Curiosity is part of human nature. One of the first questions children learn to ask is “why?” As adults, we continue to wonder. Using empirical methods, psychologists apply that universal curiosity to collect and interpret research data to better understand and solve some of society’s most challenging problems.
It’s difficult, if not impossible, to think of a facet of life where psychology is not involved. Psychologists employ the scientific method — stating the question, offering a theory and then constructing rigorous laboratory or field experiments to test the hypothesis. Psychologists apply the understanding gleaned through research to create evidence-based strategies that solve problems and improve lives.
The result is that psychological science unveils new and better ways for people to exist and thrive in a complex world.
Psychologists in Action
Dr. Jack Stark uses psychological science to help NASCAR drivers achieve optimal performance and keep their team in the winner’s circle.
Psychology is a varied field. Psychologists conduct basic and applied research, serve as consultants to communities and organizations, diagnose and treat people, and teach future psychologists and those who will pursue other disciplines. They test intelligence and personality.
Many psychologists work as health care providers. They assess behavioral and mental function and well-being. Other psychologists study how human beings relate to each other and to machines, and work to improve these relationships.
The application of psychological research can decrease the economic burden of disease on government and society as people learn how to make choices that improve their health and well-being. The strides made in educational assessments are helping students with learning disabilities. Psychological science helps educators understand how children think, process and remember — helping to design effective teaching methods. Psychological science contributes to justice by helping the courts understand the minds of criminals, evidence and the limits of certain types of evidence or testimony.
The science of psychology is pervasive. Psychologists work in some of the nation’s most prominent companies and organizations. From Google, Boeing and NASA to the federal government, national health care organizations and research groups to Cirque du Soleil, Disney and NASCAR — psychologists are there, playing important roles.