Students planning to do graduate work in psychology must choose an area of specialization. The decision whether to accept a student into a program is typically made by faculty members in that particular area. Psychologists specialize in a wide variety of different areas within the field and are found in a host of careers. The areas of specialization include:
•Behavioral and Cellular Neuroscience – research topics include psychopharmacology, recovery of neural function, neurobiology of pain and stress, neurobiology of drug addiction, neurobiology of learning and memory, and neurobiology of feeding behavior
•Clinical – currently focused on issues such as psychopathology of eating disorders and dissociative disorders, psychoneuroimmunology, assessment and treatment of couples, psychological assessment and test development, the interaction between reproductive and mental health, and cross-cultural aspects of theories and treatment of substance abuse and eating disorders
•Cognition & Cognitive Neuroscience – working on problems such as false, blocked, and recovered memories, meta-cognition, infant speech perception, biological vs. cultural influences on brain organization of language in monolinguals and bilinguals, biological bases of sex differences in human cognitive ability, and concept formation and knowledge structure
•Industrial/Organizational – faculty research is investigating complex skill acquisition and retention, team selection and training, sexual and racial harassment in organizations, measurement and improvement of organizational productivity, measurement and prediction of efficient behavior in workplace, and computer-mediated communication in groups
•Social & Personality – research includes such topics as attachment theory, close relationships, evolutionary social psychology, social influence, and habits and social behavior
Many psychologists teach psychology in academic institutions, and the field of psychology encompasses both research, through which we learn about human and animal behavior, and practice, through which knowledge is applied in helping to solve problems and promote healthy human development. One of psychology’s most unique and important characteristics is its coupling of science and practice, which stimulates the advancement of both.