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Six Extremely Interesting Applications of Psychology

Posted By Bradley Cannon, Psi Chi Central Office, Monday, April 1, 2019
Updated: Monday, April 1, 2019

No two psychologists are the same. As you probably know, the field of psychology has branched out in many directions and become interconnected with numerous other fields, both within the areas of psychology and beyond. For a quick idea of the many fields in psychology, take a lot at Psi Chi’s Career Finder.

The idea that all psychologists are counselors is simply no longer true—nor was it ever. Today, let’s take a look at some of the most unique and creative applications of psychology that we have come across at the Psi Chi Central Office. (You’re going to love these! They might even make up for that ridiculous April Fools post that we used to introduce this article…)

1. Studying Female Serial Killers

Forensic psychology in itself is fascinating. But a few years ago, we stumbled upon Dr. Marissa A. Harrison, who specifically studies female serial killers! Like, who even knew that this was a thing?! As it turns out, women serial killers do exist and they do tend to have different motives and methods for killing people than the male serial killers that are often portrayed and discussed on television. Learn more in what quickly become one of our most popular magazine articles.

2. Superhero Therapy

Dr. Janina Scarlet survived Chernobyl radiation when she was a child, which caused her to have lifelong health issues such as migraines and seizures. As she recently explained to the University of California San Diego Psi Chi Chapter, when she immigrated to the United States, other children often made fun of her for and asked her things like if she glowed in the dark. Janina felt like a total outcast and often wanted to die, until she saw the first X-Men film in a theater, which immediately attracted her attention because the X-Men characters were also frequently bullied for their exposure to radiation. Largely due to the X-Men, she gradually began to see herself as a survivor with special talents, instead of a victim, and so she later dedicated her life to helping others use their favorite fictional hero characters in order to better understand themselves and manage painful experiences.

3. Influencing Pixar's Inside Out

There are many ways that media psychology can (and should) be used to influence the choices that writers, producers, and directors portray characters and situations. For example, a few years ago, we reached out to Dr. Dacher Kelter to tell us about how he worked with the director of Pixar’s Inside Out. As it turns out, Dr. Keltner convinced the director to significantly alter the ending of that film in order to portray a meaningful and unique theme regarding the importance of sadness. Find out how the Inside Out was originally supposed to end and more in this magazine interview.

4. Space Psychology, the Final Frontier!

Have you ever stopped to consider whether the same psychological principles that you study here on Earth would also apply to people when they aren’t located on our planet?! For 15 years, Dr. Nick Kanas served as a NASA-funded principal investigator as he conducted psychological research on astronauts and cosmonauts. We wrote an in-depth interview with him about the various stressors of long-duration space travel, which include everything from the potential for equipment to break down to the effects of separation from family and friends. Far out!

5. Pick Up Lines

Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research has published articles about everything from the effects of music on mood to the effects of using different types of password combinations. But this year, a really unique article investigated the perceived attractiveness of people who use pick-up lines to get a date! In other words, would you expect a person to be more attractive if they used a direct pick-up line (e.g., “I just have to tell you, you have amazing eyes”), an innocuous line (e.g., “Don’t I know you from somewhere?”), or a flippant line (e.g., “If you were a triangle, you’d be acute one”)? The next time someone walks up to you and says, “Is your name Ariel? Because I think we mermaid for each other,” remember that that this is only one of the many unique situations that social psychology has explored in order to better understand interactions between people.

6. Outdoor Healing Excursions

Soldiers historically were faced with a long march or journey home after wartime. But now, technology often allows them to be shipped directly home within a few days of fighting. Because this does not give them as much opportunity to process their experiences before returning to civilian life, is it possible that this causes them to be more likely to exhibit PTSD ? This year, Psi Chi’s Austin Peay State University Chapter raised $1,100 for Warrior Expeditions, a nonprofit that helps veterans heal from wartime experiences by facilitating long-distance outdoor excursions. This organization also researches the effects of hikes, bikes, and paddles on veterans' mental health.

More Interesting Applications of Psychology

Be sure to check out Psi Chi’s free online Careers in Psychology Resource. This resource will help you choose possible career routes and sharpen your skills to acquire rewarding jobs that you can be proud of. Also, if you are interested in learning about a particular field, review the “Career Preparation” and “Fields of Psychology” sections of our Publication Search for Eye on Psi Chi magazine. You never know what you might find!

