Within the field of psychology there are various subfields and specialties such as clinical psychology, school psychology and sports psychology amongst many, many others.
Experimental psychology is also an important part of psychology, but it is a little different in that it’s not really a specialty or a subfield, but is actually a research methodology.
So for example, within the research fields of psychology are a number of different specialties like social psychology, cognitive psychology and educational psychology.
A psychologist could choose to focus there research efforts on any of these different fields.
And one of the ways they can further the understanding of that particular field is through the process of experimentation.
The History Of Experimental Psychology
Unfortunately, the history of experimental psychology hasn’t always been pretty.
There are many examples throughout history of experimental psychologists who pushed the boundaries of what would be considered ethical – and in some cases stepped well beyond.
In a morbid kind of way this history is quite fascinating as you start to look into the motivations of these pioneers of experimentation within psychology and what drove them to create experiments that would more than likely be considered criminal in today’s society.
If you’d like to learn more about this history I’d highly recommend you try and check out a three part documentary series called ‘Into The Mind.’
It’s hosted by a guy by the name of Michael Mosley and it digs deeply into the dark history of experimentation by psychologists and looks at some of the most controversial experiments conducted over the past century.
It might be a bit hard to find – I saw it on an Australian TV network, SBS – they have an online store and might have it available there.
I haven’t been able to find it anywhere else but if you come across it, it’s definitely worth watching.
So Who Uses Experimental Psychology?
As the name would suggest, this methodology is heavily focused on the use of experiments, and is a process that is used heavily by many different kinds of psychologists as they seek to gain a greater understanding of the brain and human behavior.
This means that experimental psychology is a tool that can be used by an psychologist engaged in some sort of research.
A good example of a type of psychologist who uses some of these experimental techniques is the social psychologist.
A social psychologist is trying to get a better understanding of human behavior, and in particular the behavior of people within the greater context of society as a whole, and how social interactions impact upon those behaviors.
One of the ways they do this is through the use of various social experiments that are designed with a specific purpose in mind.
Other types of research psychologists that would use experimental studies include educational psychologists, cognitive psychologists and behavioral psychologists.
Does The Use Of Experimental Psychology Make Psychology A Science?
The use of experiments within psychology has led to the often heated discussion about the answer to the question – is psychology a science?
After all, if it involves the use of experiments to test theories and hypotheses it must be a science, right?
Science is all about the physical world, and the experiments run are designed to improve our understanding of that world.
Psychology is all about the brain and human behavior, and this makes things far less certain when it comes to the use of experiments and the validity of the results.
Some experimental psychology studies are very scientific, using sophisticated computers that analyze brain activity under various stimuli.
Others are far more subjective, and this is where scientists have a problem in referring to psychology as a science.
But regardless of where you lie on the issue, when used properly experimental psychology can be an effective way for psychologists to improve their understanding of human behavior and psychology in general.