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Experimental Psychology. Presentation created by Angelo Santi and Edward Wasserman Wilfrid Laurier University and The University of Iowa Division 3, Experimental Psychology American Psychological Association. What is Experimental Psychology?. The phrase “experimental psychology” refers to

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Experimental psychology l.jpg

Experimental Psychology

Presentation created by

Angelo Santi and Edward Wasserman

Wilfrid Laurier University and The University of Iowa

Division 3, Experimental Psychology

American Psychological Association


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What is Experimental Psychology?

  • The phrase “experimental psychology” refers to

    • a specific methodological approach to the study of psychology

    • as well as to several specific areas of research within psychology which predominantly use experimental methods


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What is an Experimental Psychologist?

  • A psychological scientist who:

    • primarily uses the experimental method to study behavior

    • answers questions about the when, where, and why of behavior by careful manipulation and control of relevant variables

    • carefully records and conducts quantitative analysis of the behavioral data

    • insists on the cautious and parsimonious interpretation of those empirical data in the light of both familiar and innovative theoretical interpretations


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Experimental Psychology: A specific methodological approach

  • Experimental psychology involves the collection of reliable and quantifiable behavioral data

  • Often empirical tests are conducted under controlled conditions in order to study a particular psychological phenomenon or to test hypotheses concerning that phenomenon


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Experimental Psychology: A set of specific areas of study

  • Specific areas of study within psychology which predominantly use experimental methods include:

  • sensation, perception, physiological and comparative psychology, emotion, motivation, conditioning, learning, memory, and cognition


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History

  • Experimental Psychology as a scientific discipline separate from philosophy and physiology began with the opening of Wilhelm Wundt’s laboratory at Leipzig, Germany in 1879.

  • The Division of Experimental Psychology of the APA was formed in 1945 to represent the interests and concerns of psychologists whose principal area of study or research lies within the field of general experimental psychology.


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Experimental Psychology Today

  • Given advances and the diversification and specialization of psychological science, fewer psychologists today would use the general term “experimental psychology” to describe their primarily field of study.

  • Some might not even use the phrase “psychologist” in describing themselves!

  • They might call themselves a behavioral neuroscientist, a cognitive neuroscientist, a sensory scientist, a cognitive scientist.

  • They might describe their field of study as sensation, perception, comparative cognition, animal learning, cognition, memory, psycholinguistics, etc.


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Challenge

  • Experimental psychology has been enormously successful as an approach to understanding behavior.

  • That very success has seen the approach applied to a dizzying array of behaviors and organisms. 

  • The challenge that all experimental psychologists accept is the search to identify laws of behavior:  laws that are applicable across different species and ages of organisms, that hold for both normal and abnormal behavior, and that generalize to both natural and laboratory situations.

  • Meeting this challenge means that experimental psychologists share the same scientific aims, not merely the same scientific methods.


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The Mission and the Membership of the Division of Experimental Psychology

  • The Mission: to promote scientific inquiry through teaching and research, and to support experimental psychology through advocacy and educational programs

  • The Membership: people who do basic and applied research in cognitive psychology, animal behavior processes, neuroscience, and those who do experimental work in developmental, social, and other areas of psychology. Many of our members are teachers of psychology in these areas.


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Careers in Experimental Psychology Experimental Psychology

  • To be an experimental psychologist requires an undergraduate degree and strong verbal, quantitative, and analytical skills.

  • Followed by a doctoral degree and possibly postdoctoral research and teaching experience.


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Where do experimental psychologists work? Experimental Psychology

  • The majority work in universities and colleges

  • Others find research-related work in

    • Hospitals

    • Research Institutes and Centers

    • Government and Military Organizations

    • Private Companies and Industry


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Resources for Students Experimental Psychology

  • APA Experimental Psychology

    • Division 3, Experimental Psychology

      • http://www.apa.org/about/division/div3.htm


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