Misconceptions about Psychology Students


This is the most annoying misconceptions about Psychology students:

1. You study Psychology? You must be able to read my mind. You must be analyzing me right now, tell me – What type of person am I?

Adapted from sternbergclarke

Now, we get this so often that these misconceptions been addressed countless times on Facebook. Let me explain this in simple English – Psychology isn’t another word for Psychic, nor is it another word for God. Thus, we CANNOT read minds (well, based on the assumption that Psychics and God can read minds, but you get what I mean). But what we CAN do – is attempt to observe you in order to make assumptions about what you are thinking or how you feel. Note that it’s an ASSUMPTION, meaning it may or may not be true.

Honestly, we don’t ‘analyze’ people all the time, and I use this word loosely. Analyzing sounds too big a word for this process, I’d just call it “observing and hypothesizing”, but then that’s another story. For me… and a few friends of mine (I can’t say for everybody, though), we have an “on-off” switch for this mode. Constantly paying attention to things and ‘analyzing’ takes a toll on us – we want to have normal, healthy social interactions with our friends too, you know!

But if you have to, we CAN attempt to ‘analyze’, but as said before we are merely making assumptions, which may or may not be true. If our assumptions aren’t true, then they just aren’t, it doesn’t make us any less competent as a Psychology major/graduate!

2. By studying Psychology, I’ll be able to easily tell when someone lies, just like the series Lie to Me!

Adapted from courtneywalsh

You got something right – you will be able to learn POSSIBLE ways of detecting someone who is telling a lie, but you will not be able to “easily” recognize them. In Psychology, you must understand and recognize that every single human being is different from the others, and thus being able to apply ONE set of rules to everyone is very rare, if ever at all. In addition, shows are meant to be more exaggerated than usual, so being able to spot certain reactions, body language and other “lie factors” is not as easy as it’s portrayed in the series.

3. Psychology is a good alternative for people who do not know what they want to do yet. Don’t know what to do? Do Psychology! @ Psychology is all just common sense, it’s easy!

Adapted from

I intend to address various issues in this statement.

Firstly, nothing’s easy in this world. Any courses offered that you think are “simple” aren’t actually simple. Things SEEM simpler to some people because of interest, or better – passion. Or, that individual is simply smarter. Having an interest/passion in something doesn’t make that something easier, but it does make doing it less of a hassle because you’d enjoy the process. Doing something you loathe is really very difficult. I personally believe that nothing is easy in life, and trust me – Psychology is definitely NOT your easy way out.

Psychology has many, MANY branches of studies – Social Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Biopsychology (yes, even Biology!), Forensic Psychology… and I can keep going. You can specialize in any one (or many) paths available for this diversity. Having said that, you need not have any prior knowledge of certain subjects, for example – Biology, as a pre-requisite to join the course. However, having it will definitely make your life easier.

Adapted from

Aside from that, it is also a form of scientific art – you do RESEARCH. And with research comes STATISTICS. If you are not sure what those words are, try to Google them up, and make sure you know what you are getting yourself into before signing up for the course, you save a lot of time and money that way.

It is not uncommon to hear people say that Psychology is common sense… in fact, most Psychology majors may think so themselves, too. Common sense is a huge part of Psychology – it’s a study of people, after all. However, Psychology also contains a huge part of research, critical thinking, analysis, observation, and interpretation. If you think about it, Psychology isn’t “made up of common sense”, it “makes sense” of information, which becomes what we know as common sense today… or in the future.

4. Studying Psychology means I’m going to become a Counsellor, Clinical Psychologist or a Psychiatrist! Can I find a job with my Psychology degree?

Wrong. Becoming a counsellor or a clinical psychologist are possible paths but there are more options for you to choose from. Career paths for a Psychology graduate can be divided into two (from my perspective) main groups – Psychology-specific (PS) paths and Non-Psychology-specific (NPS) paths.

The PS paths include the aforementioned two, along with various kinds of therapist, researcher, criminal psychologist, trainer – most, if not all, which requires further studies.

The NPS paths include almost every non-skill-specific job in the world that deals with human beings on a daily basis, such as teaching, sales, marketing, HR, advertising, and banking.

These are real life examples of jobs that people I know are doing right now. So YES, you can find a job with a Psychology degree.

As for becoming a Psychiatrist, it is not possible unless you obtain a Medical degree and proceed from there. The difference between Psychiatry and the rests is that a psychiatrist is allowed to prescribe medicines for treatment, but the others are not.

I hope this article clarifies some of your questions. Stay with MY Psychology to get updated with more information about Psychology. It is a good way to look into the subject to see if it is really what you think it is.

Author information:

Nelvin is a Psychology graduate who has also tutor-ed Psychology in a university… and loved it!
His favourite subjects are Social Psychology and Research Methodology. His research interest is very broad, including LGBT, Gaming (which is also his Thesis title), Personality, Subjective Well-being, Education, Learning…

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