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Training Areas

Students may specialize within a variety of areas, including cognition, neuroscience, and social psychology. We also offer a specialization in developmental psychology and an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program focusing on language, speech, and hearing sciences.


Cognition

Training in Cognition is based on faculty-student mentoring. It focuses on both Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience. Students develop individual programs of research and scholarship while working closely with one or more faculty members. The primary aim of the concentration is to train students who will excel in research careers in academic or applied settings. Coursework emphasizes experimental methodology, and students gain a great deal of experience designing and conducting research. Areas of strength include Memory, Visual Cognition, Learning in Education, Judgment and Decision-Making, Language Development, and Executive Processes. Labs are available for cognitive modeling, psychophysics, the recording of dense-array human EEG and event-related potentials, neuroanatomical and neurochemical work, transcript and interaction analysis, image processing, and video taping. Research participants are often drawn from our large pool of undergraduate psychology students as well as from one of the university’s child care centers and elementary schools.

During the first year, students take general Cognitive, Social, and/or Physiological Psychology survey courses and a sequence of courses in statistics and methodology. There are also a variety of advanced courses and seminars offered each semester for more specialized training. A unique aspect of our training program is the opportunity to learn about the interplay of cognition, neuroscience, and social psychology through coursework, research collaboration, and weekly research presentations.

Please browse the websites of the individual faculty members below to learn about their varied interests and approaches. When you find someone whose interests you share most, you may contact him or her directly.

Core Cognition faculty

Judith Becker Bryant -language development, language socialization
Chad Dubé -memory, perception, computational modeling, decision making
Ken Malmberg -human memory, mathematical and computational modeling, aging and memory
Doug Rohrer -learning and memory
Tom Sanocki -vision and cognition, attention, cognitive engineering, reading
Sandra Schneider -judgment and decision making, framing
Elizabeth Schotter -eye movements & cognition; Language processing; visual processing; reading

Core Cognitive Neuroscience faculty

Emanuel Donchin -executive control system, electrophysiological neuroimaging, brain computer interfaces
Geoffrey Potts -executive systems and their involvement in personality and mental illness; event-related potentials


Neuroscience

Researchers in the fields of Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience are studying the complex relationship between the brain and behavior. The primary aim of the Neuroscience concentration at USF is to develop independent, creative neuroscientists who will pursue their research and teaching interests in academic and applied settings. This is accomplished through: 1) closely mentored, rigorous research training in labs; 2) a flexible curriculum to accommodate diverse interests; and 3) teaching experience.

Our neuroscience faculty have diverse research programs studying brain functioning in animals and humans. Some of our faculty conduct behavioral, neuroanatomical, and pharmacological research in the areas of comparative vision and cognition, the neurobiology of drug addiction, and brain mechanisms involved in stress and memory in animals. Other faculty conduct research investigating how the human brain processes information by using dense-array EEG measurement with recordings of event-related potentials. Students can complement their training with coursework and research in the Departments of Chemistry and Biology at USF, and the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at USF’s College of Medicine, as well as gain research experience at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital, Byrd Alzheimer’s Center and Research Institute, and Center for Aging and Brain Repair, which are all located near the Psychology building.

During the first year, students have the opportunity to begin their research program and complete foundation courses in Cognitive, Physiological, and/or Social Psychology, as well as to take courses in statistics and methodology. In subsequent years, students select more specialized content and methodology courses and seminars related to their areas of research specialization. A unique aspect of our training program is the opportunity students have to learn about the interplay of cognition, neuroscience, and social psychology through coursework, research collaboration, and weekly research presentations.

Please browse the websites of the individual faculty members below to learn about their varied interests and approaches. When you find someone whose interests you share most, you may contact him or her directly.

Core Behavioral Neuroscience faculty include:

David Diamond - physiology of behavior, psychology of learning, neurobiology of memory, disturbance of brain and behavior by stress
Cheryl Kirstein - neuroscience, development of addiction, drugs of abuse, psychopharmacology
Toru Shimizu - visual information processing, animal cognition, comparative neuroscience, and evolution of brain and cognition

Core Cognitive Neuroscience faculty include:

Emanuel Donchin - cognitive neuroscience, P300, dense electrode array, memory, brain computer interface
Geoffrey Potts - executive systems and their involvement in personality and mental illness; Event-related potentials


Social Psychology

Overview

The Social Psychology specialization at the University of South Florida is a research-based training program leading to the Ph.D. degree. We are part of a larger experimental psychology area, CNS (Cognition, Neuroscience, and Social). The primary aim of the specialization is to train social psychologists who will excel in research careers in academic or other settings. Our faculty has expertise in a variety of experimental and correlational methodologies which provides opportunities for building strong theoretical and methodological foundations in social psychology and related fields (including health and developmental psychology).

