APS Observer Notes “Identity Shift” In US Psych Departments

From The Psychology Times, Vol 3, No 3

In a recent lead article for APS magazine Observer, author Eric Jaffe reported on a trend in academic departments to emphasize the scientific nature of psychology in names.

The review pointed to problems in understanding with what psychology does and is. “Sometimes this lack of understanding led people to question psychology’s scientific basis, as was the case with parents who refused to believe their child could major in psychology and also be pre-med. Other times the confusion came from mistaking psychology for psychiatry,” the report noted. The report indicated that the Department of Psychology name also did little to help indicate where research was “heading in the future.”

The article followed the changes of the psychology departments and cited Dartmouth University change to “Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences” in the late 1990s. Other examples were cited such as the department at Duke, now called the “Department of Psychology and Neuroscience.” Chair Harris Cooper at Duke said, “We refer to ourselves as studying behavior from culture to chemistry,” and include “clinical, developmental, social, cognition and cognitive neuroscience, and systems of integrative neuroscience.”

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