About Us

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Philosophy of the Department of Psychology

Like most Psychology departments, the Department of Psychology at U Winnipeg is committed to the view that scientific methods offer the most appropriate way to develop a sound understanding of people, including how they think, how they feel, and how they act. In essence, science offers the most promising tools for overcoming the many challenges to developing valid theories about human psychology.

The majority of our courses build on this foundation, showing how systematic observation of and experimentation with people and other animals allow us to slowly discover the numerous factors that influence how people think, act, and feel. Most psychological disorders, for example, arise from a complex array of causal factors, including: genes and other aspects of our biological makeup, such internal psychological processes as our beliefs about people and the world, and such contextual factors as our social and physical environments.

Our directly applied courses and other courses relevant to various occupational settings are similarly motivated by the belief that nothing is as practical as a good theory. Only a sound understanding of human beings can provide the kinds of foundation upon which effective interventions can be built. Indeed, supposedly helpful interventions can have negative effects when they fail to properly consider the truly complex nature of people.

For students who choose to study Psychology more intensively, our commitment to science is reflected in required courses that develop a deeper understanding of the scientific process as it is applied to human beings. The competencies developed in these courses help students to better appreciate how to overcome the many challenges to understanding and helping people, and instill a realistic skepticism about overly simplistic ideas.

Ideally, then, the study of Psychology leads to valid knowledge about people based on sound research, as well as an appreciation of how such knowledge is generated. Adopting this perspective benefits people in their personal and professional lives.