Our Department includes three graduate training programs that lead to the Ph.D. degree — Clinical, Social-Personality, and Developmental Psychology. We also administer the undergraduate Psychology major. In general, courses in the major that represent Psychology as a social science are taught by instructors from our Department; courses in the major that represent psychology as a natural science are taught by instructors from the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences.
Research in the Department coalesces in three signature areas: Motivation, Developmental Psychopathology, and Interpersonal Relationships. Importantly, researchers in any given domain may be associated with different graduate training programs. For example, research in Developmental Psychopathology is conducted by clinical as well as developmental psychologists.
The motivation area includes two theoretical approaches, Self-Determination Theory and an approach-avoidance model of achievement motivation. The Developmental Psychopathology area covers work on autism and related developmental disabilities, deficits in executive function in children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, treatment and adaptation of children exposed to family adversity (e.g., maltreatment, parental depression), coping and adaptation of children exposed to family conflict, and the impact of parent-adolescent relations on adolescent adjustment. Research on Interpersonal Relationships focuses on marital distress, impact of family processes on adolescent development, and intimacy and responsiveness in close relationships.
The Department is associated with the Mt. Hope Family Center. The Center integrates research, training, and treatment in the area of Developmental Psychopathology. The target population of these endeavors is children and families confronted by psychosocial adversity (e.g., maltreatment) and at risk for psychopathology.