Paula Tallal

Paper #: 99-10-070

The field of Psychology, which is the study of the mind, is one of extraordinary breadth. As a field of study, Psychology must encompass not only a description of the many and various aspects of everything minds do, but of increasing interest in the twentieth century, the mechanisms by which specific brain processes develop and maintain the various and numerous components and functions of the mind. A primary shift in the twentieth century was for Psychology to move beyond its initial focus on describing what minds do, with a major focus on disturbed or abnormal behavior, to an in depth, scientific study of how, and even why, the various components and functions of the mind work as they do, specifically in terms of brain function. Put simply, Psychology in the twentieth century became a science. Central to the scientific study of Psychology has been the need to encompass and explain the vast individual differences that comprise the broad spectrum of mental and neurological functioning, from what is considered within the range of normal to what is classified or diagnosed as abnormal. Similarly, it has been necessary to account for individual differences in the rate and order of acquisition of a myriad of developmental processes, as well as for factors effecting creativity and originality throughout the life span.