P for Psychology

Psychology has been a subject which has never ceased to fascinate me. Though the human mind is so complex, distinct patterns of behavior emerge when we study why individuals act and speak in the way they do. This in spite of the unique individuality that each of us possesses.

One of the sites I follow avidly is that of  Psychology Today. I have gained so much from the insights given by the experts there. Just look at the amazing range of topics covered! 

Years ago I remember my favourite author, P.G. Wodehouse write about “the psychology of the individual” in some of his books. Jeeves who was much more than an efficient “gentleman’s personal gentleman” to Bertie Wooster often analysed people and issues in his inimitable way. When Bertie marvelled at the solutions Jeeves found to all his problems, Jeeves would merely say that he had studied “the psychology of the individual”. By this he meant each one of us have different needs and priorities at different points of time. Some crave for recognition, others for food!

As a thriller writer, I have found psychological thrillers absolutely captivating. The beauty about them is that they are not just built around a series of violent acts. The battles in psychological thrillers are fought in the minds of the characters in them. They often deal with internal conflicts within individuals rather than the more common external conflicts between two people, or groups of people.

When I wrote my debut novel “It Can’t Be You” I was determined to position it as a psychological thriller for these very reasons. We find my characters often in conflict within themselves torn between two powerful ideas or people. For example, in my book, Shefali Belliappa  has a love affair with a Muslim man whom her father detests and is torn between him and her father whom she adores. Didn’t the founder of Analytical Psychology, Carl Justav Jung say after all :” Sensation tells us a thing is. Thinking tells us what this thing is. Feeling tells us what this thing is to us”. In psychological thrillers, we lay far greater emphasis on the feelings of the characters. After all it’s these same feelings that drive them to do or not do something.

Interestingly there is a common perception that all psychopaths are rapists and serial killers. This is far from true. As I have written elsewhere, there is some amount of being a psychopath in ordinary folk like you and me! I wrote in the Facebook Page for It Can’t Be You: “All rapists, murderers and serial killers are most likely to be psychopaths but it does not follow that all psychopaths are rapists or serial killers. Colonel Belliappa , in my book, is once referred to as a “charismatic psychopath” by his doctor, Col. Sinha. I have followed the writings and research of Dr. Robert Hare, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia to come to this conclusion.www.hare.org

A simple definition psychology is that it is the science of the mind, of mental states and processes. God has created so many wonderful things, probably the best of all is the human mind!

3 thoughts on “P for Psychology

  1. Psychology is a very interesting subject. I’m so glad I found your blog. I’m stopping by from the A to Z challenge and I look forward to reading more from you.

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