I am a psychology major, and no, that doesn’t mean I can read your mind, though I’ve been asked that question multiple times.

Instead, I study how the mind functions and how internal and external influences guide our decision-making, emotions and behavior. Lots of people scoff at psychology, insinuating that it’s largely based in common sense and overly simplistic.

In some small ways, they’re correct.

Some of the terminology I learn has me rolling my eyes, not because of its insignificance but rather, its obvious simplicity. For instance, most people realize that, when presented with a list of numbers or items, you’re more likely to remember the first and last terms than the ones in the middle. (In psychology, these concepts are called the “recency effect” and “primacy effect.”)

So yes, certain terms seem redundant and elementary in nature, but other aspects of psychology prove insightful and applicable to nearly every aspect of life. Understanding why people behave in particular ways is useful for students whose majors range from education to marketing.

Currently, PSY 111 is an option for the social science requirement for the Global Miami Plan, but it’s not required.

It should be.

Psychology encourages us to become stronger thinkers, communicators and analyzers. And, ironically enough, these three skills find themselves in finance,engineering and every field in between.

In the business world, it’s imperative to maintain an understanding of what the client wants and to facilitate an effective route to achieve that satisfaction.

Acknowledging and understanding different personality types helps with group projects, presentations and customer engagement. If you’re dealing with a very open-minded, easy-going client, you’re going to frame your presentation very differently than if the client were impatient, irritable and Type A.

Determining what drives an individual — pinpointing their motivation and desired outcome —, is, by its very essence, psychology. In the case of a marketing campaign, the company obviously knows that the client wants to make money and so, based on this information, they’re going to focus their slide deck on high profit margins.

Psychology again.

Teachers want to achieve maximum success in and out of the classroom. They know how to structure class time to ensure students are learning — and gaining social skills that only group activities and discussion can provide.

We’re all required to complete social sciences and natural/physical science classes, and last year, I spent hours in a geology class, consistently confused on how studying rocks had anything to do with my journalism or psychology degree. I also had to work harder for those three credit hours for geology than any other class that semester, but it was a 100-level class.

Something didn’t quite add up.

Introduction-level classes should be exactly that: an introduction. Implementing a psychology class requirement doesn’t mean that students will be subject to studying the nuances of the human mind or unpacking the intricacies of the brain’s hemispheres. It means that they’ll gain an overview of a prevalent field and be told exactly how it relates to them.

We deal with people every day, all day. It’s probably a good use of three credit hours to study how they work.

dattilec@miamioh.edu

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