Psychology in Bangladesh: Past, Present and Future

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Psychology in Bangladesh: Past, Present and Future

Written by Dr.Anwarul Hasan Sufi, Tanzir Ahmad Tushar, Md.Shahinoor Rahman Kajol

The paper outlines the roots of Psychology in Bangladesh to philosophical and social context. It also sketches the recent and future trend of Psychology in Bangladesh. The British system of education moved to colonial Indian Sub continent. The superior western knowledge with Indian local system of knowledge; particularly Patna and Kolkata spread over Bangladesh in 1956 through Rajshahi University then in Dhaka University, 1965. Now, expansion of higher study of psychology extends Chittagong University and Jagannath University. At the beginning of psychology, in Rajshahi and Dhaka University were under philosophy department and later on get stand alone department status. Forty five years ago, social psychology, educational psychology, political psychology and mentally retarded research grounded in Rajshahi University with its well equipped first psychology laboratory in Bangladesh. In the last 14 years, research grounded on mental health, developmental psychology and clinical psychology. During 1965 to 2000 research grounded in Dhaka University on organizational psychology, social psychology, developmental psychology, abnormal psychology, clinical psychology, educational psychology and counseling psychology. Last 10 years, research and psychological services increase dramatically. Three branches of applied psychology emerged their own way in Dhaka University; clinical psychology, educational psychology and counseling psychology. At same time, cognitive psychology and organizational psychology research got some new dimension with some young scientist there. In Chittagong University, higher education grounded about 30 years ago under philosophy department but psychology got its department status about 10 years ago. Research on social psychology, educational psychology and industrial psychology grounded here. Although higher education of psychology started two decade earlier at Jagannath University, psychological research started with full swing after getting its status as a university in 2005. Currently, in Bangladesh grounded research going on cognitive psychology; cognitive aging, clinical psychology particularly mental health and its intervention, counseling psychology, educational psychology; autism and mental retardation research and practice, organizational psychology and developmental psychology. Despite the research on psychology currently dominated by social psychology in the absence of well developed indigenous experimental psychology, the research area is likely to become increasing on neuropsychology, physiological basis of behavior and cognitive psychology base over next 30 years. Cultural ethos of Bangladesh is unique. It is mostly a rural country, with many tribes, religions and socioeconomic disproportion including poverty and deprivation. To maintain high standard teaching and research The Bangladeshi psychologists need to organize and work hard. At the same time, they need to take greater responsibility to improve the quality of psychological services.

The Paper Traces back the roots of Psychology in Bangladesh to ancient philosophical and religious texts. The British system of education transplanted to colonial Bangladesh not only asserted the superiority of Western Knowledge, but also defended its position by degrading and discouraging local systems of knowledge. The end of British Colonial rule in 1947 led to major expansion in higher education in the 1956s and 1967s. In the last three decades, the importance of cultural variables in understanding human development and behaviour has received greater attention from psychologists both in Bangladesh and abroad. Bangladeshs cultural ethos is unique. It is predominantly a rural country, with many tribes, languages, religions and socio-economic disparities including extensive poverty and deprivation. The Bangladeshi psychologists need to organize and work hard for high standard teaching and research and take greater responsibility to improve quality of psychological services for advancing the status of their discipline.

Thirty years ago, grounded cognition had roots in philosophy, perception, cognitive linguistics, psycholinguistics, cognitive psychology, and cognitive neuropsychology. During the next 20 years, grounded cognition continued developing in these areas, and it also took new forms in robotics, cognitive ecology, cognitive neuroscience, and developmental psychology. In the past 10 years, research on grounded cognition has grown rapidly, especially in cognitive neuroscience, social neuroscience, cognitive psychology, social psychology, and developmental psychology. Currently, grounded cognition appears to be achieving increased acceptance throughout cognitive science, shifting from relatively minor status to increasing importance. Nevertheless, researchers wonder whether grounded mechanisms lie at the heart of the cognitive system or are peripheral to classic symbolic mechanisms.
Although grounded cognition is currently dominated by demonstration experiments in the absence of well-developed theories, the area is likely to become increasingly theory driven over the next 30 years. Another likely development is the increased incorporation of grounding mechanisms into cognitive architectures and into accounts of classic cognitive phenomena. As this incorporation occurs, much functionality of these architectures and phenomena is likely to remain, along with many original mechanisms. Future theories of grounded cognition are likely to be heavily influenced by both cognitive neuroscience and social neuroscience, and also by developmental science and robotics. Aspects from the three major perspectives in cognitive science—classic symbolic architectures, statistical ⁄ dynamical systems, and grounded cognition—will probably be integrated increasingly in future theories, each capturing indispensable aspects of intelligence.

Citation: Sufi, A. H., Rahman, M. S., & Tushar, T. A. (2015). The past, present and future of Psychology in Bangladesh. Paper presented at the Centenary Conference on Psychology, Kolkata, India.

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