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What is Psychology? 

When most people think about Psychology, they tend to imagine someone lying on a leather couch, talking with a professional counselor. Counseling, a.k.a, Psychotherapy, is an important part of what some psychologists do. However, they represent just a small part of what Psychological Sciences are all about.

If you’ve ever wondered, “Why do people do the things they do?” then you’ve touched on the basis of the field of Psychology. Psychological Science is the scientific study of the mind and behavior. Psychological researchers use rigorous research methods to carefully test and document factors that influence behavior. 

Psychology is considered a “hub science” because of its strong connections to diverse fields, including medical sciences (e.g., biology and neuroscience), public health (e.g., epidemiology), social sciences (e.g., economics and political science), and education.

Faculty in the Department of Psychological Sciences at Mizzou are actively engaged in teaching and research aimed at addressing questions about a wide range of behaviors and mental processes, such as: 

  • How does memory work? 
  • Why do some people become addicted to drugs and alcohol? 
  • How do adolescents’ relationships affect their mental health? 
  • What is the genetic basis of psychopathology? 
  • What makes life meaningful? 
  • How do people make decisions? 
  • What are the most appropriate ways to analyze research data? 


Ken Sher
Festschrift Honoring Ken Sher

On Friday, Sept. 8, the Department of Psychological Sciences hosted a Festschrift — an academic day of presentations — honoring Chancellor's Professor and Curators' Distinguished Professor Emeritus Ken Sher. Peers, students and mentees celebrated Ken's long and productive career and his contributions to the study of alcohol dependence. 


Based upon their research interests, Mizzou Psychological Sciences faculty are affiliated with one (or more) of the following research areas or training programs. Each one focuses on different psychological research questions.


The Social/Personality training area at the University of Missouri represents a unique and vibrant collection of active scholars. This energetic community provides the basis for collaborative endeavors among faculty and students, with the goal of making groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of human behavior.

The PhD program in clinical psychology is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of American Psychological Association and by the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System, and is a member of the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science.

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The program in Developmental Psychology began in 1999 and currently has 6 core-faculty representing research interests in cognitive development and social development, as well as emphasis in infancy through emerging adulthood. At this time, the program is directed by Dr. Nicole Campione-Barr.

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Research in the C&N area is diverse spanning memory, perception, action, cognition, animal learning, decision making, reward systems, addiction, and aging. Our researchers engage in a wide variety of experimental approaches.

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The goal of the graduate program in Quantitative Psychology is to produce researchers able to develop, evaluate, and apply advanced methodological techniques to psychological research questions.

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