The Behavioural and Social Sciences departments are located on Deck Three. Lieutenant Commander Judith Peers is the head of the department and has her office in room 03 115. The Idionomothetics laboratory is just down the corridor [in room 03 100] and there are various other laboratories clustered down the corridor. At most times there are starfleet personnel volunteers wandering these corridors to be 'Guinea Pigs' for the latest research.
Idionomothetics is the combination of two approaches in psychology. Ideography is concerned with the individual and their experiences, whereas nomothetics examines society and general rules therein. In short Ideography studiesd the effect of society on the individual, whereas nomothetics looks at the effect of the individual on society. Idionomothetics is the combination of these two approaches. The laboratory has access to the vast pool of biographical data stored at Memory Alpha [in addition, for certain mission criteria there is secure access to Starfleet Intelligence files] to pool a profile of the individual in question.
Once the profile has been brought up of the individual and their behavioural traits, the history of the individual is studied, as are the records of the major players that they have effected directly or indirectly by their actions. It has taken until the late 23rd Century for computers to get powerful enough to make such a detailed cross-examination. This is an on-going process and many of the subjects under examination are important political and military figures.
Current individuals under such intense study are classified, but speculation would lead to Chancellor Kaarg of Qo'noS, the Romulan Praetor and many, many others. The Idionomothetic laboratory is also used for preparatory work for meetings between Federation and Starfleet individuals and non-Federation members. One such event was the Nimbus III conference of stardate 11222.5. Each individual that was due to be at the meeting, both Federation and non-Federation. This cross-referencing is done to prevent two adversaries from inadvertantly being in the room. Diplomacy is hindered when their is 'bad blood' together in the room. Occasionally such differences of opinion are useful, but at other times it can be dangerous. The Idionomothetic examination helps to avoid such conflicts.
The Behavioural and Social Sciences department has a higher then normal percentage concentration of psionically gifted Starfleet personnel. Empaths and telepaths are essential in adepartment studying the mind, thoughts and behaviour. Deltans, Vulcans, Betazoids - all are part of the department. Strict ethical regulations ensure the psi gifted individuals are not exploited and that they respect the privacy of those around them. Some of the stronger psi gifted individuals may require stress-management sessions in order to relax from their exertions. This insight into the actual thoughts of others has opened up the ethical debates and also led to discoveries and insights of the mind.
Much of the work done in the department leads to work that in turn assists other departments such as medical and engineering. Many insights into the nature of the mind can also lead to new command protocols and procedures. There are biological psychological laboratories, psychodynamic lounges, psychometrics laboratories and many more. Some say that this part of the ship is the most relaxing - this is probably a myth, but most journeys towards mental therapy and relaxation lead to level three.
After a conversation the other day, I began to think how vast a canvass psychology covers - with many interactions between disciplines.
Star Trek, and other sci-fi, seems to have given the false impression that psychology is all 'Freud, Couches and counselling'. Which really is like saying medicine is all about first aid. Which is silly. Counselling, even social psychology has been seen as representative of psychology. To try to correct this false impression. and to skim over psychology, I shall list the fields of psychology [NOT an all-inclusive list as there's more i haven't studied than have].
Psychology is a science which covers all matters of behaviour, matters of the mind [memory, intelligence, personality, emotion]. Utilising all the methods of scientific study [theory generation based on prior research, experimental testing/observations, statistical analysis leading to hypothesis acceptance/rejection and further studies.
Psychology is on a continuum from social psychology, individual difefrences, cognitive psychology, to biopsychology. Some very theoretical fields [much in the manner of quantum physics] to other very practical or readily testable fields such as biopsychology or psychoneuroimmunology.
One of the fields most associated with psychology.
Interpersonal psychology [eg Erving Goffman, Cherry 1935].
non-verbal communication [body language]
Involves a lot of observations, as well as experiments.
Child Psychology/developmental psychology
Development from birth - adulthood.
Includes biological, social and behavioural aspects.
'normal' and atypical child development are covered.
Language acquisition, structure etc.
memory, intelligence - models of these facets.A lot of this work is later mapped onto biological discoveries that confirm the findings.
fMRI work aiding this field.
This is the counselling, psychodynamic field [freud, jung etc] but there's also Cognitive-behavioural therapy, behaviour shaping, and other techniques - including hypnotherapy.
This is the health promotion field, rather than treatment of disorders. It covers theory of planned behaviour and other models of how to promote healthy behaviour and lifestyle.
Psychoneuroimmunology - tri-disciplinary subject with immunologists
To produce intelligence artificially, the people who study natural intelligence are involved.
Not an area I know much about - motivational stuff for winning medals...
profiling - CSI special/Hannibal Lector stuff
Covers a wide wide field including:
Posttraumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, depression, from a perspective of genetics, brain chemistry and arrangement.
Now the question is, how does this all fit into one room? I think the Sheffield is going to have to specialise a bit and maybe take over Deck 3. There will be interations with sickbay and other departments as well.
I also don't think the term exo- or xeno- would or should be added to psychology IMHO, since that would create artificial divisions between races, when the same methods and knowledges would apply to each [with adjustments].
Comparing the abilities of primates, dolphins and other animals with humans. Comparing their brain sizes and complexity and abilities to see what a difference different developments make.
It is quite possible there will be elements of xenopsychology in here.