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Tags:  All Things Psych  Career Advice 

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Can Psychology Be a Science and an Art?

Posted By Jessica Costello, Stonehill College, Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Can Psychology Be a Science and an Art?

Jessica Costello, Stonehill College

It’s no secret that the field of psychology has been going through an identity crisis. At my college, as I suppose is the case at many others, the psychology department is located in the science building, despite debate over whether a field focused on the ever-changing human mind qualifies as a true science. To add to the confusion, when I graduate, I’ll earn a Bachelor of Arts.

I embraced the contradiction and chose psychology as my major in part because it rests on the border between science and art. Studying the mind engages both my desire for empirical knowledge about human functioning and my curiosity about the classic existential questions that poets, artists, and theologians have posed for centuries. Getting involved in research projects at the undergraduate level has renewed my appreciation for the scientific method and ignited my curiosity about new topics.

But I worry that current trends in the field have cast off the existential flair in total favor of empirical testing. Even if an exciting study’s conclusions have many practical applications, it’s unlikely nonacademic readers will slog through pages of dry, academic text to learn about them. As the field has retreated into the lab, researchers have lost the art of communication with the outside world.

Marianne Fallon, of Central Connecticut State University, would agree. In her recent editorial, “Writing Quantitative Empirical Manuscripts With Rigor and Flair (Yes, It’s Possible),” Fallon argues for greater accessibility in scientific writing (for example, using a concrete example to help readers visualize an abstract concept) and “encourage[s] all scientists to adopt a classic style that puts writers and readers on a level playing field” (Fallon, 2018).

My first love was creative writing. As I became more familiar with psychological literature, it seemed obvious to me that I could combine my passion for crafting prose with my love of psychology and communicate scientific conclusions to everyday people. I was going to reach the audiences whom all this advanced psychological research is meant to benefit.

Perhaps that’s partially why I was so shocked when a faculty member recently questioned the value of my creative writing minor. Given the chance, I could go on for hours about the stories I’ve written, both in terms of the content and of my experience while writing them. I could ramble about how writing makes a good metaphor for life. How creating fictional characters and living in their worlds, seeing life through the narrators’ heads, has increased my empathy for people who have experienced things I can't imagine. At the heart of both fictional stories and at the heart of our real day-to-day existences lie relationships. Whole, fractured, healthy, toxic—all of them. Writing about the lives of fictional people has given me insight into how I interact with real people.

Have psychologists been so busy trying to earn the identity of a science that they have forgotten the sense of human connection that drives so many people to study psychology in the first place?

In an article for Psychology Today, Gregg Henriques, a psychology professor at James Madison University, argues that much of the confusion over the field’s status is due to a “never ending call for more research” that muddles the larger purpose for which we carry out research. He cites the data, information, knowledge, and wisdom (DIKW) pyramid to illustrate that psychologists tend to be so concerned with gaining information that we forget how to synthesize the data we collect into meaningful knowledge. As we struggle to wade through all our studies' contradictory conclusions, we risk forfeiting meaningful progress toward that eternal, poetic wisdom for which we’ve been searching.


Fallon, M. (2018). Writing quantitative empirical manuscripts with rigor and flair (Yes, it’s possible). Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research, 23, 184–198.

Henriques, G. (2016, 27 Jan.). The ‘Is psychology a science?’ debate. Psychology Today. Retrieved from

Tags:  A Better You  All Things Psych  Career Advice 

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Five Strategies to Prevent the Spread of Non-Diverse Zombies

Posted By Bradley Cannon, Psi Chi Writer/Journal Managing Editor, Monday, October 15, 2018
Updated: Monday, October 15, 2018

Yep, the title says it all! Let's have some Halloween fun AND promote diversity issues. Are you aware of the five ways below to support diversity with Psi Chi?

We at Psi Chi passionately believe in the importance of embracing the unique characteristics and perspectives of all types of people in our increasingly diverse world. This is true in the classroom, workplace, family settings, and yes, even on the brink of a zombie apocalypse! That’s why Psi Chi provides a special online resource, Diversity Matters, which features free teaching tools, group activities, and other materials to help you support diversity issues in your local communities.

