A. Experimental Psychology "Experimental" techniques refer to a particular method of collecting information, rather than to a specific subject matter. Almost any subject matter in psychology -- development, group behaviour, or personality, for example -- could be studied experimentally. However, over the decades the description "experimental psychology" has come to connote primarily the subject matter of basic psychological processes : learning, memory, sensation, perception, cognition, motivation and emotion.
1. Physiological psychology
Physiological psychologists study the biological bases of behavior, usually concentrating on the nervous system(the brain and other nervous tissue) and the biochemical processes underlying behaviour.
2. Comparative psychology
Comparative psychologists study physioloical effects on behaviour by specifically studying nonhumans, in an effort to make comparisons between nonhumans and humans.
3. Cognitive psychology
Cognitive psychologists study the so-called "higher" mental processes -- thinking, feeling, learning, remembering, and problem-solving -- as distinguished from the somewhat "lower" mental processes involved in awareness, sensation, and perception. Cognitive psychology is not only a field of study, it is a perspective on what "belongs" in psychology. Cognitive psychologists maintain that although internal psychological processes are not directly observable like behaviours, they are indirectly accessible to study, and so are a proper focus for scientific psychology. In this they are in opposition to behaviorists.
4. Developmental psychology
Developmental psychologists study in the changes in psychological function as an organism grows and ages. Developmental psychology adopts a life span perspective, focusing on the influences on behaviour and mental processes of changes that occur from conception and birth, through infancy and childhood, to adolescence, adulthood, old age and death.
5. Personality psychology
Personality psychologists specialize in the study of individual differences, how and why individuals differ from one another. Personality psychologists also work to develop techniques for assessing personality characterisitcs among different individuals.
6. Social psychology
Social psychology is the study of how the individual interacts with the social environment. Social psychologists examine social cognition or thinking (including attitudes and impression formation), social influence(such as persusasion and peer pressure), and social relationships(including aggression, helping, intimate relationships, and group dynamics). In contrast to personality psychologists, who look at the power of individual personality or disposition, social psychologists study the effects of situational influences on individuals in certain places, conditions and times.
B. Applied Psychology Experimental psychologists are strongly motivated by their interest or curiosity in psychological processes. In contrast, applied psychologists use psychological knowlege and techniques to solve problems, such as finding better ways to teach or learn, correct disordered behaviour or improve people's health and productivity.
1. Educational psychology
Educational psychologists are experts in the processes of teaching and learning, and conduct applied(practical) research to identify questions and answers in these processes.
2. School psychology
School psychologists provide advice and guidance within schools and school systems, concentrating on the needs of the student within the educational environment.
3. Counselling psychology
Counselling psychologists provide guidance and therapy to normal individuals with adjustment problems.
4. Clinical psychology
Clinical psychologists diagnose and treat the more severe problems of "clinical" populations, individuals who need in-patient care in institutions like hospitals or regular out-patient therapy through mental health clinics.
5. Industrial and Organizational psychology
Industrial psychologists work within industrial or employment settings to study and improve the relationship between workers and their jobs and workplace. Organizational psychologists more specifically study the relationship between the employee and his or her employing organization, focusing on group dynamics, leadership, management, and communication. Many professional psychologists have developed expertise in both these fields, and are known as industrial-organizational or "I-O" psychologists.
6. Engineering psychology
After World War II, engineering psycholgy developed as a special application of psychology to the relationship between human workers or equipment operators -- like airplane pilots -- and the machines and equipment they operate. Engineering psycholgy is also called human factors psychology because it focuses on the human factor in the person-machine relationship, and is sometimes called ergonomics(from the Greek ergo for "work") because of its applications to work environments. Engineering psychologists' contributions range from training programs so that people can operate equipment more effectively to designing easy-to-read, mistake-proof control panels and signs.
7. Health psychology
In recent years the distinct field of health psychology has emerged as a special focus on the psychological processes involved in wellness and illness, both physical and psychogenic (originating in the mind).