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The word Psychology came from the two Greek words, “psyche” and “logos” which literally translate to

the study of the soul and later on it progress to the study of the mind. Today many authors would define
psychology as the scientific study of behavior and mental processes. Let us dissect the meaning to further
understand the meaning of psychology. When we say behavior, two things come to mind – covert behaviors as
well as overt behavior. Overt behaviors are behaviors visible to the eye, in short, seen behaviors. Examples of
overt behaviors are the way you dress, the way you talk, the way you eat, the color of your hair, the color of
your pants. In a nut shell, these are the actions of individuals or groups that we see every day. These are the
actions that are observable and can be measured right there and then. In contrast, covert behaviors are behaviors
not visible to the naked eye. These are unseen behaviors. Examples of covert behaviors would be anger,
jealousy, pity, kindness, happiness, sadness. These are behaviors that you cannot discern at one glance unless
you are good. Covert behaviors are also measurable but it entails a more intricate process. You can deduce the
covert behaviors from the overt behaviors. It’s like playing the charades game. The player acting in front of the
group, who is doing the actions, is actually doing overt behaviors. The person is acting out related behaviors so
that his/her group mates would be able to guess the answer. Covert behavior is like that. How do we know that a
person is sad? Happy? We can know this by observing the overt behaviors. We can say that a person is sad
when that person is not smiling; the eyes are teary, staring at you blankly and so on so forth. While a person
who is smiling, singing up-tempo songs, jumping here and there could be assumed that that person is happy. So
those are the definition of behavior, covert and overt. When we say mental processes, again, two things come to
mind – conscious mental process and unconscious mental process. Conscious mental processes are the
processes wherein we are aware of. Example, we are aware that we are reading this text right now, that we are
moving the mouse pointer or scrolling down the text. Conscious meaning we are thinking about it. While
unconscious processes are the processes that we are not aware of or we are not constantly thinking about it.
Consider breathing, we are not thinking moment by moment that we have to breathe. It comes in naturally.
And those are the two parts of our definition of psychology, the behavior and mental processes. Sometimes we
have the tendency to jump on hasty conclusions specially if don’t like the person. When we see a person who
is always alone, it is easy for us to say that that person is anti-social. That he/she is nerd, not exciting to be with.
We made the conclusion based on just one observable, overt behavior. That’s where the scientific study comes
in to play. Psychology is a scientific study and it’s not just making conclusions out of one overt behavior. When
we say scientific study, the conclusion is obtained through systematic and objective methods of observation and

experimentation. It follows a step by step procedure in doing the observation and conducting tests before
making a comprehensive conclusion. Basically psychology is step by step observation and experimentation, of
overt and covert behaviors and sees if it is process consciously or unconsciously.