So, let’s talk zombies! In recent years, numerous articles have been published concerning issues of diversity in television programs such as AMC’s The Walking Dead. At times, that particular show has suffered from criticisms for lack of diversity, and yet in later seasons, it has been recognized as one of the most diverse casts for any top-rated series.

There are many reasons why people care about the inclusion of diversity in programs like The Walking Dead. For example, it helps viewers connect with people of different backgrounds, and it provides unique, and sometimes untold, story-telling opportunities. Diversity in children’s programming helps introduce kids at an early age to diverse peoples who can serve as role models. And of course, diversity in television and other media results in more jobs for individuals in underrepresented groups too!

As actor Ross Marquand says, who plays the LGBTQ character Aaron on The Walking Dead, “I’m very grateful that AMC and Scott [Gimple] and Robert [Kirkman] have done such a good job of maintaining the vision of those original [Walking Dead] comics, because I think it’s a really wonderful kind of metaphor for how we can all bind together in times of real struggle and real chaos.”

Beyond television, a large amount of psychology research has more generally indicated the value of embracing diversity-affirming stances with regard to sexual and gender diversity, racial and ethnic diversity, disability status, religious diversity, refugee and immigrant status, SES and social class, and many others. You can learn more about this in the “Related Articles” section at the end of this post.

So, in recognizing the importance of diversity everywhere (including in hair-raising scenarios involving the living dead), here are five strategies that you can use with Psi Chi to help prevent the spread of non-diverse zombies! Or in other (less playful) words, here are five strategies that you can use to help increase diversity awareness—both for yourself and for others.

1. Learn to Recognize Your Implicit Biases

Anyone can have implicit biases—even you! At this link, legendary psychologist Dr. Mahzarin Banaji encourages you to open yourself up to the possibility that you might have implicit prejudices. Dr. Banaji is a cofounder of Project Implicit (Harvard’s online Implicit Association Test), which is used to detect hidden and subtle biases that you might not even know you have.

This free online test has been taken by millions people to help them identify a broad range of biases with regard to race, gender, weight, age, disability, religion, etc. Discover how this test changed Dr. Banaji’s life, and how it has the potential to change yours too! It is never too late to work on improving yourself!

2. Apply for Diversity Article Awards

To encourage more article submissions about diversity, Psi Chi provides two $600 awards each year. One award is given to an article published in Eye on Psi Chi magazine, and one award is given to an article published in Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research.

What are you waiting for? All articles published in our magazine and journal will be automatically considered for this award at the end of each year—no award application is necessary. It pays to promote diversity in our publications. View our submission guidelines today and meet last year’s recipients.

3. Challenge Yourself Out of Your Comfort Zone

Do you know who you are? Psi Chi President Dr. Melanie M. Domenech Rodríguez shares how your knowledge of diversity starts with understanding who you are and what unique contributions you bring to diverse groups.

Seek activities along dimensions of identity outside of your comfort zone such as race/ethnicity, gender identity, and political ideology. This new article provides specific activities to consider, as well as a chart to help you determine who you are.

4. Discover How to Create Nurturing Environments

Establishing nurturing environments in your local neighborhoods and college campuses has the potential to change the world. So, instead of getting “bogged down” trying to change the large-scale problems of the world such as gun violence and climate change, consider starting with small meaningful acts that will support your local community.

Esteemed psychologist, Dr. Anthony Biglan, provides these eight steps to create homes and schools filled with positive reinforcement, respectful communication, and evidence-based resources. Just imagine all the ways that your communities could benefit from your acts to maintain safe and nurturing environments!

5. Post Our Pledge on Your Social Media

Last of all, we would like to invite you to participate in our Diversity Pledge. It only takes a second, and yet the possibilities to spread the message of “Diversity Matters” to others are limitless! To participate, simply share the following quote on one (or more) of your social media accounts:

I pledge to stand with #PsiChi to promote cultural diversity and awareness. Take this pledge with me by sharing it on your social media. Learn more at

Do you agree with this sentence from Psi Chi’s Diversity and Sustainability Statement: “The scope of our organizational relevance is only as broad as the diversity of our membership and their scholarly pursuits?” Take a moment to consider how you could use the five survival strategies above to improve yourself and others in your community.

