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What is Psychology?

Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. The discipline embraces all aspects of the human experience – from the functions of the brain to the actions of neurons, from child development to care for the aged. In every conceivable setting from scientific research centers to mental health care services, “the understanding of behavior” is the enterprise of psychologists.

Is Psychology a Science?

Yes. Psychology is sometimes considered a natural science and sometimes a social science. Psychological scientists form hypotheses, collect data, and test hypotheses through experiments, quasi-experiments, and correlational studies. There are many areas of psychology, such as clinical, cognitive, developmental, and affective, that can be studied through a neuroscientific, biological, or behavioral lens. Psychology also includes the scientific study of what therapies work to help those who are experiencing struggles related to thoughts, emotions, memories, learning, and relating to others and how to effectively apply these therapies. If you are interested in neuroscience, emotions, thoughts, memories, learning, social interactions, beliefs, cognitive development, psychological disorders, or therapy, psychology is for you!

Why Study Psychology?

An undergraduate major in psychology offers a student preparation for a wide variety of careers. Many majors find psychology to be an excellent preparation for such service-oriented professions as social work, counseling and guidance, special education, and management. Those who pursue graduate work in one of the many fields of psychology often seek positions in teaching and research or applied human services. In addition, the study of psychology provides a knowledge and an understanding of behavior that has applications in other professions as well, including nursing, medicine, law, teaching, business, and public relations.

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Undergraduate Psychology News and Highlights

Sandra Russ edits new book with contributors from the College and alumni co-editor

Sandra Russ, Distinguished University Professor and Louis D. Beaumont University Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences, is the senior editor of the recently published Cambridge Handbook of Lifespan Development of Creativity. One of the co-editors, Jessica Hoffmann, was once her graduate student. Along with Russ, two other College...

Amy Przeworski receives NEA grant as extension of her EHI award

Amy Przeworski, associate professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences, received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for a project she developed in collaboration with Christopher Bohan, instructor in the Department of Theater. The project, which received seed funding from the college’s Expanding Horizons Initiative, will...

10 science-backed strategies to lose weight while maintaining your muscle gains

Shape: Julie Exline, professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences, explained how women may eat more to please others, and how to stand up to such pressure when in a group of friends. Generally speaking, “women score slightly higher than men on people-pleasing measures,” she said. Read the full article...

Spartan Showcase: Judith Cusack

Majors: History, sociology, psychology Minor: Social justice After her first year of high school, Judith Cusack took a criminology course at a community college that set her sights on the legal field. Now, she’s triple majoring in history, sociology and psychology at Case Western Reserve. She’s accomplished an incredible amount throughout her...

Life is Better with You Here campaign – Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation

The Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation is partnering with Canvaas Consulting to reach Black/African American young men and teens struggling with their mental health, and to help start the conversation about preventing suicide. Life is Better With You Here aims to share helpful resources and stories at WithYouHere.org. The campaign...

Case Western Reserve University named best college in Ohio in new study

WalletHub named Case Western Reserve as the top college or university in Ohio for the third year in a row. Kenyon College was No. 2, followed by Oberlin College. For the third straight year, Cleveland's Case Western Reserve University has topped the list of the best colleges and universities in...

The changing landscape of youth suicide and suicidal behavior: An examination of racial differences and risk factors

2021-2022 Kessler-Freedheim Lecture Presented in person & via Zoom webinar Featuring Dr. Arielle Sheftall Suicide Prevention & Research Center Nationwide Children's Hospital WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2021 11:30 A.M. - 1:00 P.M. FREE & OPEN TO THE COMMUNITY Youth suicide and suicidal behavior have increased over the past decade and suicide is still the second leading cause of...

What is passive suicidal ideation?

Refinery 29: James Overholser, a professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences at the College of Arts and Sciences, discussed passive suicidal ideation, which is characterised by thinking about dying or a desire to be dead, without actively making a specific plan to carry out those thoughts. “A combination...

Grover C. Gilmore retires after 20 years as Mandel School dean and 46 years at CWRU

When Grover “Cleve” Gilmore agreed to lead the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences in 2002, his appointment was intended to last only a year. Now, after a 20-year tenure as dean of the highly ranked social work school, he will retire June 30. Gilmore’s leadership...