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Faculty and Program Areas

The Department of Psychology awards the Ph.D. in nine program areas, each covering a wide range of research topics, as described below.

Behavioral Neuroscience

Main areas of emphasis: behavioral neuroscience, behavioral endocrinology, neuropsychopharmacology, and neuroimmunology. Research focuses on animal models of neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disease; aging; plasticity; neurobiological and neurochemical mechanisms of cognitive (i.e., learning, memory and attention), affective, and social behaviors.

Various behavioral methods are utilized and combined with electrophysiological, neurochemical, neuroanatomical, immunohistochemical, molecular, and pharmacological approaches.

Program Information

Clinical Psychology

The main areas of emphasis: systematic research on clinically-relevant problems; assessment and treatment of problematic behavior. There are two subspecialties: adult and health. Faculty emphasizes behavioral, cultural, developmental, and social perspectives. Faculty research interests include health psychology, i.e. cardiovascular and pulmonary disease, cancer, psychoneuro-immunology, women's health and related topics. In the adult specialty, the areas of interest include personality assessment and training of social skills, clinical/social judgment, sexuality, psychopathology and anxiety disorders. The program is accredited by the American Psychological Association. The department's Psychological Services Center and other cooperating mental health facilities are the sites for clinical training.

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Cognitive Psychology

Main areas of emphasis: cognition/memory/learning; human performance; and perception. Faculty research includes: perceptual-motor coordination, human memory and cognition, categorization, decision-making, human factors, language processing and psycholinguistics, auditory and visual perception, higher-level vision and attention, and music perception/cognition. Research methods include psychophysics, computational modeling, eye-tracking, EEG, and fMRI.

Program Information

Cognitive Neuroscience

Ohio State offers a cross-area training program in Cognitive Neuroscience. This program is geared towards students who study the human mind and brain from a variety of perspectives, with a special emphasis on sophisticated training in neuroimaging methods and analysis. Faculty and students in the program have research interests which span a multitude of areas, including visual perception and cognition, memory and learning, computational cognitive neuroscience, neuroeconomics, social cognitive neuroscience, developmental cognitive neuroscience, and clinical cognitive neuroscience. The goal of the program is to bring together students from all of these areas. Students will be exposed to training in a variety of research methods, including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG), and computational modeling. In addition to training in neuroimaging methods and analyses, students will also receive training in a concentration (area of content specialization) of their choosing, including Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Social Psychology, Decision Psychology, etc.


Developmental Psychology

The Developmental Psychology Program considers fundamental questions in the field of psychology from the perspective of developmental change. The primary area of emphasis is cognitive development, including attention and memory, learning and conceptual development, language acquisition, and the interactions among these processes. Secondary areas of emphasis include social cognition, moral development, and parent-adolescent relationships. Faculty employ state-of-the-art experimental methods for studying cognition in infants and young children, for example preferential looking, habituation, EEG, fMRI, microgenetic approaches, as well as traditional experimental techniques and physiological measures. Students are encouraged to visit individual labs for more specific information about on-going research.

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Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) Psychology

The Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) Psychology Graduate Program offers a clinical science model of training in the area of IDD, concerning children and adults with intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder, and related neurodevelopmental disorders. Clinical and research areas of emphasis include the diagnosis and treatment of mental health problems co-occurring with IDD, early intervention, problem (e.g., dangerous and destructive) behaviors, addiction, health disparities, and parent training.

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Quantitative Psychology

There are three areas of specialization within the quantitative program: (1) traditional quantitative methods, including multivariate quantitative methods and models, measurement theory, and model selection; (2) judgment and decision making, including modeling and experimental studies of human judgment and decision processes; (3) mathematical psychology, including development and application of mathematical models of psychlogical processes. Students can focus their studies in one area, or a combination. The program helps students develop and expand their mathematical, statistical, and computer skills, and encourages them to apply those skills to substantive areas in psychology. There is considerable flexibility to accommodate students with a variety of interests.

Faculty research includes quantitative methods such as covariance structure models, factor analysis, categorical data analysis, models of multilevel data, clustering, and multidimensional scaling; mathematical modeling of human judgment and decision processes, including axiomatic, algebraic, connectionist and stochastic approaches; and model selection methods.

Students, faculty, and prominent visiting scholars interact in weekly seminars. The area supports several microcomputer laboratories, including a judgment and decision making laboratory.

Program Information

Social Psychology

Main areas of emphasis: attitudes and persuasion, social cognition, attribution, political pyschology, intergroup relations and personality processes and individual differences. Applied opportunities and training are also available in consumer psychology and health psychology.

The program emphasizes the acquisition of research and conceptual skills. Current research and theory are evaluated in weekly seminars, many of which are conducted by outstanding visiting scholars. Laboratory space and equipment, including computer-based attitudes and social cognition laboratories, closed-circuit audio/video facilities and one-way observation rooms, permit the study of the full range of social processes.

Program Information

Decision Psychology

Ohio State offers a cross-area training program in Decision Psychology. In it, faculty members study the psychological underpinnings of judgments and decisions that people make. Area members stress the development of theories of evaluation and behavior that bridge multiple disciplines. The empirical testing of theory is key, leading to a common concern with methodology. Research in the area often has important implications in a variety of areas, including health and finances, business (e.g., consumer choice), and public policy.

The program focuses on research in basic cognitive, affective, and social processes in forming judgments and making decisions. Research areas of particular strength include behavioral decision research, attitudes, experimental economics, neuroeconomics, quantitative modeling approaches, and the application of theory to health and environmental concerns. The laboratories in the Decision Psychology program have computational resources and systems to conduct behavioral experiments (including eye-movement studies) and to perform computational modeling. The department also hosts centers for functional magnetic resonance brain imaging (fMRI) electroencephalography (EEG).

Graduate students in this program are exposed to a cross-disciplinary menu of courses and research methodologies designed to provide both the breadth and depth of training necessary to produce exciting new research on decision making. Students become involved in a research project conducted by a decision psychology faculty member from the moment they begin study. As he or she develops competence and experience, the student assumes a larger role in concept development and project implementation. Eventually, the student becomes a full collaborator. Advanced students are encouraged to conduct research that includes different faculty members. Collaborative research with the faculty usually results in co-authored articles in books and journals and in presentations at professional meetings.

Program Information

Cross-area Focus Groups

  • The Group for Attitudes and Persuasion
  • Social Behavior Interest Group
  • Social Cognition Research Group
  • Cognitive Neuroscience Group
  • Decision Psychology Group

Social Behavioral Interest Group

The Social Behavior Interest Group consists of members of the university community who are interested in social psychological research. The SBIG supports an active program of visiting speakers. The group meets weekly to hear speakers describe their recent research. Since 1990, SBIG has brought in numerous distinguished visiting speakers. Presentations have included contemporary issues in the study of attitudes, social cognition, prejudice & stereotyping, and also applied research questions in the domains of health and consumer behavior.