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Tags:  A Better You  All Things Psych 

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Labeled Praise for My Kindergarten Teacher

Posted By Cristal Martinez, Licensed Professional Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor, Monday, August 20, 2018
Updated: Monday, August 20, 2018

Cristal Martinez, Licensed Professional Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor

PsiChi Alumni from the University of Texas at El Paso class of 2009


I have been a therapist since 2011. I have been practicing psychotherapy with children, adolescents and adults. One day while writing a client progress note, I had a flashback. (Not like a traumatic stress type of flashback, so don't worry). It was a snippet of my life I had captured of myself in kindergarten. I loved learning and was a smart (and eager) child. One day, during free-play time, I went off to the corner of the classroom on my own and started working on a floor puzzle. I was disinterested in what the other children were doing. I had a moment of solemnity that quickly turned into fun. I can remember that it was a wooden number matching puzzle. I had to match the number “1” with another piece that had one object, the number “2” with the other piece that had two objects . . . etc.

As I was happily constructing the puzzle, my kindergarten teacher got my attention and said, “Cristal, you’re doing such a great job completing your puzzle. I’m going to give you a gold star for that.” As I looked up at her from my spot on the colorful rug I was sitting on, my face brightened. I felt warm and fuzzy inside despite sitting on the scratchy carpet, and I kept on working diligently with the puzzle. In fact, for “free play” time from that point forward, I completed puzzles, games, and read books on my own in that same corner of the classroom. My eager mind was finally met with appropriate stimulation as well as positive attention. This may be why I continued to love school and why I was motivated to obtain my master’s degree.

Treating young children with behavior problems has always been a challenge. But then . . . enter a treatment called “Parent Child Interaction Therapy.” It is great, in my opinion, because I truly believe that, to change a young child’s behavior, the intervention must be with the child’s parents and the surrounding environment. Working with children ages two to seven years old is a unique experience, and PCIT takes out most of the guesswork. This intervention is heavy in caregiver involvement and changing their interactions with their children at home, subsequently improving their relationships . . . thus reducing problematic externalizing behavior.

One of the main components of PCIT is teaching and coaching parents how to play with their children. Interestingly enough, some caregivers need to be taught how to play and some do not enjoy playing with their children. I can see how the “inner child” might’ve gotten sucked out of some of us as we’ve grown.

There are three target skills taught to each parent: labeled praises, reflections, and behavior descriptions. Each of these used during five minutes of play per day can help children and parents become closer, build a child's self-esteem, and catalyze a myriad of other benefits (Eyberg & Funderburk, 2011). We encourage, of course, that caregivers use these skills throughout the day as much as possible and to practice with other children in their lives. There are more components and you can research them on your own, because this essay is related to PCIT—not a comprehensive manual.

Caption: Cristal Martinez in a PCIT observation room speaking with a parent over a headset.

What my kindergarten teacher did was monumental although it seemed so small. I’m sure it even changed my life trajectory. Instead of wandering aimlessly in that little classroom, she pointed out and praised my productivity and independence. And, in my lifetime, there have been moments where I’ve felt disinterested and lost . . . But, I’ll never forget this labeled praise (otherwise known as an "LP" in PCIT) because it was a moment that was impressed upon my heart and mind forever. She taught me, with such few words, that I am self-sufficient, I am enough, and that I have everything I’ll ever need inside of me.

I can only imagine what PCIT and this treatment can do for kids in this day and age. The fact that the skills are meant to be constantly and consistently used (mind you, I only had memory of ONE), and that these are said by the child’s caregivers has got to be way more powerful than the one I received from a teacher. So, to Ms. Tellez at Marian Manor Elementary School, thank you for your encouragement. And to parents of young children everywhere, please try PCIT.

For more information on PCIT and to find a PCIT certified therapist near you, visit

Eyberg, S. M., & Funderburk, B. (2011). PCIT: Parent-child interaction therapy protocol: 2011. Gainesville, FL: PCIT International.

Listen to Cristal Martinez, MA, LPC, NCC talk about mental health on her podcast at or on iTunes.

