For this Forum, in your Initial Post you will share with your classmates your observations from your research on Developmental and Personality Psychology as subspecialties and career options.  post a 300 word minimum length “Initial Post” in response to the topic requirements 

Please be sure to address BOTH subspecialties in your response to each question.  Points will be deducted if both subspecialties are not clearly and separately addressed for each question.

 1) After researching these areas, do you find them to be career possibilities you are interested in or careers that don’t capture your interest?  Why or why not?

 2) What is at least one interesting thing you learned about each of the two subspecialties that you did not previously know? 

 3) Describe a “real-world” application for each of the two subspecialties.  How could knowledge gained through the pursuit of each subspecialty help us to understand everyday problems, dilemmas, or situations?  Note:  your answer does not have to be specific to psychology as a field.  Think broadly; psychological principles can apply to many different fields.

READING

  • WEEK 2
    Lesson
  • Lesson

Welcome to week two of Professional Careers and Education in Psychology.  This week we will be considering 3 fields that look deeply into the concept of “nature versus nurture”. Breakthroughs in technology have increased scientific knowledge in the biological sciences, such as in DNA research, cloning, and stem cell research, help psychological clinicians diagnose and treat patients/clients. Our discussions this week will focus on Biopsychology, Cognitive Neuropsychology, and Clinical Neuropsychology.

Biopsychology is also referred to as physiological psychology, behavioral neuroscience, and psychobiology. Biopsychology combines different areas of neuroscience with psychology to explain the bases of behavior. Some of the areas of neuroscience integrated with psychology is neuroanatomy, neurochemistry, and neuropharmacology. A biopsychologist focused on neuropharmacology would be interested in how drugs impact neural activities.

Another area of interest to biopsychologists is what behaviors result from genetics and social influences. They may also research the influence of hormones and other chemicals impact on behavior. The majority of biopsychologists are researchers and educators, employed by universities, the government, research institutes, and pharmaceutical companies.

Review the YouTube video, “What is Biopsychology with Dr. Laurence Nolan?” www.bing.com/video/search?q=Youtube%2c+whatis+biopsychology&adlt=st

Cognitive neuropsychology is a branch of cognitive psychology. The objective is to understand cognition, from the perspective of the brain. Cognitive neuropsychologists study the brain to understand the neural functions responsible for thinking, memory, attention, and language. Technology has enabled Cognitive Neuropsychologists to observe what occurs in the brain with different functions, such as when someone works a math problem or what areas of the brain are responsible for language, short-term memory, or making decisions. Cognitive Neuropsychology is predominantly research oriented and the clinicians are found in mostly research or educational settings.

Clinical Neuropsychology is the application of biopsychology, within clinical and counseling contexts. Assessments and interventions based on the study of human behavior in relationship to the central nervous system is an integral aspect of Clinical Neuropsychology. Their assessments assist doctors to understand how and why the brain malfunctions, along with identifying the associated behaviors. The more doctors understand about neurological malfunctions, they are more equipped to treat and prevent the malfunctions.

An especially significant task of Clinical Neuropsychologists is developing interventions and treatment strategies to assist clients/patients to make adaptations/changes to regain functioning capabilities for independent living and the optimal quality of life. Employment setting opportunities are similar to other psychologists, in that Clinical Neuropsychologists work in medical facilities, clinics, private practice, education, and the government.

A study completed by the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology, in 2011, stated the median salary of neuropsychologists was $94,100, in the United States (http://www.theaacn.org/). The range for starting salaries was $77,500 to $80,700. The more experienced clinicians had much higher salaries. Clinical Neuropsychologists with 11 or more years had a median salary of $130,000; whereas those with 25 years or more had a median salary of $185,000.

Although the majority of lucrative career opportunities in biopsychology and neuropsychology require graduate degrees, there are jobs, which only require a bachelor’s degree. We will discuss several of the jobs available to students with only an undergraduate degree. A few of the career options are science technician, psychiatric technician, and clinical laboratory technician.  Students are afforded the opportunity to integrate their knowledge of psychology, with their knowledge and interest in biopsychology. More importantly, many entry-level positions provide “realistic” insight into clinical careers. As a result, an individual can decide if they want to pursue more education, by obtaining a graduate degree.

Science technicians work consists primarily conducting laboratory research. In assisting and conducting research, they are able to combine the principles of science, along with mathematics, to facilitate solving problems in research and development. They work very closely with the researchers and scientists. Their responsibilities include maintaining the laboratory, the operation and maintenance of the equipment, experiment monitors, recording data and observations. Many fields require different kinds of technicians and professional titles are assigned based on the specific field, such as agricultural technician or forensic science technician.

The job opportunities for science technicians are robust and steady through 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010. The median salary for biological technicians, in 2008, working in government settings was $39,538 and physical science technicians in government settings earned a median salary of $55,527 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010).

The work of a psychiatric technician is dynamic and varied. Their responsibilities are helping the psychiatrist or other mental health clinicians care for mentally ill and emotionally challenged patients/clients. Some of their specific responsibilities include the following: following the clinician’s and hospital/facility’s processes; observing and documenting the patient/client’s emotional and physical status; keeping the clinical staff updated; providing therapeutic services, and medication administration. When compared with the salary ranges for other healthcare professionals, psychiatric technicians are not compensated, as well. An entry-level psychiatric technician salary is around $27, 865 (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Students with interests in biopsychology can work in clinical laboratories, as clinical laboratory technicians of clinical laboratory technologists. Their main job function is analyzing physical samples of patients. The work they do result in detecting, diagnosing, and treating diseases. The salary range for clinical laboratory technicians is $53, 500 yearly, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010.

