Many students are first exposed to psychology as undergraduates. But that may be changing, as educators aim to integrate psychology into high school science curriculums.
Psychology is a prime opportunity to introduce students to science, because teenagers are generally more interested in their friends' behavior than the behavior of inert gasses, says Charles Blair-Broeker, a psychology teacher at Cedar Falls High School, in Iowa, and a member of APA's Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools.
"I think psychology is an excellent way to introduce science and scientific thinking...because you can grab them with the subject matter," says Blair-Broeker.
With the aim of drawing students to all the sciences, David Rosenbaum, PhD, a Pennsylvania State University psychology professor, is developing a plan to embed psychology into high school curricula. The next step, he says, is to create and pilot test a course that teaches basic science principles through psychological questions, an approach similar to many college-level introductory psychology classes. Then, Rosenbaum will collaborate with administrators to persuade schools to adopt the class.
Adding psychology to high school requirements may benefit both students and the sciences, he says.
"It addresses the problem of psychology not being taken seriously as a science, and it also addresses the problem that science has had in not attracting enough people into the field," Rosenbaum says.