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What is Psychology?

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behavior. Psychologists are actively involved in studying and understanding mental processes, brain functions, and behavior. The field of psychology is considered a "Hub Science" with strong connections to the medical sciences, social sciences, and education (Boyack, Klavans, & Borner, 2005).

At Ohio State, the Department of Psychology is organized into eight areas, working to investigate critical aspects of the brain and human behavior.

Behavioral Neuroscience

  • Factors influencing plasticity of brain and behavior through development and into adulthood
  • Hippocampal biology and function
  • Stress and the brain
  • Neurogenesis and brain plasticity across the life span
  • Sex-related differences in brain function
  • Endocrine and immune regulation of brain and behavior
  • The neurobiology of cognitive control

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Clinical Psychology

  • The treatment of mood and personality disorders using cognitive behavioral therapies
  • Biobehavioral responses to cancer diagnosis and treatment
  • Testing and dissemination of psychological treatments for cancer patients
  • Psychological and behavioral adaptation to chronic health problems
  • Effects of exercise on psychological and cognitive functioning
  • Neuroplasticity in healthy aging and neurological disorders
  • Mindfulness and cognitive functioning in older adults

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Cognitive Psychology

  • Experimental, brain imaging, and model-based approaches to perception, memory, decision making, action, and language
  • Modeling decision processing in memory, perception, numeracy.
  • How our visual systems create our stable perception of the world
  • Neuroimaging (fMRI) studies examining how we value and choose things
  • The creation of biologically plausible network models of human cognition
  • How we control our attention in complex tasks
  • How the auditory system solves the challenges of understanding spoken language

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Decision Science

  • How cognitive, affective, and social processes influence judgment and choice
  • How numeracy (numeric ability) affects real-world decisions
  • How the brain represents subjective values and beliefs
  • The role of attitudes in numeric judgment and choice
  • How to improve self-control
  • How information is interpreted and integrated in decision making
  • Modeling decision making in aging and cognitive decline

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Developmental Psychology

  • Learning and developmental change in cognition, behavior, and the brain
  • Genetic and environmental influences on brain and behavior
  • Development of memory, categorization, and reasoning
  • Development of numerical cognition and mathematical thinking
  • How children learn language and use it to understand their world
  • How children grow beyond the superficial in their social and moral understanding How children grow beyond the superficial in their social and moral understanding

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Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

  • How to improve health and well-being in children and adults with intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, and other neurodevelopmental disorders
  • How to best support family members of people with disabilities
  • How to impact the outcome and course of intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder, and related neurodevelopmental disorders
  • How to develop psychological instruments that measure core and associated features of intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder, and other neurodevelopmental disorders
  • How to treat behavior and emotional problems in children and adults who have intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder, and related neurodevelopmental disorders

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Quantitative Psychology

  • Developing, evaluating and applying new quantitative methods for the analysis of psychological data
  • The application of statistical models to real world problems
  • Bayesean models of human cognition

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Social Psychology

  • Automatic and deliberative attitudes: Influences on information processing, judgment, and behavior
  • Increasing women’s participation in STEM disciplines
  • How motivations in social interactions shape relationships, beliefs, well-being, and health
  • What motivates social behavior
  • Effects of the immune system and common anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. Tylenol) on emotions, decisions, and social behavior
  • How similarity in brain activity across people underlies similarity in thoughts, attitudes and beliefs

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