Is a Career in Cognitive Psychology Right for You?

Cognitive psychologist turns around in chair with glass window showing high rise view outdoors

How people perceive the world, process information and use memories are all factors that influence human behavior. These internal mental processes are the focus of study for cognitive psychologists. Essentially, cognitive psychology is the study of how information is acquired, processed and stored. Usually, cognitive psychologists study these areas through empirical data rather than clinical observances. People who are interested in cognitive psychology have a range of career possibilities to choose from.

You are Interested in a Psychology-Related Career Path

When some people hear the word “psychologist,” they think of the stereotypical image of a person taking notes while a patient lies on a couch and talks about their problems. Cognitive psychology is different. Often, cognitive psychologists find employment at colleges or universities, where they may further the field of study by performing basic or applied research and by teaching.

Other cognitive psychologists work for government agencies, corporations or consulting firms. If you have ever heard of titles such as human factors consultant, usability specialist or industrial-organizational manager, there is likely a cognitive psychologist filling those roles.

You are Eager to Earn Your Doctoral Degree

Aspiring cognitive psychologists are generally people who already know they love research and study. If this describes you, then you are up for the challenge of earning your doctoral degree. Generally speaking, any psychology-related field requires at least a master’s degree, but most require a PhD, including cognitive psychology.

Earning your PhD may be an intense process. Your student services counselor and fellow learners will support you, but you will be expected to work independently to complete research and earn your degree.

You are Especially Passionate About Cognitive Psychology

Often, successful PhD candidates are those who can identify one or two subsets of their field about which they love to talk. For an aspiring cognitive psychologist such as yourself, it might be working to solve the puzzle of memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Or, you might be eager to work with children in order to better understand the beginnings of human memory formation.

Think about which aspect of this field excites you the most. Is it the idea of working in the legal process to improve the understanding of criminal offenders, witnesses or jurors? Or perhaps it is the idea of researching the human brain as it relates to artificial intelligence. If you can clearly explain why you are passionate about this career path, then your enthusiasm will sustain you on your cognitive psychology career path.

When you are ready to take the next step for your career, click on the Request More Information button. Our Doctor of Philosophy in General Psychology with an Emphasis in Cognition and Instruction offers thorough preparation for your future career. If you are just beginning your educational journey, our university also offers undergraduate and master’s degree programs in psychology and counseling.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.