Research psychologists use scientific methods to examine questions and test hypotheses with the aim of understanding human thought and behavior. This research can focus on phenomena and processes at various levels, including: physiology, brain activity, and genetics; individual perception, cognition, and behavior; interpersonal relationships and social interactions; and broader cultural, economic, political, and societal factors.
Many research psychologists investigate aspects of typical functioning, including how we sense and perceive the world around us, how we make decisions, and how we develop over the lifespan. Other research psychologists focus specifically on processes that contribute to thinking and behavior in the context of clinical disorders.
Research psychologists share the findings of their investigations in a variety of outlets, including publishing in peer-reviewed journals, presenting at conferences, and giving talks in academic settings. In addition to conducting studies and experiments, research psychologists may also have roles as educators, practitioners, and consultants.