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Psychology is the scientific study of the human mind and behavior.
Modern psychology began in 1879 when Wilhelm Wundt founded the first psychological laboratory at the University of Leipzig. Psychologists generally believe that experiments (rather than introspection, tradition, or revelation, for example) are the best way to understand human behavior.
 Differences between psychology and other disciplines
The primary difference between psychology and other similar disciplines (e.g., philosophy, sociology, and anthropology) is that it generally focuses on individuals. This is in contrast to, for example, sociology, which focuses more on group behavior and society, or biology, which focuses on physiological processes. Nevertheless, there is often interdisciplinary overlap (e.g., between social psychology and sociology). A burgeoning trend is to investigate the neurological causes of thought and behavior, creating considerable overlap between some areas of psychology and neuroscience (e.g., cognitive neuroscience, behavioral neuroscience, and social cognitive neuroscience).
Within the last century a large number of the sub-fields in psychology have embraced a more rigorous application of the scientific method than its sister disciplines. However, this is starting to change as the influence of cultural anthropology and arm-chair theorizing in sociology wane. Several major sub-disciplines in psychology (particularly on the clinical end of the spectrum) still continue to steadfastly ignore empirical, controlled, studies.
 Psychology in popular culture
In the general public the most prominent source for ideas about psychology come from pop psychology which is aimed at the mass market, often through self help books and large group awareness training motivational seminars. Pop psychology is generally disdained by those in the broader psychology field because of its widely varying quality, lack of peer review, oversimplification of complex psychological principles, and frequent inclusion of ideas taken from pseudoscience.
Another prominent source is from historical, anecdotal and personal experience with clinical psychology. Clinical psychology is popularly linked to psychoanalysis and Freud. None of his ideas were developed using any sort of testable hypotheses and almost all have been repudiated over time. In fact, a great deal of clinical psychology have either refused empirical testing or have been falsified.
The fact that these two branches are the source for most opinions on psychology may explain why the much more scientifically rigorous and instructive sub-fields (such as cognitive psychology, evolutionary psychology and neuropsychology) have had to fight an uphill battle towards widespread acceptance.
 Notable psychologists
- Wilhelm Wundt, created the first psychology lab. Father of modern psychology.
- William James, founded the psychology department at Harvard University.
- Sigmund Freud, based on case histories, wrote extensively about childhood, personality, society, and the unconscious. Significantly influenced popular ideas about psychology.
- Carl Rogers, founder of Humanistic Psychology, he is one of the most influential psychologists in professional circles and in popular culture.
- B.F. Skinner, emphasized empiricism and the study of observable behavior rather than subjective mental processes.
- Jean Piaget, conducted seminal research into the origins of intelligence in children.
- Albert Bandura, investigated how individuals learn from others and developed social learning theory.
- Alfred Kinsey, conducted research on human sexuality.
- Carl Jung, influential psychologist who is known for the concept of archetypes as well as some minor study of psychology through pseudoscience such as mythology and dream interpretation.
- Wilhelm Reich, known for his psychological theories on fascism, later became involved with orgone energy pseudoscience.