Has the Academic Job Market in Psychology Finally Bottomed Out?

Earlier this month, the National Science Foundation (NSF) released data from the 2014 Survey of Earned Doctorates, the latest edition of an annual census of individuals who receive research doctoral degrees from U.S. colleges and universities.

And based on an official NSF report highlighting the major findings from the survey, it seems 2014 was a good year for dissertation defenses.

All totaled, U.S. institutions awarded 54,070 PhDs in 2014. That’s 2.5% more than were awarded in 2013. It’s also the highest number of PhDs awarded since the Survey of Earned Doctorates was first conducted back in 1957. Science and Engineering fields, in particular, have seen tremendous growth in recent years. Doctorates in these fields presently constitute 75% of all newly earned PhDs in the U.S., up from only 66% in 1994.

But despite the record number of doctoral degrees awarded, 2014 was not an entirely good year in the world of doctoral education. Even though the recession ended several years ago and the U.S. economy is rebounding, the results of the latest NSF survey suggest the PhD job market is still stuck in a lingering slump. Read more “Has the Academic Job Market in Psychology Finally Bottomed Out?”

Can too much science be a bad thing? Growth in scientific publishing as a barrier to science communication.

There’s no doubt we live in an exciting time of innovation and discovery. With thousands of academic journals currently in print, more scientific research is published today than ever before. And the amount of scientific research being produced only continues to grow each year.

According to a search on PubMed – the free online database developed and maintained by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) – scientific research has increased exponentially over the last century. The amount of research published in 2014 (514,395) was more than triple the amount published in 1990 (136,545), more than 100 times the amount published in 1950 (4,432), and more than 3,000 times the amount published in 1940 (153). Read more “Can too much science be a bad thing? Growth in scientific publishing as a barrier to science communication.”

Here is a List of all the Colleges and Universities in the U.S. that offer a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology

If you plan to go against the advice of certain politicians and major in psychology in college, then you’re going need to find an undergraduate program that suits your needs and professional aspirations.

Psychology is one of the most popular majors in the U.S., and there are literally hundreds of colleges and universities throughout the country that offer an undergraduate degree in the field.

Of course, thanks to our society’s increasing obsession with college rankings, you’ll likely have no trouble finding several “definitive” lists of the best psychology programs in the country (here, here, and here, for example).

Read more “Here is a List of all the Colleges and Universities in the U.S. that offer a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology”

Psychology’s Employment Problem Crosses Gender Lines

In my last post, I tried to better understand the employment prospects for PhD recipients in psychology by taking a look at 20 years’ worth of data from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Survey of Doctorate Recipients. What I found should be concerning to professional psychologists and students of psychology alike.

Although the NSF data show that very few psychologists are actually unemployed (<2%), fewer PhD recipients are employed full-time in psychology than in any other field of science. Moreover, the gap in full-time employment between psychology and other sciences has more than quadrupled in the past 20 years. As of 2013, only 73% of PhD recipients in psychology were employed full-time, whereas 26% were employed primarily part-time. In contrast, 85% of PhD recipients in psychology were employed full-time in 1993, and only 13% were employed primarily part-time.

So it seems psychology in the midst of an employment slump. Or is it?

Read more “Psychology’s Employment Problem Crosses Gender Lines”

Is Psychology on the Verge of an Employment Crisis?

This is part 1 of a 2 part series focusing on employment outcomes for PhD recipients in psychology. Click here to read part 2.

The field of psychology has been on the receiving end of a lot of negative press lately.

Earlier this year it was revealed that, during the years following 9/11, the American Psychological Association (APA) colluded with officials from the Defense Department and the CIA to facilitate the torture of detainees.

Then just last month, a new report was published suggesting most psychological research cannot be replicated.

Read more “Is Psychology on the Verge of an Employment Crisis?”

Illusions: Deceptions of the Brain, Not the Eyes (Usually)

Back when I used to teach undergraduate Sensation & Perception, I emphasized to students that, despite our belief to the contrary, we most certainly do not perceive the world as it really is.

Although our perception of the world around us is undoubtedly heavily influenced by what’s actually “out there” in the environment, perception is actually a highly constructive process that unfolds inside the brain (and mostly outside of conscious awareness).

We say that perception is a constructive process because your brain almost never gets a complete picture of the world around you. Due to limited cognitive resources, such as attention and memory, and the inherent ambiguity of sensory signals (see the inverse projection problem), your brain often needs to makes guesses and inferences about what it “thinks” is going on in the physical environment.

The constructive nature of human perception is most easily demonstrated using illusions as an example.

Read more “Illusions: Deceptions of the Brain, Not the Eyes (Usually)”

Can We Trust Psychological Research?

During the last few years there has been increased discussion about the reliability and trustworthiness of psychological research.

Skepticism has been fueled not only by several high profile cases of outright scientific fraud (see the cases of Diederik Stapel and Dirk Smeesters), but also by numerous failures to replicate previously “established” scientific findings.

Consider, for example, the recent findings of the “Reproducibility Project,” the largest collaborative effort to replicate published research in psychology thus far. Researchers selected a sample of papers published in prominent psychological journals and found that, out of the 100 findings selected for inclusion in the project, only 39 could be replicated according to conventional standards and pre-established criteria.

Clearly, psychological scientists should be concerned.

Read more “Can We Trust Psychological Research?”

7 ± 2: Facebook, Depression, and Obama’s Call to End “Conversion Therapies”

This is 7 ± 2, my weekly roundup of psychological science in the news. Below are some of the most popular stories featuring psychological research from the past 7 ± 2 days.

Read more “7 ± 2: Facebook, Depression, and Obama’s Call to End “Conversion Therapies””

7 ± 2: Psychological Testing for Pilots, the Efficacy of Anxiety Meds, and How Google Distorts Perceptions of Intelligence

This is 7 ± 2, my weekly psychological science roundup. Below are 7 ± 2 stories from the past 7 ± 2 days featuring the latest in psychological science.

Read more “7 ± 2: Psychological Testing for Pilots, the Efficacy of Anxiety Meds, and How Google Distorts Perceptions of Intelligence”