Faculty and Program Areas

The Department of Psychology awards the Ph.D. in seven programs, 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 three subspecialties: adult, child, 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 and child specialties, the areas of interest include personality assessment and training of social skills, clinical/social judgment, sexuality, childhood 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

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 Disabilites (IDD) Psychology

The Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) Psychology Graduate Program is designed to train scientific research psychologists in the area of IDD and leads to a PhD degree in IDD Psychology. The science of psychology applies to individuals with IDD just as to non-disabled groups, although this is a specialization in its own right. Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities as a field includes disorders such as intellectual disability (formerly called mental retardation), autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, Williams syndrome, and other related disabilities that originate during the developmental period. The IDD Psychology Program offers two possible tracks: the "IDD Psychology" track and a "Dual Clinical-IDD Psychology" track.

Program Information

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.

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