To access summary information about Neurological and Biological psychology, two closely related sub-specialties with the field of psychology, and the study of Perception, click on these links:

http://careersinpsychology.org/becoming-a-neuropsychologist/

https://work.chron.com/physiological-psychologist-do-7753.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HIj78ckAK4

Brain science and cognitive psychology focuses on how individuals learn, process and store information.

All About Brain Science and Cognition

When you meet new people, why do you remember some names but not others? This is an example of a question that psychologists working in brain science and cognition seek to answer through their research.

These psychologists spend most of their time studying human thought processes and the capacity for understanding, interpreting and retaining information. They may choose to work in one particular specialty, such as memory or learning disabilities, or they may focus their career on a specific health issue or population.

Psychologists working in this field apply psychological science to address a wide variety of issues that affect a spectrum of populations. They work with infants and toddlers to address behavioral problems and developmental disorders. They work with adults to address memory disorders, substance use and health-related problems. Others study the brain’s capacity to do tasks, handle multiple demands or recover from injury.

In their work, many of these psychologists will drill down into intricacies such as how music therapy can help heal degenerative brain disorders or how quickly humans can learn a new language. Some study how the brain interprets smells. Others are working to decode the human brain.

What You Can Do

Most psychologists working in brain science and cognition spend their careers in a university setting where they teach or conduct research or both. However, there has been significant growth in other areas, such as human-computer interaction, software development and organizational psychology. This growth has opened new job opportunities in the private sector.

Cognitive psychologists can also work in clinical settings to help treat issues related to human mental processes, including Alzheimer’s disease, speech issues, memory loss, and sensory or perception difficulties. These psychologists will often work in government and private research centers and treatment facilities, such as hospitals and mental health clinics, and as consultants or expert witnesses for court cases. Private practice is also an option for psychologists working in this field.

Making It Happen

While there are some entry-level opportunities available to those with a bachelor’s degree, most careers in brain science and cognitive psychology begin with a master’s or doctoral degree.

For psychologists with a master’s degree, career options exist in human performance research, such as testing how well a person who has not slept for many hours can remember a short story. They may also work in industrial and organizational psychology, and some with master’s degrees may be hired for certain teaching positions. Most of the work of master’s level professionals will be supervised by a doctoral level psychologist.

Most psychologists with doctoral degrees in brain science and cognition teach and conduct research in academia.

What You Can Earn

The earnings for psychologists working in brain science and cognition vary based on degree, position and experience. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, brain science and cognitive psychologists working as industrial and organizational psychologists earned more than $114,040 a year on average with a median annual salary of $87,330 in 2010. The American Psychological Association found that median annual salaries for brain science and cognitive psychologists employed at universities averaged $76,090 in 2009.

While demand for brain science and cognitive psychologists has fluctuated, the subfield is on the rise. As technology becomes more advanced and cures to health issues like Alzheimer’s disease continue to be evasive, the demand for psychologists specializing in brain science and cognition is expected to increase.

Helpful Resources

Clinical Neuroscience
APA Division 40 was established to study brain-behavior relationships and the clinical application of that knowledge to human problems.

Clinical Neuroscience is a recognized specialty in professional psychology.

Behavioral and Cognitive Psychology
Behavioral and cognitive psychology uses the principles of human learning and development and theories of cognitive processing to understand how the brain works, rests and recovers.

Behavioral and Cognitive Psychology is a recognized speciality in professional psychology.

Physiological psychologists study the relationship between behavior and biology. They try to understand psychological states in terms of brain chemistry and the nervous system. Physiological psychologists conduct experiments on animals to determine the biological basis of behaviors. They use the data they obtain from these experiments to answer questions about human psychology.

Experimentation

Physiological psychologists are particularly interested in the endocrine system, which controls the hormones that govern or influence both emotions and actions. By studying how animals respond to different stimuli and how changes in the endocrine system or in brain structure affect different aspects of their behavior, they hope to better understand similar processes in human beings. Physiological psychologists attempt to understand the complexity of human psychology by studying the simpler chemical and electrical processes that underlie it.

Controversy

Physiological psychologists justify the practice of animal experimentation by pointing to its possible benefits to human health and quality of life. Experiments conducted on animals by physiological psychologists have led to advances in the understanding of strokes, schizophrenia, anorexia, Parkinson’s disease, manic-depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and other anxiety disorders. Because many of these advances occurred incidentally while conducting unrelated research, physiological psychologists argue that they should be free to conduct animal experiments without restriction.

Employment

Many physiological psychologists work for colleges or universities, where they are expected to both teach and conduct new research. For example, a physiological psychologist at the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Johns Hopkins University discovered that aging rats showed signs of cognitive decay similar to that found in aging humans, but without the expected loss of functioning brain cells. Her research found that some areas of their brains were actually hyperactive, rather than underactive, so she treated them with valproate to reduce activity in that area of the brain. If this treatment proves effective, it may offer a new approach to the treatment of dementia.

Education and Research

Some physiological psychologists work for government or private research laboratories, and some work for pharmaceutical companies. Whether they work for a university or a private employer, physiological psychologists must have a doctorate and usually a few years of post-doctoral work under an established researcher. Physiological psychology is a branch of neuroscience, and physiological psychologists may also be described as psychobiologists, biopsychologists or behavioral neuroscientists. Research in this field is published in academic journals such as the “Journal of Neuroscience” and “Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior.”

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