Or visit her blog at

She can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @ThroughTheEyesOfATherapist

Tags:  A Better You  All Things Psych 

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Stormy Days: The Role of Psychology in Disaster Relief

Posted By Jenna Tipaldo, Hunter College, Monday, July 16, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, May 29, 2018


Globally, an average of 24.6 million people are displaced by a disaster each year (Ferris, 2016). In 2012, I was one of them. Growing up on a peninsula in Queens, New York, down the block from the beach, we lived blissfully ignorant to the power of the ocean. Sure, we knew there was a risk, but we never thought we’d see a major flood in our lifetimes. We were so wrong. The storm surge was massive, bringing the ocean ashore, and my neighborhood was six feet under.

My family, and countless other families along the coasts of New York and New Jersey, faced the challenges of rebuilding a home. Displaced from our ravaged house, my family had to adjust to living doubled-up with relatives in a new town while facing the uncertainty of when we could return home. We had flood insurance, a financial safety net, and a place to stay, but many others did not. Replacing household utilities, cars, and belongings can add up quickly, and relief from insurance and government efforts was slow to come. On top of this, the cleanup was physically and mentally draining, and only the start of the rebuilding process.

Caption. "I coped how a 15-year-old might cope: on Instagram, of course."

My community and others like it could have greatly benefited from insights from the research and work of psychologists. The American Psychological Association outlines several key roles that psychologists may play after a natural disaster: listening to concerns, advocating for needs, as well as providing information, coping and problem-solving strategies, and assurance that recovery is possible (American Psychological Association, 2014). Industrial-organizational psychologists could work to eliminate the stressors that affect people after a disaster by improving the efficiency and effectiveness of relief efforts. Regarding the community, social support played a large role in my neighborhood’s ability to rebuild, to transition as individuals and as a community from old to new.

Psychologists might explore ways to help facilitate social support and community belongingness in these situations, especially in vulnerable populations. Furthermore, therapists could provide strategies for dealing with the stress and trauma of a suddenly disrupted life. The effects of post-disaster stress may be seen across demographic groups, and the mental health implications may be long-lasting (Arnberg, Bergh Johannesson, & Michel, 2013; Kessler et al., 2008; Mcfarlane & Van Hooff, 2009). Looking back, coping strategies could have assisted me—and surely others facing worse situations due to socioeconomic factors or a lack of flood insurance—to help push through that time of need. In general, the work of psychologists can be vital in supporting relief efforts following a disaster, natural or otherwise.

With the threat of climate change, natural disasters like hurricanes are predicted to become not only more frequent but also more devastating. The theme for the 11th Annual Psychology Day at the United Nations is “Climate Change: Psychological Interventions Promoting Mitigation and Adaptation,” signaling an acknowledgement of the potential for psychologists to assume an important role in shaping the future, and further support for psychological research regarding the impact of environment-related issues is warranted (United Nations, 2018). My hope is that the knowledge and practices of psychology will be applied to augment the work of other fields to help reduce the impact of disasters, and also to analyze and tackle the problems posed by climate change in an objective and socially conscious way.


American Psychological Association. (2014, April). What psychologists do on disaster relief operations. Retrieved from

Arnberg, F. K., Bergh Johannesson, K., & Michel, P. (2013). Prevalence and duration of PTSD in survivors six years after a natural disaster. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 27, 347–352.

Ferris, E. (2016, July 29). Disasters, displacement, and climate change: New evidence and common challenges facing the north and south. Brookings. Retrieved from

Kessler, R. C., Galea, S., Gruber, M. J., Sampson, N. A, Ursano, R. J, & Wessely, S. (2008). Trends in mental illness and suicidality after Hurricane Katrina. Molecular Psychiatry, 13, 374–384.

Mcfarlane, A. C., & Van Hooff, M. (2009). Impact of childhood exposure to a natural disaster on adult mental health: 20-year longitudinal follow-up study. The British Journal of Psychiatry: The Journal of Mental Science, 195, 142–8.

Psychology Day at the UN. (n.d.). United Nations. Retrieved April 04, 2018, from

Tags:  All Things Psych 

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Analysis of Inside Out

Posted By Samantha Picaro, Kean University, Union, NJ, Monday, June 4, 2018
Updated: Monday, June 4, 2018

Despite being college undergraduates or graduates, we all still cherish children's movies, especially Pixar. The purpose of the article is to highlight several psychology-related discussions that can be had after watching the film, Inside Out. I will try not to give away too many spoilers.

