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Research

The UGA Department of Psychology Faculty are involved in innovative and exciting research. The following Research area descriptions provide an informal organization supporting that work. For students (and others) interested in learning about specific PhD programs, please click on the following links:

 

Affective Science

Affective science is the study of affective processes (e.g., emotion, stress, motivation) in the lives of individuals, groups, organizations, and cultures. Faculty in this area use a variety of methods (e.g., fMRI, EEG/ERPs, peripheral psychophysiology, ecological momentary assessment) to study affective processes in normative and clinical populations, as well as workplaces.

 

Cognitive Psychology

Cognitive Psychology is the scientific study of mental processes such as perception, attention, memory, inhibition, perception, language use behavioral flexibility, and problem solving. Cognitive Psychology research in the Department of Psychology includes a diversity of interdisciplinary approaches to the study of cognition, including information processing, perception, attention, cognitive development, decision making, memory, working memory, and cognitive control.  We have extensive expertise in the fields of Cognitive Neuroscience, Neuropsychological and Psycho-educational Assessment, Social Cognition, Judgement and Decision-Making, Development, and Aging.

 

Couple & Family Psychology

Couple and family psychology focuses on understanding and improving couple dynamics, parenting, parent-child relationships, and overall family functioning. It is premised on the assumption that couple and family relationships provide much of the scaffolding for development, resilience, and well-being, as well as psychopathology and illness. Researchers in the Department of Psychology consider a wide range of topics relating to couples and families, including how relationships change, diversity in family forms, parenting behavior, interventions to promote family functioning, work-family connections, relationships and health, families as a source of resilience to discrimination and economic hardship, and translation to prevention.

 

Developmental Psychology

Developmental Psychology is the scientific study of how and why human beings change over the course of their life. Originally concerned with infants and children, the field has expanded to include adolescence, adult development, aging, and the entire lifespan. Developmental Psychology research in the Department of Psychology offers opportunities to train scientists to address questions of both basic and applied research from a developmental perspective, with enough flexibility to allow for specialized research concentrations (in areas ranging from infant attention to health to vision science to neuroscience to family relationships to aging). Faculty and students often engage in interdisciplinary research. We are fortunate to have colleagues in other departments and research centers on campus who offer collaborative research opportunities that may intersect with our students’ interests and training goals. Many of our Developmental students have conducted research collaborations with faculty in the Departments of Educational Psychology, School Psychology, Kinesiology, Human Development and Family Science, Foods and Nutrition, or faculty affiliated with the Center for Family Research.

 

Health Psychology

Health Psychology is the study of psychological and behavioral processes in health, illness, and healthcare. It is concerned with understanding how psychological, behavioral, and cultural factors contribute to physical health and illness. Psychological factors can affect health directly. Health Psychology research in the Department of Psychology offers opportunities for interdisciplinary research in both theory and methods focused on physical health across the lifespan. Our faculty have expertise in health behaviors (e.g., smoking, diet, physical fitness), clinical indicators of health (e.g., blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, cardiometabolic risk), occupational health (e.g., employee health and well-being, sleep, psychophysiological stress) and immunologic processes. In addition, students can take advantage of training opportunities across campus, including options for research in Public Health, Human Development and Family Science, Sociology, and Foods and Nutrition.

 

Neuroscience

Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system. It combines physiology, anatomy, molecular biology, developmental biology, cytology, mathematical modeling, and psychology to understand the fundamental and emergent properties of neurons and neural circuits. In the context of psychology, neuroscience is an approach to studying the brain using techniques such as cognitive assessment, neuroimaging, psychophysiology, neuropsychopharmacology ...  Therefore, it is often combined with research content areas to describe several fields of research, such as cognitive, affective, behavioral, developmental, health and clinical neuroscience. The research of our faculty is strongly represented in each of these areas. Neuroscience research in the Department of Psychology includes diverse interdisciplinary approaches to the study of the biological basis of mental phenomena and clinical disorders. Topics of research range from microscopic neurochemical processes to the functional organization of large-scale cerebral systems. We have extensive expertise in the fields of Behavioral Neuroscience, Clinical Neuroscience, Cognitive Neuroscience and Social / Affective Neuroscience.

 

Quantitative and Computational Methods

The Psychology Department offers expertise in Quantitative and Computational Methods. The Quantitative and Computational Methods area focuses on innovating new experimental designs, methodologies, and statistical analyses for the purposes of studying complex human behavior. There is a growing need in today’s workforce for graduates who have strong quantitative and computational skills and our faculty are dedicated to providing formal and informal training to make our graduates competitive for jobs in academic, medical, governmental, and industry sectors. Faculty affiliates in the Quantitative and Computational Method’s area have expertise in a number of topics such as: psychometrics, item response theory, multilevel modeling, structural equation modeling, nonlinear time series analysis, computational modeling, dynamical systems theory, network analysis, and agent-based modeling. 

 

Psychopathology

Psychopathology is the study of abnormal cognitions, behavior and experiences. It can be broadly separated into descriptive and explanatory. Descriptive psychopathology involves categorizing, defining and understanding symptoms as reported by people and observed through their behavior.

 

Sensation Psychology

Sensation is an area of study that is based on facts and theories from a wide array of sources such as anatomy and physiology, physics and optics, cognitive neuroscience and psychology, and biochemistry and genetics. The study of sensation and perception is the oldest sub-discipline within Psychology and the visual system is one of the best worked out neurological systems in the body. Nonetheless, Sensation remains a dynamic and growing area of interdisciplinary study. Sensation research within the Department of Psychology encompasses this breadth and focus with faculty that concentrate on the sensory, perceptual, and cognitive aspects of the field. 

 

Social & Personality Psychology

Social psychology is the scientific study of how people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others. The complementary area of personality psychology examines individual differences in people’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Together, personality and social psychology examine how social contexts and individual differences shape human thoughts and behavior. Social and Personality Psychology research in the Department of Psychology provides an opportunity to train scientists to understand the twin forces of the environment and individual in shaping thoughts, feelings and behaviors. UGA's department has significant strength in the study of the self, narcissism, decision-making, culture, relationships, emotion, intergroup attitudes and biases, and personality processes. Researchers in this area use a variety of methods including experiments, longitudinal and cross-sectional surveys, neuroscience, and big data approaches to understand their questions of interest.

 

Workplace Psychology

Workplace psychology refers to the practice of applying psychological principles and practices to a work environment. The goal is to identify and solve problems, increase employee satisfaction, and improve workplace dynamics.

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