Department of Psychology

Message for Undergraduate Students

Welcome back, Fellow Students!  If you are a new student, I also like to congratulate you for your choice and interest in the Department of Psychology at Auburn University.   It is one of the most productive departments at Auburn University, and the department has a group of faculty and staff who are exceptionally passionate about teaching, and caring for your success while you are here and after you graduate from Auburn University.  

People, including I, come to study psychology tend to have different reasons.  These diverse reasons reflect how complex human behaviors and mind are.

Have you wondered…

  • why patients do or do not comply treatment plans, or why people take risks when the winning odd is small?
  • why and how our beliefs, values, prejudices, stereotypes are formed or changed?
  • how CEOs, politicians, jurors make decisions that can have profound impacts on people’s fate?
  • how to recruit, select, train, motivate retain employees or students?
  • why people fail or succeed after they set up new-year resolutions each year?

Understanding underling mechanisms of the above questions (and more) through diverse subfields in psychology (54 divisions according to the American Psychological Associations and close to 90 subfields listed in Wikipedia!), psychologists in collaboration with other professionals are able to improve quality of human life.  It is the aspiration we like to share with you in your career and life.

While studying psychology, you may likely question how exactly knowledge of psychology could give you any edge to pursue your career?  Here are a few pieces of information for you to consider.

In the journey of studying human mind and behaviors, you will have more opportunities to understand you.  Personal growth and change tend not to occur easily unless ones know more about their strengths and weaknesses.  While teaching at School of Business earlier, I have spent a lot of time helping managers understand themselves in order for them to grow in their personal and professional life. 

Our faculty will provide you with latest thinking, cutting research, and timely practices.  Thus, you have the advantage of being exposed by many questions related human mind and behaviors.  If you are willing to put your time and work with your professors, you would have opportunities exploring plausible answers for some of many questions, and investigate these hypotheses by means of scientific methods and logical thinking.  You will witness the power of translating your knowledge of psychology into practices!  

It is not well known to most people!   Psychology has been empirically identified as one of seven hub sciences. You probably can guess the other six hubs, including mathematics, physics, chemistry, earth sciences, medicine, and social sciences.  The main reason why psychology emerges as a hub science is mainly attributed to its interdisciplinary nature.  As you can imagine, the knowledge you will acquire in psychology will take you a long way when you work with people coming from diverse background. 

It could not be better time for you to explore and satisfy your appetite of curiosity.  I wish you the best and look forward to hearing from you!

Peter Chen, Professor and Department Head

Last Updated: August 06, 2015