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What Is Psychology?


What exactly is psychology? The simplest definition is that it is the study of the mind and behavior, but it is difficult to capture everything that psychology encompasses in just a brief definition.  Learn more...

Basics for Beginners
Psychology Spotlight10

Why You Should Take a Psychology Class

Tuesday April 15, 2014
Why take psychology classes

Every semester I get several emails asking one basic question: "I'm not a psychology major but my university is requiring me to take a psych class for a general education requirement. Why?"

Many universities require students to take a psychology class, usually to fulfill a social science requirement. In many cases, students can select from a number of different classes that can fulfill the requirement. Such classes might include psychology, government, sociology, or anthropology. In other cases, a psychology class might be the only option available for that element of the general education requirement.

Even if you are not a psychology major, there are plenty of great reasons to take a psychology class. Having a better understand of how people think and why they behave the way they do can be helpful no matter what profession you pursue. For example, if you are going into marketing or advertising, psychology can help you better understand things like consumer behavior and persuasion. A nursing major might benefit by gaining a better understanding of how people respond to stress and illness, while an education major might benefit from learning more about topics such as cognition, learning, development, and behavior.

Learn more about some of the many reasons why you should take a psychology class (even if you are not a psychology major).

Image: Tiffany Szerpicki

Confirmation Bias - Psychology Definition of the Week

Friday April 11, 2014
confirmation bias

Definition: When we are making a decision about an issue, we often like to believe that we carefully balance the existing evidence and formulate an opinion that is balanced, logical, and impartial. The reality is that we often fall victim to a problem known as the confirmation bias. This involves only paying attention to information that supports our current point of view, or even interpreting information in such as way that it upholds our existing beliefs. In other words, we look for evidence that supports our opinions and ignore information that conflicts with what we already believe to be true.

Learn more about about how this works in this overview of the confirmation bias.

Image: Piotr Bizior

The Words of Jean Piaget

Thursday April 10, 2014
piaget quotes

Jean Piaget was a Swiss psychologist known for his famous theory of cognitive development. His work helped transform the study of child development and contributed greatly to our understanding of how kids grow and change over the course of childhood.

Piaget outlined his thoughts and theories in several texts including The Moral Judgement of the Child (1932) and Genetic Epistemology (1970). Explore his thoughts on topics ranging from education to intelligence in this collection of selected quotations by Jean Piaget.

Public Domain Image via Wikimedia Commons

I-O Psychologists: How Much Do They Make?

Tuesday April 8, 2014
i-o salary info

Ever since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics identified industrial-organizational psychology (aka I-O psychology) as their number one fastest-growing career of the next decade, I've been getting a lot of questions from students interested in this specialty area. Many of the questions center on educational requirements, but the number one query relates to how much money I-O psychologists make.

First and foremost, I'd like to stress that students should never let a hypothetical salary serve as the deciding factor in choosing a career. Sure it's great to pick a profession that allows you to be well compensated for your time and expertise, but other factors such as job satisfaction should really play the greatest role in picking a job path.

Salaries for I-O psychologists can vary a great deal depending on a lot of factors including educational background, geographic location, and years of experience. Whenever I post salary figures for various careers, I invariably receive several emails from readers insisting that the data is wrong because they either make much more or much less that the average salary listed.

But that's the key thing to remember - these figures are averages. An I-O psychologist with 15 years of experience living in a major metropolitan area is clearly going to command a much higher salary than a fresh-out-of-college professional living in a smaller town.

Keep these things in mind as you explore these different figures for typical earnings for I-O psychologists.

More About I-O Psychology:

Image: Alexander Kalina

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