What Careers are Available With Experimental Psychology Degrees?

What Does Experimental Psychology Focus On?

Experimental psychology is the subfield of psychology that uses scientific methods to collect data regarding psychological and social issues. The data is used to help social scientists learn more about human and animal behavior. Research is conducted using controlled experiments and the results are often presented to outside organizations, published in articles, or used to find solutions to real world problems.

Experimental psychologists are also referred to as research psychologists. These professionals specialize in the study of human behavior and cognition and their research explores thinking, learning, attention, motivation, and other cognitive functions. Experimental psychologists work with humans but also study animals such as rats, monkeys, and pigeons.

Research in this field is generally conducted at private research laboratories, in universities, or within nonprofit or governmental organizations. Careers in experimental psychology can vary but funding for research projects often focus on sensation, neurology, perception, memory, sensory processing, genetics, and the impact of drugs on behavior.

What is the Career Outlook?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not indicate the outlook for Experimental Psychology specifically however, it does indicate that the growth for psychologists overall is projected to grow 6 percent from 2022 to 2032. This is about as fast as the average for all occupations. It is noted that job prospects will likely be best for those who have a doctoral degree in an applied specialty, which includes Experimental Psychology.

What are the Careers in Experimental Psychology?


Conducting research in an applied setting is a popular career option for professionals in the experimental psychology field. Nonprofit organizations and government agencies often hire experimental psychologists to find solutions to real world problems. These professionals observe people in real settings or they conduct research in laboratories to learn more about what factors influence human behavior.

Problems that researchers may focus on include memory loss, the impact of drugs and medication on cognitive functioning, and employee motivation. The research results are then used to develop practical solutions to improve functioning in these areas.

Human Factors Engineer

Human factors engineers look at data to help companies and organizations design better machines, systems, and work environments. By exploring how systems and machines impact productivity, these professionals often help organizations improve individual and small group performance in a variety of settings.

Related: What Jobs Can I Do With a Degree in Psychology?

Human factors engineers collect data regarding human characteristics, capabilities, and limitations which are then applied to the workplace. They identify the methods that work best in the workplace and make recommendations for improvement. The result is often improvement in employee comfort and safety which increases overall productivity.

University or College Faculty

Many experimental psychologists are found in the university setting. In this field of study, university and college Faculty spend the majority of their time teaching classes, organizing studies, and publishing articles. They spend much of their time collecting data and often involve their students in the research process.

In addition, many Faculty are also responsible for obtaining funding for each research study as well as for the recruitment of study participants. University faculty often collaborate with their peers to perform these research studies and they present the results to outside groups, sometimes receiving a lot of recognition for their findings. Experimental psychologists also write up the results of their studies for professional and academic journals.

Aerospace Experimental Psychologist

Aerospace experimental psychologists help the military with the training of armed forces in the most extreme of conditions. These professionals are tasked with gaining an understanding of the impact that intense training has on military personnel and then to make appropriate recommendations for improved performance. Their recommendations are expected to lessen the emotional impact that such intense training has on military personnel.

These professionals focus on developing strategies that will help military personnel demonstrate safe and effective aviation performance. This is often accomplished by evaluating the psychological effects that new aviation systems has on the flight crews so that appropriate adjustments can be made for optimal performance.

Aerospace experimental psychologists are fundamental to effectively training military personnel for missions.

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