The social being is a product of cultural and developmental forces, and the social context has a profound impact on health and well-being. Our goal is to expose graduate students to all of these perspectives, as reflected in the diverse research interests of our faculty.

Social diagram

A unique aspect of our training program is the opportunity students have to learn about the interplay of cognition, neuroscience, and social and developmental psychology through coursework and weekly research presentations. All students must complete a minimum number of graduate courses selected from a flexible curriculum. However, the bulk of a student's education comes from hands-on experience in designing and conducting research.

The program emphasizes close student-faculty interactions. Individualized programs of study, coordinated jointly between the student and members of his or her graduate committee, permit flexibility in constructing a graduate experience that fits the student's goals and interests. During the first year, students complete foundation courses in Social as well as Cognitive and/or Physiological, and courses in statistics and methodology. In subsequent years, students select more specialized content and methodology courses and seminars related to their areas of research specialization.

Social group
Kristen, Tiina, Jamie, Jennifer, & Joe

Core Social Psychology Faculty

  • Jennifer Bosson - self-threats, self-esteem, adherence to and violation of social role norms, gender, homophobia
  • Jamie Goldenberg - terror management theory, the body and sex, objectification of women, health applications
  • Tiina Ojanen - social cognitive and affective processes involved in the development of aggression, social withdrawn behaviors, and social adjustment among peers; social goals and motivation
  • Kristen Salomon - social/health psychology, cardiovascular psychophysiology, ethnic discrimination and cardiovascular disease
  • Joe Vandello (Area Director) - cultural psychology, conflict and violence, race, manhood, social perceptions of disadvantaged groups

Affiliated Faculty

Application Information

The social psychology concentration is currently accepting applications for the Ph.D. program. Individuals who are interested should apply to the graduate program in Cogintion, Neuroscience, and Social and note on their application that they would like their emphasis to be in the area of social psychology (click here for application materials). Applications for domestic and international students are due by December 1st.


Developmental Psychology Specialization

Interdisciplinary training in developmental psychology is available to students in Psychology. The developmental specialization consists of a program of research and coursework. It is a way to fulfill CNS requirements for students who wish to specialize in development.

Research

Research mentors and collaborators may be found in Psychology as well as other Departments at USF. Within Psychology, faculty with developmental research foci include

Coursework

A variety of foundation courses, seminars, and methods courses addressing developmental issues are available. These may be used to fulfill CNS doctoral requirements for seminars, the minor, and tools of research.

For more information about this specialization, please contact Dr. Ojanen or Dr. Bryant.


Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Speech/Language/Hearing Sciences

In a program relatively unique in the United States, students receive a Ph.D. through the Cognition, Neuroscience, and Social Psychology Program in the Department of Psychology with an emphasis in language, speech, or hearing science. This program involves collaboration with the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.  Graduates are prepared to make significant contributions to the advancement of science through the application of interdisciplinary knowledge. They will be qualified to serve as faculty in Psychology and Communication Sciences and Disorders departments; conduct basic, applied, or clinical research; and, if they choose to be certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), provide clinical services to children or adults.

Students in the interdisciplinary program will have two advisors, one each from Psychology and Communication Sciences and Disorders. These advisors will help the student design a program of study and supervise the master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation. The doctoral program is designed to be completed in approximately 5 years. The length of the program may be less given prior graduate work and experiences. The curriculum is designed to provide students with a solid foundation in behavioral science and specialized study in an area of normal or disordered speech, language, or hearing processes. It consists of extensive course work in statistics and methodology, a core of basic psychology courses, and an individualized set of courses and seminars specific to each student's academic and research interests. Students must also complete a thesis, if they have not done so, and dissertation.

Students are eligible for teaching and research assistantships as well as traineeships provided by the Veterans Administration, among other agencies.