For those who have not seen or heard of the movie, it is about five emotions who reside in the mind of an 11-year-old girl named Riley, who moves with her parents to a new town and new school. The five emotions are Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear, and Anger. Joy is the leader, who ostracizes Sadness to protect Riley. However, Joy and Sadness are accidentally dragged out of Riley's head and into her memory bank, forcing them to get back because Riley cannot feel happiness without Joy.

The Importance of Sadness

Joy comes to see the importance of Sadness despite her undesirability. Sadness, both the character and concept, are important for Riley to adjust to moving away from her friends, home, and hockey league. For most of the film, she bottles her emotions in order to spare her parents' feelings but it causes her to break down. Only when she finally cries and confesses her feelings is able to adapt to her new situation. The emotion of sadness helps connect people and face realities, and ignoring/hiding sadness only makes matters worse.

The Complexity of Emotions

Accepting Sadness is also important in another way: it helps Riley grow up. At first, Joy sees emotions as simple and does not understand that a person can feel two emotions at once. Eventually she sees that a person can feel both sadness and happiness at the same time, thus memories are not cut and dry. The difference between children and adults is that adults come to accept that emotions are complex and no memory has just one emotion. In a pivotal scene, Joy sees one memory in which Riley's parents turn Riley's sadness into joy. This affects the way in which Riley views relationships and memories.

What I enjoy is how the character Joy outright explains the purpose of each emotion barring Sadness, at least in the beginning. Psych students are aware that emotions exist for a reason. Joy explains that Fear keeps us safe, Disgust also encourages caution, and so on.

Another psychological aspect in the movie is personality. Riley's mind contains five "islands": Goofball Island, Hockey, Friendship, Honesty, and Family. Each island deteriorates as Riley becomes more depressed, culminating in Riley running away and shutting off her emotions until Joy and Sadness finally return to the headquarters. Each island is rebuilt with time after Riley comes back home and expresses her true feelings to her parents. Personality indeed shapes our personality, making it understandable why there is a link between happiness and being outgoing, competitiveness and athleticism, and love and strong family ties.

In the absence of Joy and Sadness, the other emotions struggle to keep Riley functional but fail. Joy was the most dominant emotion but in her absence, Fear, Anger, and Disgust inadvertently increase Riley's stress and encourage her to run away to her old home, thinking this is the answer to her problems, and even plants the idea of stealing her mother's credit card. The growing dominance of these emotions and recklessness show Riley's conversion from childhood to adolescence because adolescence is a time of confused, strong emotions in which joy is not always the dominant one. This is where the stereotype of the moody teen comes from.

The movie isn't entirely accurate about the human psyche because the psyche is not that simple. Nothing about humans is simple. However, I applaud Inside Out's depiction of a girl's mind and how it is forced to mature. This is relevant not only to kids but to adults because even as adults we struggle with identifying and expressing our feelings. I would recommend it to every psychology major and would encourage professors to show it in class and discuss it.

Tags:  All Things Psych 

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My True Crime Addiction Fueled My Career Choice

Posted By Janelle L. Rondeau, MS, Loyola University Maryland, Monday, May 21, 2018
Updated: Monday, May 21, 2018

Hi, my name is Janelle, and I am addicted to true crime. This addiction started as early as I can remember, as I’ve always been fascinated by things I don’t understand. A lot of what I don’t understand involves rape, murder, and other kinds of crime.

Whenever I talk about this topic, I probably come off to others as a little sadistic, and I tend to get a lot of strange looks. This is likely because my interest and favorite conversation topic is literally about other human beings getting traumatized or killed in a heinous manner. However, once I realized that I can use this passion to fuel my career, I felt a little better about my abnormal fascination. Also, now that I’ve found the My Favorite Murder podcast family, I think that my true crime addiction is completely acceptable and will rattle on about it until the end of time to whoever will listen (for those of you also interested in the topic, if you haven’t already, listen to the podcast. Seriously. Do it.).

I’ve since come to the conclusion that my attraction to true crime isn’t in the crime itself—it’s in the motive behind the crime. What could cause a person to do something like that? What happened that resulted in this severe lack of empathy? Is there a way to rehabilitate this emotional deficit?

