding and insight.

This is a no-brainer: By learning about psychological constructs, such as dimensions of personality, we can better understand ourselves, our motives, and our patterns of behavior. Psychological assessments allow us to better know and understand our true selves.

2. You better understand human nature.

Evolutionary psychology helps us better understand our natural urges and internal forces, such as aggression, sexuality, and dominance — the “survival mechanisms” that we must learn to govern and control in order to become more civilized human beings.

3. You overcome biases.

Social psychology teaches us about biases, such as the in-group, out-group bias, that are at the root of prejudice and discrimination. The Fundamental Attribution Error, for example, explains why we so often place blame on a person and pay less attention to the situational factors that caused a person to behave in a certain way. 

Clearly understanding our biases in social perception can help us become more empathic and understanding of others and ourselves.

RELATED: The Science Behind Empathy And Being An Empath

4. You understand motivation and goal-setting.

By gaining insight into what motivates us, and by using the well-supported notion of goal-setting, we can learn to accomplish great things, and we can better understand why we strive for the outcomes and goals that we do. 

5. You have improved communication and empathy.

Learning about topics such as emotional intelligence and nonverbal communication can help us pay attention to the subtle, unspoken cues in others that allow us to connect with them on a deep, emotional level.

6. You become a better parent.

There is no doubt how psychology can change your life as a parent. Learning something about developmental psychology can help you raise a more psychologically-healthy child.

RELATED: How To Use Psychology To Get Someone To Fall MADLY In Love With You

7. You become a better person.

The positive psychology movement focuses on topics such as happiness, forgiveness, gratitude, and meaning in life. By showing gratitude, understanding what true forgiveness is all about, and building personal character, we become better, more fulfilled individuals.

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Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D., is the Henry R. Kravis Professor of Leadership and Organizational Psychology and former Director of the Kravis Leadership Institute at Claremont McKenna College. 

This article was originally published at Pscyhology Today. Reprinted with permission from the author.

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