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Overview: Scientific Themes
Research in our department can be characterized by three broad themes that cut across the Ph.D. training programs. They are Brain, Mind, and Behavior; Mental Health; and Social, Group, and Cultural Processes. These themes capture well the current movement towards multidisciplinary research that focuses on basic science as well as applications to societal problems (often called translational research), and accord with the direction that Federal funding has taken in recent years. They provide the basis for much research collaboration within the department and with colleagues elsewhere on campus, across the nation, and around the globe.
Brain, Mind and Behavior. A particularly exciting trend in recent years, one that has altered the face of psychology, has been the merger of issues, theories, and methodologies from research on the neural bases of behavior, cognitive psychology, cognitive science, social psychology, and related areas. We have substantial strength in these areas. Funded faculty laboratories investigate the sciences of brain, mind, and behavior from a variety of perspectives. These include studying the neural bases of behavior using animal models, neurocognitive approaches with human participants, behavioral genetics, and the development and testing of computational and mathematical models of underlying processes.
Mental Health. Mental health, broadly defined, is central to psychology. It has long been a focus of interest in this department, with American Psychological Association (APA) accredited programs in both clinical and counseling psychology. Funded and very active research programs in our department investigate processes underlying psychopathology, including development of more effective assessment and intervention strategies, focusing on clinical disorders including schizophrenia, addictive behaviors, personality disorders, and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder. There are also active research programs on societal problems including interpersonal relationships, childhood maltreatment, homelessness, and spousal abuse.
Social, Group, and Cultural Processes. The study of social and group processes is central to psychology, and our department has a long history of basic and applied research in these and related topics. This area has been revolutionized in recent years as a consequence of scientific advances as well as the increased salience of societal issues such as globalization, terrorism, economic disparities, increased awareness of the impact of behavior on health, to name a few. We have expertise and funded research laboratories in social cognition, cross-cultural issues, stereotyping, judgment and decision making, and organizational psychology.