Psychologists study human behavior and the mental processes related to that behavior. Research psychologists investigate the physical, cognitive, emotional or social aspects of human behavior. Psychologists in applied fields provide mental health services in hospitals, clinics, schools or private settings. Like other social scientists, psychologists formulate hypotheses and collect data to test their validity. Research methods depend on the topic under study. Psychologists may gather information through controlled laboratory experiments, as well as through personality, performance, aptitude and intelligence tests. Other methods include observation, interviews, questionnaires, clinical studies and surveys.
Psychologists apply their knowledge and techniques to a wide range of endeavors, including human services, management, education, law and sports. In addition to a variety of work settings, psychologists specialize in many different areas. There are clinical psychologists, who assist mentally or emotionally disturbed clients; cognitive psychologists deal with memory, thinking and perception; health psychologists promote good health through health maintenance; neuropsychologists study the relation between the brain and behavior; counseling psychologists advise people on everyday living; developmental psychologists study patterns and causes of behavioral change; experimental psychologists study behavior as they work with human beings and animals; industrial-organizational psychologists apply psychological techniques to personnel administration, management and marketing problems; school psychologists work with students, parents, teachers and administrators to resolve learning problems; and social psychologists examine people’s interactions with others within the social environment.
Most jobs in psychology are found in education, while others are found in health services, government agencies and in social service, research, management consulting and marketing research organizations.
Visit the American Psychological Association‘s website to learn more.