Development Credit: Faith

In order to understand others, one must first understand oneself. Or so a wise person once said. Whether that assessment is correct or not, psychology is the art, or science, of understanding behaviour, internal motives and drives both conscious and unconscious. Mind and behaviour are the remit of the student of psychology, equally concerned with internal and external processes amongst individuals. Psychology has a myriad of uses in the world of Idalos, depending on the user; it can be helpful in solving crimes, in negotiation and bargaining, in understanding the delicate balance between emotions, health and well being and a wide range more. From the business owner who knows that a smile is worth a thousand words and who builds up individual relationships with their clients to the physician who understands that their patients will not heal as quickly if they are worried or upset, psychology is used by many. It can also be used, of course, to manipulate the weak-willed and to make others believe that they are acting voluntarily whilst they are actually being manipulated. The member of the guard interrogating a prisoner, or the torturer applying physical torture are made more efficient in their role by the use of psychology.

Of course, one aspect of psychology which has sparked debate in universities and the publication of many books throughout Idalos is the different psychology demonstrated in each race. This has led to a branch of study known as 'comparative' psychology, whereby scholars seek to find out what, if any, fundamental similarities there are between races whilst also studying the differences. This leads to many discussions regarding such things as whether there is a 'shared' series of traits or mannerisms, whether each race has their own unique psychological traits because of biology or because of culture and many other such discussions. Fundamentally, the practice of psychology is the art of knowing people; the use that the psychologist puts this to is as individual as the person themselves. It is likely to be with knowledge and increasing experiences of different races that the psychologist develops their toolkit for understanding the diverse races of Idalos.

Topics which psychologists study are, to put it at its most simple, anything where people are involved. From the differences in behaviour when people are in groups to how two individuals show attraction to each other, any situation where there are people is the remit of the psychologist. Some examples of the kind of techniques that psychologists might use include (but are not limited to)

Behaviour Modification: either subtly or through more extreme means, psychology allows an individual to change the behaviour of another. Through such ideas as conditioning (or learning a response), the psychologist can shape the behaviour of their subject. Phobias can be created or cured, habits can be acquired or stopped. By pairing up something which produces a fear response, for example, with something which doesn't, a subject can be taught to be afraid of almost anything.

Non-verbal Communication Interpretation: People who lie might tend to put their hands over their mouth, as though unconsciously catching the falsehood, or might look to the left and up. Psychologists learn about the different tendencies each race has for 'common' non-verbal cues and are able to interpret behaviour from their knowledge of these cues.

Therapy: An understanding of psychology allows the therapist to help their client to heal. This might be an emotional scarring, a long term or short term issue. It might also involve couples seeking out support in their relationship, or for help with parenting. After a war, it is increasingly known that soldiers come back very changed by their experiences and a well-trained psychologist might well be the difference between that soldier being able to function in society again, or not.

Investigation / Offender Profiles: If a crime is committed, a psychologist might be able to aid the authorities in their investigation. Clues which might not be obvious at first glance allow the psychologist to build up a profile of who is likely to have committed this offence; are they an organised or disorganised criminal? What is the purpose of the crime to the criminal? Are they likely to offend again. Furthermore, once there is a suspect in custody, the psychologist will be able to observe interrogations and help determine guilt.

Skill Ranks

Novice (0-25)

This person has begun research into the complex nature of people. They have a basic knowledge of one or two aspects of psychology, but they are not yet seeing the links between theory and behaviour. They are more likely to be able to interpret the non-verbal communication and gestures of others to ascertain that someone is not telling the truth, for example, but this is still something which is a bit hit-and-miss. The Novice psychologist might be starting to develop a specialism in their field, allowing them to focus their studies.

Competent (26-75)

Psychology has become part of the way in which this individual views the world, and their knowledge of the conscious and unconscious motives and behaviours of others has expanded enormously. They are now able to identify non-verbal communication deftly, spotting patterns and links between behaviour and theory. They are growing increasingly aware of racial differences, however any attempts made into further understanding this complexity has led to confusion. These psychologists are able to clearly interpret most basic behaviours and will have a roughly fifty-fifty chance of interpreting behaviour outside of the norm or very unusual.

Expert (76-150)

As a psychologist, this individual is begin to develop some renown in their field (if they are an academic). They are usually able to interpret behaviour in becoming a precision tool, allowing them to not only identify that someone is lying, for example, but to link that with other behaviours and to begin to interpret not just the behaviour but also the rationale behind it. Their understanding of psychology is such that they are able to influence others to act in ways that they would not normally behave. Whilst they have become experts in their field of psychology, other areas continue to elude them.

Master (151-250)

This character understands people in a way that most will never achieve. They are able to interpret behaviour without pause and can read the deepest internal and unconscious motives and darkest secrets with apparent ease. They are able to influence others almost carelessly and they can apply their vast knowledge to most areas of psychology. Even racial differences are but an area of interest to this individual, because they seem to be able to see to the very core of a person.