Education

How To Become An Experimental Psychologist

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 4 minute read

How do you define Experimental Psychology?

In experimental psychology, empirical research methods are used to investigate how mental processes influence behavior.

According to Empiricism, scientific findings and hypotheses are founded on empirical evidence only.

Empirical techniques take into account the ways in which human and animal perception, memory, training, and motivation all play a role in behavior.

German physician Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920) was the first person to describe himself as a psychologist and the first to conduct experiments in psychology.

He was the first to create a laboratory at Leipzig University to begin psychological research in 1879.

Tachistoscopes, chronoscopes, pendulums, electrical instruments, and sensory mapping devices were only some of the tools Dr. Wundt employed throughout his research.

Currently, experimental psychologists may be found at universities, research institutions, government agencies, and private enterprises.

There are various variables that influence the field of study. These domains range from workplace safety to educational experimentation, for instance.

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, which attract millions of visitors each year, have a unique application of experimental psychology.

All visitors should have a positive and memorable experience at the well-known tourist site. The educational value of Disney’s live animal shows is evaluated by a team that includes an experimental psychologist.

Education

Degree of Bachelor’s

Aspiring psychologists should begin their education with a bachelor’s degree in the area. You can get either a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree, depending on your interests.

Typically, the scientific option will include fewer non-major courses, as well as more science and mathematics subjects. These more advanced courses will come in handy as you begin collecting data and doing empirical research.

In the study of memory, cognition, language, learning, and perceptual systems, your bachelor’s degree provides a solid foundation. It is recommended by the American Psychological Association to begin with a bachelor’s degree.

Social psychology, abnormal psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and child and adult development are among the many topics often covered in a psychology degree program.

If available, graduate-level electives in statistics, personality psychology, and research methodologies can help you build a solid foundation for your future career.

A Master’s Degree

You can choose between a Master of Arts or a Master of Science in Experimental Psychology at this point.

In addition, students have the option of attending classes over the internet or on-site at a college or university. Graduate school prepares you to conduct research using theoretical, statistical, and observational methods. 

There is a sample of the fundamental courses:

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Theories of Personality
  • Neuropsychology

As part of many degree plans, you’ll be required to complete a six-hour thesis project in which you’ll present the results of your own study, conducted under the guidance of a faculty adviser.

As part of your master’s thesis, you will create scientific questions and hypotheses, organize a study, collect data, analyze data, and evaluate the results. As part of your report, you may be required to give an oral defense of your research.

It is possible to earn a Master’s degree in Quantitative Psychology, which will prepare you for a job in the field of psychological research. Online students can get a degree from The Ohio State University in this field. 

Students learn statistical and data analysis methodologies, as well as the study of mathematical psychology, as part of the curriculum.

If you’ve already completed a master’s degree, you may expect to get your Ph.D. in about four to five years. The dissertation and research projects are the focus of the third and fourth years of study.

In addition, Ball State University provides a master’s degree in quantitative psychology. Two concentrations are available in their 27-credits-plus-thesis program — Quantitative and Mixed Methods. 

Students who are interested in improving their statistical and equation modeling abilities should choose the first option instead of the latter.

With mixed methods, you have a better grasp of the influence of people’s beliefs and motives. A Ph.D. is a goal of the program.

Doctorate

A master’s degree may be the minimum education required to operate in this industry. During these years, students are given a solid foundation in statistics and research techniques that they may use when applying to Ph.D. programs. 

There are Ph. D.s in nearly every academic field, and experimental psychology is no exception. Individuals who want to acquire the highest level of study and have additional professional options may consider pursuing a doctoral degree.

Essentially, it is a research degree for people who are committed to empirical psychology research in the private sector, government, or academia.

Doctorates in Applied Experimental Psychology are also available. This degree focuses on research methods that may be used to solve real-world challenges.

Human factors, cognitive science, and applied psychology are the backbones of this comprehensive study. 

This degree is offered by the Catholic University of America. It is supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Office of Naval Research for its Department of Psychology Ph.D. program.

Bottom Line

With a master’s degree, you’ll have a better shot at getting a job in experimental psychology. The preceding information was geared toward a master’s degree in experimental psychology and beyond. 

In addition, there are several more degrees to consider:

  • Psychology: Human Factors
  • Cognitive Science
  • Industrial and Organizational Psychology
  • Child Development
  • Educational Psychology
  • Behavioral Economics
  • Applied Positive Psychology
  • Psychometrics

These specializations can all lead to careers in academia or industry as researchers in their particular fields of study.

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