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What is a research psychologist?

Research Psychologists, also known as experimental psychologists, study the behavior of both humans and animals. They change variables within a laboratory setting to study how a person or animal reacts to or behaves in certain situations. These are the researchers studying the effects of variables on animals, such as mice, rats and monkeys.

Major areas of study include learning and memory, attention, motivation, effects of substance abuse, and genetic factors affecting behavior. They typically work in universities and private research centers for businesses, non-profit organizations and governmental agencies. There are even research psychologists employed in engineering firms, manufacturing settings and zoos!

What are the responsibilities of a research psychologist?

Research Psychology focuses on expanding understanding of how and why people think, feel, and behave. They use scientific methods as well as experimental techniques to examine basic human behavior and complex social relationships. They also examine how short- and long-term memory works, neurological foundations of addictions, emotional gratifications of specific actions, and all other aspects of human and animal behavior.

Research Psychology starts with the selection of a topic of study, such as prejudice, personal perception, social constructs such as control or cults, nonverbal communication and many other specific topics. They collect information through observation, surveys, and interviews and administer personality, aptitude or intelligence tests.

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Where do Research Psychologists Work?

Research Psychologists work in varied settings. They commonly work in an academic setting, but also work in laboratories and do field work. They work at universities, for private research organizations, and for governments. Some work independently while many work collaboratively with national or global teams.

Research Psychologists work for the military studying post traumatic stress disorder, depression and other issues affecting deployed servicemen and women. They perform medical, alcohol and drug use research; evaluate nutritional issues such as anorexia and other eating disorders, and research the cause and effect of specific human behavior.

What skills are required to get a psychology research job?

Research Psychologists require strong analytical skills. They must be able to work with raw data and numbers and be willing and able to delineate abstract information to draw logical conclusions about relevance. They need keen observation skills and strong judgement and decision-making skills. They should possess critical thinking skills and have proficiency evaluating programs, statistics and research design. Research Psychologists should hone their cognitive skills, being able to use strong perception and reasoning abilities. They must learn the ability of objectivity in order to dispassionately document data and findings.

How Much Money Can You Make in Research Psychology?

Research Psychologists currently earn a median salary of $73,000. That salary varies widely by industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that jobs in the category of “all other,” which includes Research Psychology, will increase more than 10% from now through 2022. Research Psychologists working in education services earn $90,000 annually and those who work for the military earn $80,000 per year. Those who work at hospitals earn $84,000 each year while those working in pharmaceuticals earn $90,000 annually. Research Psychologists working as market analysts earn $61,000 and those who specialize in experimental psychology earn an annual salary of $69,000.

For more detailed insights visit our research psychologist salary guide.

Latest Research Psychologist Jobs Listings

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Position Company Location Posted
Postdoctoral Fellow - Department of Psychology, Interdisciplinary Research Team Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, Virginia 03/11/2023
Position Responsibilities: We are searching for a Postdoctoral Fellow to collaborate with an interdisciplinary (Clinical Psychology; Special Education; Developmental Psychology) research team that is conducting implementation research. Primary responsibilities for this position will be associated with projects funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) and National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The first study is focused on the development of a pragmatic treatment ... More
Professor and Psychology Department Chair Virginia Tech Blacksburg, Virginia 03/10/2023
Job DescriptionThis is a full-time, 12-month, tenure-track position. The Department of Psychology combines an international reputation for excellence in research with a substantial teaching mission. It is one of 10 academic units in the College of Science (Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Economics, Geosciences, Mathematics, Physics, Psychology, Statistics, School of Neuroscience, and Academy of Integrated Science).The Department currently includes 25 tenure/tenure ... More
Research Assistant- Chiu/King-Casas Labs Virginia Tech Roanoke, Virginia 03/09/2023
Job DescriptionA full-time research assistant is being sought to support multiple NIH-funded projects in the labs of Dr. Pearl Chiu (lab information) and Dr. Brooks King-Casas (lab information) at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at Virginia Tech Carilion in Roanoke, Virginia. Projects in the labs are highly interdisciplinary and combine methods from experimental and clinical psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral economics with functional neuroimaging and ... More
Assistant Professor of Experimental Psychology University of Texas Permian Basin Odessa, Texas 03/08/2023
Assistant Professor of Experimental PsychologyHiring Department The University of Texas Permian Basin's Department of Psychology welcomes applications for the open area tenure-track position of Assistant Professor of Experimental Psychology who conducts EEG research. Those with interest in mental health research are especially encouraged to apply. The anticipated start date is August 2023. Review will occur on a rolling basis but applications ... More
UX Designer, Vice President - KYC JPMorgan Chase New York, New York 03/04/2023
As a User Experience Lead, you'll use client-centric design methods to conceptualize, model, and design innovative experiences. You'll work in close collaboration with business and technology partners to deliver world-class digital experiences. Responsibilities Drive a user-centric design approach with rapid testing and iterative prototyping for complex highly functional business applications Both formally or informally uncover user needs and contexts ... More
Assistant Professor, Psychology of Aging Florida Gulf Coast University Fort Myers, Florida 02/24/2023
Assistant Professor, Psychology of AgingJob SummaryThe Shady Rest Institute on Positive Aging within the Marieb College of Health & Human Services at Florida Gulf Coast University invites applications for an Associate/Full Professor (non-tenure track) position in the area of aging/gerontology. Examples of areas of specialization may include but are not limited to: positive aging, caregiving and families, intergenerational relationships, chronic ... More
Research Technologist 2 Northwestern University Chicago, Illinois 02/22/2023
Department: MED-Psych & Behavioral ScienceSalary/Grade: NEX/11Job Summary:Conducts experimental research lab work and/or assists in design of one or more specific phase(s) of entire project(s). May complete mathematical calculations, and/or computer tasks and/or assist in judging validity of data. Follows appropriate protocols, policies, procedures, regulations, Good Clinical and Good Laboratory Practices.Specific Responsibilities: ... More
Clinical Research Project Manager Northwestern University Chicago, Illinois 02/22/2023
Department: MED-Mesulam Ctr Cog Neur & AlzSalary/Grade: EXS/7Job Summary:Manages all activities associated with biomedical &/or social-behavioral research studies considered very complex by the inclusion of several of the following: multiple investigators, teams, sites, sub-contracts, participants, longitudinal assessments/ interventions; &/or multi-million dollar budgets. Ensures completion of contract requirements & client specifications. Oversees ... More
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