Applied psychology

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The basic premise of applied psychology is the use of psychological principles and theories to overcome practical problems in other fields, such as business management, product design, ergonomics, nutrition, law and clinical medicine. Applied psychology includes the areas of industrial/organizational psychology, human factors, forensic psychology, engineering psychology, as well as many other areas.


The legend and founder of applied psychology was Hugo Munsterberg. The German man came to America originally studying philosophy similar to most aspiring psychologists during the late 1800’s. Munsterberg had many interests in the field of psychology such as, purposive psychology, social psychology and forensic psychology. In 1907 he wrote several magazine articles concerning legal aspects of testimony, confessions and courtroom procedures, which eventually developed into his book, On the Witness Stand. The following year the Division of Applied Psychology was adjoined to the Harvard Psychological Laboratory. Within 9 years he had contributed eight books in English, applying psychology to education, industrial efficiency, business and teaching. Eventually Hugo Munsterberg and his contributions would define him as the creator of Applied Psychology.

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[edit] Industrial and organizational

Industrial and organizational psychology focuses to varying degrees on the psychology of the workforce, customer, and consumer, including issues such as the psychology of recruitment, selecting employees from an applicant pool which overall includes training, performance appraisal, job satisfaction, work behavior, stress at work and management.

Career counseling is another aspect of counseling closely related to Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Counselors in this field assist clients in a variety of settings ranging from schools to vocational to organization sites to name a few. One of the main goals of the profession is to help clients realize their talents and dreams in response to a career and help them create successful job skills to then apply to their career search. Many times career counselors act as consultants to companies, other times they work as a team in academic and career counseling capacities, and other times they work for a social service agency specifically working with people who need assistance in the job search process.

Generally a master’s degree is needed to get into the field. As there are not many career counseling master’s programs, many enter the field with a degree in mental health counseling or community counseling. If you are looking for a degree directly in career counseling, the western part of the country is more progressive than the east and offers more programs. Since many of the programs in another type of counseling only offer one class in career counseling or development, the Career Development Facilitator training is available for professionals. It’s generally a 100-120 hour class that can be taught the majority through e-learning or the traditional classroom setting. The great benefit of the CDF training is that you then hold the credential, which may help you stand out as a professional against your peers who do not hold the credential.

Since jobs are such defining experiences for people, having the ability to gain helpful insight, tips, and encouragement from career counselors is a definite benefit. The career counseling field can only increase in popularity as people on average change jobs every ten years, instead of 30 years ago where many people stayed with the same company the majority of their working career.

[edit] Forensic psychology and legal psychology

Forensic psychology and legal psychology are the area concerned with the application of psychological methods and principles to legal questions and issues. Most typically, forensic psychology this involves a clinical analysis of a particular individual and an assessment of some specific psycho-legal question. Legal psychology refers to any application of psychological principles, methods or understanding to legal questions or issues. In addition to the applied practices, legal psychology also includes academic or empirical research on topics involving the relationship of law to human mental processes and behavior.

The use of forensic psychology dates back to the late 1800’s when two physicians were investigating the crime scene of Jack the Ripper. These doctors were concerned with his personality characteristics and used clues to get into the mind of the murderer. A decade later a system known as profiling became the known name for this type of investigation. The “Son of Sam” was researched by an agent who used other killer’s profiles to determine where these acts were coming from. Questions concerning family, education, background and behavior were derived from the forensic profiling. This is another form of psychology and a way for FBI agents to prevent murders or find criminals. With this psychological research we are able to divide murders into two forms; disorganized, meaning the offender does not plan or premeditated, where the offender does plan. Personality plays a big role in figuring out the minds of mass murderers.

[edit] Human factors

Human factors is the study of how cognitive and psychological processes affect our interaction with tools and objects in the environment. The goal of research in human factors is to understand the limitations and biases of human mental processes and behavior.

[edit] Additional areas

[edit] See also

ar:علم النفس التطبيقي

de:Angewandte Psychologie pl:Psychologia stosowana ru:Прикладная психология


Applied psychology

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