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Chinese scholarship focused on the brain advanced in the Qing Dynasty with the work of Western-educated Fang Yizhi (1611–1671), Liu Zhi (1660–1730), and Wang Qingren (1768–1831).
Wang Qingren emphasized the importance of the brain as the center of the nervous system, linked mental disorder with brain diseases, investigated the causes of dreams and insomnia, and advanced a theory of hemispheric lateralization in brain function.
While psychological knowledge is often applied to the assessment and treatment of mental health problems, it is also directed towards understanding and solving problems in several spheres of human activity.
The ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece, China, India, and Persia all engaged in the philosophical study of psychology.
The majority of psychologists are involved in some kind of therapeutic role, practicing in clinical, counseling, or school settings.
Many do scientific research on a wide range of topics related to mental processes and behavior, and typically work in university psychology departments or teach in other academic settings (e.g., medical schools, hospitals).
Historians note that Greek philosophers, including Thales, Plato, and Aristotle (especially in his De Anima treatise), In China, psychological understanding grew from the philosophical works of Laozi and Confucius, and later from the doctrines of Buddhism.
This body of knowledge involves insights drawn from introspection and observation, as well as techniques for focused thinking and acting.