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What Careers are in Experimental Psychology?

Experimental PsychologyThere are many stimulating careers are in experimental psychology available for students who are enthusiastic about discovering solutions to real-world problems. Experimental psychology is an applied science that strives to analyze and understand human behaviors through solid, scientific research.

Experimental Psychology

Experimental psychology is an integrated study of the brain, cognition and human behavior. Experimental psychologists work within every major branch of psychology. This is because experimental psychology is practiced through controlled lab research and experiments. Experimental psychology is a very objective field that interprets the human experience through testable hypothesis, data collection, variable correlations and experiment validity and reliability. Therefore, experimental psychologists must have excellent analytical, administrative and mathematics skills. The goal of experimental psychology is to understand how experienced-based cognition influence decisions and behaviors.

Experimental Psychology Programs

The field of experimental psychology covers a vast array of sub-discipline specialization, such as neuroscience, behavior analysis and quantitative psychology. Most practicing psychologists will need to obtain a bachelor’s degree and then a specialized master’s degree, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most experimental psychology programs will include core topics regarding advanced cognition, neuropsychology, human development and psychometric assessments. Experimental psychology programs all include thesis projects that focus on applied research and experimentation.

Cognitive Psychologist

Careers are in experimental psychology begin with cognitive psychology, which focuses on how humans acquire, process, store and access information. Major areas of research interest include memory, attention, problem-solving and decision-making. Most cognitive psychologists perform applied or advanced research in universities and private companies. For example, cognitive psychologists have pioneered the exploration of the brain’s biological and neurological functions. Related to this, neuropsychology scientifically study brain functions as they relate to human cognition and behavior. In fact, cognitive neuropsychology is a recently new branch of psychology that combines cognitive and experimental psychology. For example, neuropsychologists might monitor people’s brain activities during specific activities, such as meditation, studying math or watching TV.

Developmental Psychologist

Developmental psychologists typically work with specific populations, such as children or the elderly. Developmental psychology studies human growth and development through every life stage. For example, they might study how children acquire new information or socially interact with strangers. They typically consult with schools and families on how to best help children and adolescents mentally and socially develop. Development psychologists work in academic, research and government organizations. Some work face-to-face with clients in rehabilitation clinics, assisted living facilities and community organizations.

Social Psychologist

Social psychologists are either sociologists interested in psychology or actual social psychologists. Social psychology is a fascinating field that explores collective human behaviors. For example, pioneering social psychologist Philip Zimbardo performed his infamous Stanford prison experiment in early 1970’s that studied the true psychological effects of imprisonment and social power. However, modern social psychology has plenty of practical business, education and real world applications. To illustrate, social psychologists may work with correctional facilities to reduce recidivism rates through improving transition programs. In contrast, social psychologists may work with businesses to analyze the work environment in order to decrease turnover. Finally, they may even work for major corporations analyzing collective consumer behaviors for marketing purposes.

Related Resource: Academic Psychology Careers

In review, experimental psychology is an extensive field that integrates into all major branches of psychology. Careers are in experimental psychology aren’t just limited to lab work, but also include hands-on careers in the field working directly with clients.