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Department

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Programs

The Department of Psychology awards the Ph.D. in seven programs, each covering a wide range of research topics, as described below.

Behavioral Neuroscience

Main areas of emphasis: behavioral neuroscience and behavioral endocrinology. Research focuses on the neurological and neurochemical mechanisms of behavior and development; species-specific behaviors; early experiential factors in behavioral development; the ontogeny of learning and memory; psychophysiological factors underlying affects and emotions; autonomic nervous system; animal models of neurodegenerative diseases; behavioral pharmacology.

Various methods for the assessment of sensory, perceptual, associative and cognitive functions are practiced, including classical and operant conditioning. Research methods include electrophysiological, neurosurgical, neuropharma-cological and psychophysiological approaches.

Clinical Psychology

The main areas of emphasis: systematic research on clinically-relevant problems; assessment and treatment of problematic behavior. There are three subspecialties: adult, child, and health. Faculty emphasizes behavioral, cultural, developmental, and social perspectives. Faculty research interests include health psychology, i.e. cardiovascular and pulmonary disease, cancer, psychoneuro-immunology, women's health and related topics. In the adult and child specialties, the areas of interest include personality, assessment and training of social skills, clinical/social judgment, sexuality, childhood psychopathology and anxiety disorders. The program is accredited by the American Psychological Association. The department's Psychological Services Center and other cooperating mental health facilities are the sites for clinical training.

Cognitive Psychology

Main areas of emphasis: cognition/memory/learning; human performance; and perception. Faculty research includes: perceptual-motor coordination, psychophysics, categorization, decision-making, human factors, electrophysiological correlates of human cognition and information processing, language processing and psycholinguistics, auditory and visual perception, and music perception/cognition.

Counseling Psychology

The Counseling Psychology Program is no longer accepting applicants because the program is being phased out by the department.

Developmental Psychology

The Developmental Psychology Program considers fundamental questions in the field of psychology from the perspective of developmental change. The primary area of emphasis is cognitive development, including attention and memory, learning and conceptual development, language acquisition, and the interactions among these processes. Secondary areas of emphasis include social cognition, moral development, and parent-adolescent relationships. Faculty employ state-of-the-art experimental methods for studying cognition in infants and young children, for example preferential looking, habituation, EEG, fMRI, microgenetic approaches, as well as traditional experimental techniques and physiological measures. Students are encouraged to visit individual labs for more specific information about on-going research.

Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities

Main areas of emphasis depend on student's area of specialization in MR/DD Psychology. The MR/DD-Developmental track deals with issues such as normal and abnormal life span development, early intervention, and habilitation; the MR/DD-Clinical track focuses on psychopathology in mental retardation, which includes issues of classification, assessment, treatment, and prevention of behavior problems and psychiatric disorders; the MR/DD-Industrial/Organizational track concentrates on issues of human services administration, public policy, and employment of persons with developmental disabilities.

Current faculty research interests in developmental disabilities include epidemiology, classification, behavior management, and psychopharmacotherapy of severe aberrant behaviors (antisocial behavior, stereotypy and self-injurious behavior) and psychiatric disorders (Including autism, specific reading disorders, depression, anxiety, fear, panic); psychotherapy research; psychological and cognitive correlates of psychiatric disorders; applied behavior analysis and ecobehavioral analysis; development of diagnostic tests and assessment instruments for adaptive and maladaptive behavior; socio-emotional development; health promotion.

Quantitative Psychology/Judgment and Decision Making

There are three areas of specialization within the quantitative program: (1) traditional quantitative methods, including multivariate quantitative methods and models, measurement theory, and model selection; (2) judgment and decision making, including modeling and experimental studies of human judgment and decision processes; (3) mathematical psychology, including development and application of mathematical models of psychlogical processes. Students can focus their studies in one area, or a combination. The program helps students develop and expand their mathematical, statistical, and computer skills, and encourages them to apply those skills to substantive areas in psychology. There is considerable flexibility to accommodate students with a variety of interests.

Faculty research includes quantitative methods such as covariance structure models, factor analysis, categorical data analysis, models of multilevel data, clustering, and multidimensional scaling; mathematical modeling of human judgment and decision processes, including axiomatic, algebraic, connectionist and stochastic approaches; and model selection methods.

Students, faculty, and prominent visiting scholars interact in weekly seminars. The area supports several microcomputer laboratories, including a judgment and decision making laboratory.

Social Psychology

Main areas of emphasis: attitudes and persuasion, social cognition, attribution, political pyschology, intergroup relations and personality processes and individual differences. Applied opportunities and training are also available in consumer psychology and health psychology.

The program emphasizes the acquisition of research and conceptual skills. Current research and theory are evaluated in weekly seminars, many of which are conducted by outstanding visiting scholars. Laboratory space and equipment, including computer-based attitudes and social cognition laboratories, closed-circuit audio/video facilities and one-way observation rooms, permit the study of the full range of social processes.
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