• PhD Program in Cognitive Social and Developmental Psychology

    • The Cognitive, Social, and Developmental Psychology PhD program emphasizes the role context plays in shaping cognition and behavior, focusing on social factors, culture, the body, and the situation.

      This contextual approach provides a framework for understanding psychological theories and other biologically based perspectives on mental and emotional activity. Students concentrate in either cognitive, social, or developmental psychology.

      • Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
      • Credits 60 credits
      • Format Full-time or part-time, on-campus
      • Start Term Fall

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      View fellowship and funding opportunities

      Overall, the research conducted in the program reflects a broad-based perspective that supports diverse methodological approaches and that encourages interdisciplinary work. Students concentrate in either cognitive, social, or developmental psychology through specialized seminars and independent study with members of the faculty who share the student's interests. However, they are welcome to take courses, work with faculty, and engage in research that bridges these different concentrations.  Students also can take relevant courses offered by other universities through the Inter-University Consortium.

      The doctoral program uses an apprenticeship model in which students work closely with a member of the faculty on collaborative research projects and developing a dissertation. Students are expected to become members of lab groups and to attend and present their own research at seminars and conferences.

      Faculty and research emphases associated with each concentration are indicated below:

      Cognitive: Hirst, Mack, Schober, Ginges, Fincher
      Faculty research centers on consciousness, memory, attention, language and thought, cognitive neuroscience, visual perception, and semantics-for example, the nature of collective memory, inattentional blindness, unconscious perception of emotion, perspective taking in language use, psycholinguistics, conversational interaction, and social media, psychology of music, emotion, cognitive style and the cerebral hemispheres

      Social: Ginges, Hirschfeld, Hirst, Miller, Schober, Rubin, Fincher
      Faculty research centers on political psychology, culture and cognition, close relationships, existential psychology and the impact of cultural artifacts on social cognition. Specific topics include dehumanization, conflict resolution, sacred values, essentialism and entativity, self-objectification, culture and norms of reciprocity, interpersonal motivation, the origins of racial categories, immigration and cultural conflict, judgment and decision making, and empathy and theory of mind.

      Developmental: Hirschfeld, Miller, H. Steele, M. Steele
      Faculty research centers on cognitive development, social cognition, social and emotional development, and life course development-for example, development of a theory of mind, children's understandings of racial groups, cultural influences on adolescence, parent-child relationships, intergenerational consequences of attachment, adoption and foster care, and children with autism and their families.

      STEM Designation for International Applicants 

      This program is STEM-designated. After graduating, eligible F-1 students in this program can apply for an additional 24 months of Optional Practical Training at the end of their Post-Completion OPT. 

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