University of Oklahoma
Department of Psychology
455 W. Lindsey
Norman, OK 73019
The department of psychology at the University of Oklahoma is one of a limited number of public graduate institutions in the United States with a strong focus on experimental psychology and advanced research methods. A distinctive characteristic of the graduate program is the superb level of methodological and quantitative training provided.
The department is focused on the areas of animal behavior and cognition, cognitive, developmental, industrial/organizational, quantitative, and social/personality. The program at OU is specifically designed for students who are interested in research and teaching careers in higher education, or research and consulting in non-academic settings. Students design a curriculum that best prepares them for their career. Methodological and quantitative sophistication are cornerstones of training across areas.
At the undergraduate level, the department provides an academic foundation for students interested in obtaining graduate training in psychology, obtaining advanced training in other professional areas such as medicine, law, or business, or immediately applying their undergraduate degree in a wide range of areas in the contemporary marketplace.
The department also has multiple rooms for testing, observation, and data analysis. The testing rooms include individual cubicles with networked PCs, group testing rooms with individual workstations, group interaction facilities, and a seminar room. Some rooms are equipped with one-way mirrors for observation.
The department has several specialized research facilities. The Personality Research Laboratory includes a large dual-room, electrically-shielded, acoustic booth for performing psychophysiological testing, and an eight-station, computerized task battery lab that includes many of the major task batteries from various government laboratories. The industrial/organizational program has a complex of rooms that include a networked computer system for data analysis, literature searches, and instrument development.
The Human Cognition and Action Laboratory, the Scene Perception and Memory Laboratory, and the Cognitive Aging Laboratory include high-speed PCs, high resolution monitors, and multiple modality response control devices, including an eye tracking facility, 3-D mouse, touchscreen, and joysticks. The Animal Cognition Laboratory (an NIH-compliant, DOA-inspected facility) contains a suite of animal observation rooms with video, audio, recording, and stimulus-control capability. Wild-caught animals are permanently identified by chip-scanner technology and maintained in open, naturalistic housing areas. Cage space for more standard laboratory animals are outfitted with automatic watering, and are maintained by the Office of Laboratory Animal Resources.
Kirby Gilliland, Chair
Animal Behavior/Animal Cognition
An interdisciplinary core group of faculty members in psychology and zoology offer training in the behavior of birds, mammals, and invertebrates from an ecological perspective. Within psychology the focus is on cognitive adaptations, foraging behavior, and hoarding. Students are broadly trained in evolution, behavioral ecology, and methodology, with more focused coursework and research experience based on individual interests and goals.
Faculty members in the Cognitive area conduct basic and applied research. Low- to mid-level cognitive processes are emphasized with a focus on the interrelationships among attention, perception, and memory. This includes research on scene perception, memory distortions and eyewitness identification, memory for spatial layout, visual attention, oculomotor control, task switching, and cognitive aging. Opportunities to conduct applied research make our students attractive to non-academic employers and provide them with a unique perspective that enriches their basic research.
The graduate program in Developmental focuses on understanding processes of normative development and provides training in the core areas of social and cognitive development. The training is designed to equip graduates with the necessary conceptual, methodological, and teaching skills for careers in academic or applied developmental research positions. Students have flexibility to develop expertise within specific content areas or particular age groups.
Industrial and Organizational
Psychology program follows a scientist-practitioner model in training PhD students. The program is based on an active learning model. Students apply what they learn in the classroom to faculty-directed research or consulting projects in academic and industrial settings and often work as part of a team addressing a broader organizational or research problem. The I/O program also offers an MA in Organizational Dynamics at OU’s Tulsa campus. This applied program focuses on developing skills for managing technical innovation in organizational settings.
The nationally recognized program in Quantitative serves many roles within the department and university. The program operates as a de facto applied methods program for the entire university, and students from many colleges and departments take the quantitative courses. Students specifically in the quantitative program are trained in applied statistics, psychometrics, and mathematical modeling. Current applied work includes developmental methodology, validation designs, intellectual development, and sports statistics.
The graduate program in Social/Personality provides considerable flexibility for the research-oriented student. Students concentrate in either the Social or Personality area, but typically obtain training in both. The Social program focuses on basic affective, cognitive and motivational processes, including self-concept, stereotypes, emotional processes, and close relationships. The Personality program provides training in the areas of personality theory and modern personality research. The training involved in both programs is designed to prepare students for a career as an academic social/personality psychologist, although some students seek applied positions in industry.