Psychology is one of the most fascinating and dynamic study area. Yet the general public, especially in Pakistan, still has a lot of misconceptions regarding this discipline. This lack of understanding is most obvious in the interactions between students and their peers from other disciplines. Most students face the following misconceptions in their daily lives:
“CAN YOU READ MY FACE ?”
If I were to take a survey, it would probably be among the top-5 things that people say whenever they meet a student. It is still unclear that how the concept of face reading got associated with the subject. However, it is heavily present in the masses. To clarify, face reading has NOTHING to do with the subject. It has very weak (if any) creditable evidence and most professional psychologists don’t even consider it a reliable tool of personality assessment.
2. “CAN YOU HYPNOTIZE ME?”
We can be thankful for the deception caused by those infinite books, movies and dramas that make hypnotizing seem as easy as boiling an egg. In reality, it’s a highly sophisticated practice that requires years of studies to master the art. Even then, it is considered very tricky. So, No! A psychologist certainly can’t hypnotize you.
3. “Isn’t Psychology a pseudo-science?”
Uurrgghh!! Science is not restricted to microscopes, formulae and chemical laboratories, you know. Psychology is indeed one of the many pillars of science. It is a part of a set of disciplines called ‘social sciences’, which deals with the scientific study of humans and human societies. Since the literal definition is “The scientific study of behavior and mental processes” so, there should be no doubt in regard to its scientific nature.
4. “Don’t you guys electrocute people? How barbaric!”
No, students doesn’t go around electrocuting random people. In fact, ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy) is a highly specialized treatment, which is only practiced by experts (such as neurosurgeons and psychiatrists) to treat very serious mental conditions. In short, no student can’t even think of electrocuting anyone (even if they really, really want to).
5. “Hey listen, I’m having trouble sleeping. Can you prescribe me some medicines?”
This is one line which gets the Psychology students thinking that perhaps the inquirer has them confused with a Pharmacy student. To set the record straight, Psychology students do study psychopharmacology (a fancy word for the branch of psychology concerned with the effects of drugs on the mind and behaviour). But even professional psychologists avoid prescribing medicines. They leave the prescription part to either psychiatrists or general physicians.
6. “Doctors for the mentally sick!”
This is an evergreen cliche, so common that it feels as if hearing them is a sort of ritual for psychology students. Firstly, the wide range of fields that psychology offers, it is unlikely that every student you come across will be specializing in the clinical field, rather going for options such as Industrial, Sports, Educational or even investigative psychology. Secondly, psychologists are not doctors (at least until they pursue a PhD in their respective field) .
7. Can you read my palm?
Next you’ll be asking me if I could reveal an individual’s fate or destiny after becoming a psychologist. Seriously, if you believe in stuff like palmistry, you really should consult a good psychologist.
8. “Can you tell me my IQ?”
Testing one’s intellect does come under the categories of psychology, but it is conducted under a strict and a vigilant eye. The tests requires high level of expertise to administer. The Facebook post we come across usually states “only a genius can solve this” which is not really a reliable source to measure intelligence .
9. Turning into one while studying it
Studying psychology enhances your awareness. This helps you to detect the real cause leading to a certain disorder. Therefore, it actually guides in recognizing the signs of an impending mental health issue and not vice- versa. We are still thankful for being so concerned about us, though.
10. “Only girls study psychology”
This statement is outdated as much as the idea, that only boys become pilots or engineers, itself. While it is true that the majority of psychology students in Pakistan are females, this trend is changing quickly. Nowadays many boys are not just enrolling this field, but also achieving decent employment opportunities along their way. Hence this hypothesis stands challenged!
11. “There is no scope for Psychology in Pakistan’
A large number of corporate organizations, educational institutions, research firms and NGOs would differ with you. Also, psychologists have been part of the armed forces for decades now. Thus, for students, the future has never been brighter than it is today.
12. “Zyada Psychology mat jhaaro”
This priceless sentence is mostly uttered by the friends and family of innocent students. This often happens when the student is trying to explain the psychological perspective of a certain issue or situation. Other allegations involve psychologically manipulating people, using reverse psychology and psychoanalyzing everyone they meet. Well, maybe they are, maybe they aren’t. Lets leave that to your imagination.