Majors and Minors Offered
The Psychological Science Department at Carthage builds on the American Psychological Association’s blueprint for undergraduates by providing a broad exposure to the four core research areas of the field. Students pursue deeper content knowledge and research in the specific areas that interest them.
We emphasize learning and applying the research methodology used in these areas. We also provide students with opportunities for deeper understanding in core areas that they are interested in, which includes both content knowledge and research experience.
Carthage offers a classic psychology program, which means students study the four sub-areas of psychology:
- Developmental — studying behavior across the lifespan
- Cognitive — studying mental processes, typically in humans
- Biological — studying the brain and behavior, often in non-humans
- Social — studying interactions between people
Students focus their research efforts on the areas that most interest them. Students who plan to work in social service can participate in Carthage’s fieldwork program. A quarter of psychology majors add a second major in Social Work. More than half go on to graduate school.
The department emphasizes undergraduate research. Students learn research techniques in classes, experience those techniques in laboratory work, and then become eligible to conduct independent research. Ongoing research projects with human subjects include olfactory and visual perception, and the development and use of humor and irony in children and young adults as well as research projects with animals in the neurosciences.
Current research includes:
- The psychological basis of magic and illusion
- Handwritten word perception
- Attentional fluctuations over time
- Odor memory and odor perception in pregnancy
- Development of humor over the lifespan
- Quantitative literacy in college students
- Personality and selection of undergraduate major
- Prosocial behavior in peer relationships
- Visual search and attention
- Human eye movements
As a senior you can pursue field placements, putting what you learned in the classroom to practice. Special programs, such as the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience, give students further opportunities. In SURE, students work one on one with a faculty mentor.