Experimental psychology refers to the branch of that science that is concerned with applying the scientific method in order to study human behavior and the mind. Research on human and animal subjects is conducted in order to study memory, cognition, learning and other areas. First developed in the 19th century by German psychologist Wilhelm Wundt, experimental psychology found great acceptance in 20th century America. Paper Masters can compose a custom written research paper on Experimental Psychology that follows your guidelines.
While there are several areas of study that can be included in the field of experimental psychology, there are six areas that are typically considered as the basic subject matter. These include:
- Human learning
While it might be argued that all of psychology is experimental psychology, others would disagree. According to the Society of Social Experimental Psychology, much of psychology refers to the practice of therapy and counseling and has little to do with laboratory environments. Some would even recommend that the elements of psychology that have little to do with science should be separated into another area.
Experimental Psychology and Skinner
In the field of psychology in America during the 20th century, behaviorism, a school of psychology best known from the work of B.F. Skinner, emerged as the dominant branch. Psychological experiments are designed using the scientific method, where hypothesis are tested using dependent and independent variables.
There are three major types of experiments in psychology. Causal research involves exploring cause and effect, in which one or more variables have an impact on potential outcomes. Descriptive research involves studying the current conditions of an individual or group. Polling, for example, is an example of descriptive research. Relational research seeks to understand the connection between different variables.
Experimental Psychology and Pavlov
One of the most famous examples of experimental psychology is the behavior experiment conducted by Ivan Pavlov. Pavlov famously rang a bell when feeding dogs, eventually spurring the dogs to salivate when the bell was rung in anticipation of receiving food.
As the wealth of information regarding cognition has grown, experimental psychologists now are exploring the physiological connection. This involves the study of cognitive neuropsychology. Such data collection has only been possible with the advancements in technology that allows researchers to view the brain in a number of ways. Neuroanatomy can be examined to determine changes in the nervous system as a result of learning or other kinds of experiences. Additionally, neuroimaging enables researchers to actually view the physiological changes that occur while an individual is the process of any mental activity. Much of this research has enabled psychologists to better understand how the brain operates.