Welcome to the Department of Psychology
Psychology is the study of how the mind – instantiated in the brain – enables organisms to navigate a highly complex social environment. In the case of humans, it examines the nature of the cognitive, emotional, and motivational processes that allow them to anticipate and react to the opportunities afforded by the world in which they live -- a world of social structures, other minds, cultural influences, and normative pressures. Major areas of psychology further investigate how these mental processes develop and change across the lifespan, as well as the physiology that give rise to them.
To investigate these issues, the field of psychology ranges from the study of neuro-chemical activity in the brain, to the study of perceptual systems, attention, language, memory, learning, individual identity, goal pursuit, attitudes, and decision making, to cultural influences and group memberships that give rise to conformity with norms, prejudice, morality, relationships, shared meaning, and prosocial behavior.
Psychology is a scientific discipline that accumulates knowledge in these domains through controlled experimentation, field studies, and the study of patient populations. As such, it employs a complex set of methods and techniques including physiological recordings, neuroimaging, reaction time analyses, behavioral observation, surveys, narrative analysis, and computational modeling, to name a few.
Psychology is often described as a “hub” discipline because it stands at a crossroads of many disciplines and facilitates traffic between the natural sciences, the social sciences, the humanities, education, and policy.
Lehigh psychology is positioned to serve as such a hub. For this reason our major has traditionally been among the most popular at Lehigh. It provides links to HMS, Global Studies, Biology, Cogntive Science, WGSS, Marketing, Management, Philosophy, Behavioral Neuroscience, Education, Sociology, and Economics. Our faculty examine issues including the role of narrative in development and education, prejudice, morality, identity, influences of peers, aging, prosocial acts, memory, stress, language, categorization, trust, decision making, motivated reasoning, persuasion, infant reasoning, parent-child attachment, goal pursuit, socio-emotional competence, the nature of the unconscious, dissent, and issues of executive control and free will. They do basic research in lab and field settings that apply to policy issues in health and health disparity, management, global relations, education, law (e.g., blame, intent, compassion, the bias-inequality link, etc.), criminal justice, and financial decision making.
Check out the Psychology Department spring 2015 course offerings, here.
Professor Dominic Packer has a new blog at Psychology Today - It's a Group Life - focused on the psychology of influence and social change.