Summary, Conclusions, and Humanistic Implications
So what’s the bottom line? What can science tell us about the myriad “mysteries of human nature?” After all, people have been using proto-scientific (early precursors) and quasi-scientific (similar but less effective) methods to study human psychology for at least 2500 years. And as we’ve learned in this module, the scientific method itself has been applied to at least some degree for around 100 years. A fair question is, “What have we learned thus far?” And a fair answer is, “A great deal!” (And far, far more than most of the public — even the relatively well-informed public like humanists — can imagine.)
The subsequent modules in this course will provide scientific answers to many mysteries of human psychology, and the individualized exercises and assignments will afford KOHE students many opportunities to both verify the psychological principles for themselves and apply them to phenomena of greater personal relevance. Here, at the end of this Introductory Module, we can offer some hints as to where we’ll be going in later lessons, and how we’ll get there:
We’ll address in greater detail where most human thoughts, feelings, and behaviors come from, how they’re developed, and how they can be changed.
We’ll cover the relative contributions of the genes, learning, and trauma to human psychology, and what tools of psychological technology non-scientists and non-psychologists can use to effectively change their own and others’ psychology.
With each major step along the way, we’ll address how psychological knowledge relates to humanism, and how humanists can apply that knowledge for the betterment of themselves, their societies, and their world.
Thus, the very good news — for both humanists and all of humankind — is that scientific psychology has already progressed far enough to broach a cautious but exciting hypothesis; i.e., that all of the previously mysterious “psychology of the human mind” is really just scientifically discoverable “biochemistry of the human brain.” (This theorem will be discussed in detail in the Comprehensive Module.) If this is true, and all the best evidence indicates that it is, the implications are enormous! Not only would it mean that all the mysteries — both great and small — about human psychology are ultimately knowable through rational inquiry and scientific research, but it would also imply that we could essentially discount all paranormal and supernatural explanations for human psychology as functionally baseless and useless. What an exciting prospect!
PSH100 is not just an academic study for increasing students’ knowledge. Since the subject of this course is the human brain and how and why it functions as it does, every lesson can have significant and, occasionally, profound applications to students’ daily lives. To help students see those applications, each and every lesson will include exercises to enable students to sharpen their cognitive (thinking) skills and demonstrate important psychological principles or phenomena for themselves in their own everyday situations.