Getting back to true crime and psychology, I knew psychology was the field for me when I found out that I can work with these people who boggle my mind so much: the murderers, serial killers, arsonists, the list goes on. That’s why I’m currently pursuing my clinical psychology doctorate degree with a concentration in forensic psychology. My ultimate goal? To assess those who claim insanity, to see if someone is competent to take the stand, and just to all around work with the people in the world who lack the capacity to feel for another human being. I don’t know if I will ever be able to stabilize the aggressive and violent behavior that are exhibited by many killers and rapists, but I do hope that, in working closely with them, I will be able to better understand the meaning behind the behavior.

Despite my long story, my message is this: there is so much more to psychology than the stigma of sitting in a room asking someone, “How do you feel about that?” Psychology offers you the opportunity to fulfill your every expectation by taking your passion (however unique) and turning it into a full-blown career. My passion is true crime. Because of the opportunities psychology offers, I get to be a forensic psychologist. Thank you, psychology, for making my dream a reality. And thank you, MFM podcast, for making me feel like I’m not alone.

Tags:  All Things Psych  Career Advice 

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What Happens After Graduation? Tips to Find a Job

Posted By Ashley Garcia, Monday, October 16, 2017
Updated: Monday, October 16, 2017

What Happens After Graduation?
Tips to Find a Job

Ashley Garcia, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Graduation. Whether you are a senior finishing up your last research papers (oh, what a feeling), or are a sophomore getting ready to really jump into the psych major, the word graduation gives a mix of emotions ranging from anxiety to absolute joy.

One of the most common questions that students are asked is “What are you going to do when you finish school?” Are you going to go to grad school? Or do you need a break and want to travel? Should you get experience in the field and then see if you want to go back to school?

After graduation, the possibilities are endless. However, even if you aren’t planning to find a job right away, it never hurts to have a little career-search knowledge in your back pocket, just in case. Here are five steps that can help you prepare to get a job.

1. Have a Great Resumé

Did you do any internships? Were you on a research team for a professor? These experiences will help show prospective employers that you are ready to take on the challenge of starting your career. You want to be as specific as possible. What did you do in these positions, and more importantly, how do these job skills relate to the job you are applying for? You will also want to highlight any extracurriculars, like Psi Chi membership and involvement, that you might have participated in and include any customer service work (like being a server). Check out this article for an in-depth look on how to have an awesome resumé.

2. Write a Stand-Out Cover Letter

You want to make sure that you explain why YOU are a better candidate for a particular job than someone else. Think about what makes you stand out. How did the experiences you have on your resumé prepare you for the “real world?” This is where you can go really in-depth about what you did in each internship, job, or position you held. If you had to work to pay your way through school, then talk about that! Employers want to see that you have a great work ethic.

3. Utilize the Psi Chi Career Center

As a Psi Chi member, you get access to a psychology-based Career Center where you can upload your resumé, search for jobs, and apply online. Our Career Center also allows employers to look at your amazing resumé and contact you if they think you’ll be a good fit for their organization. You can even sign up for e-mail alerts when a new job is posted. With 1,000s of new job opportunities, you’ll be able to find something that fits your career goals.

4. Prepare for an Interview

Yeah this is really a thing. You can actually prepare for what interviewers might ask you, and knowing how to present yourself can be as important as what’s on your resumé. There are different types of interview processes, common questions, and methods you can learn about. This article gives a detailed explanation of how to prepare yourself and be more confident.

5. Don't Be Scared

When you land your first full-time job, what if you don’t know what you’re doing and you mess up? That’s totally okay. You’re probably going to be a little lost at first, especially because you’ll be adjusting to a life without school, which you’ve been in since you were about 6; It’s a hard adjustment. But if you are hired, it’s because the company thinks you can handle what they will throw at you. This article will help you with the transition from student to employee.

Conduct a Lab Experiment

Psi Chi members, what questions or suggestions do you have about finding a job or life after graduation? (member login required to comment)

Tags:  A Better You  All Things Psych  Career Advice 

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How Traveling Abroad Transformed My Religious Faith

Posted By Jada Hall, Monday, October 2, 2017
Updated: Friday, August 11, 2017


How Traveling Abroad Transformed
My Religious Faith

Jada Hall, Azusa Pacific University (CA)

I found myself in the 100-degree weather of the Middle East. In the Garden of Gethsemane, I lay exhausted from the hours of walking we had been doing. I contemplated where Jesus sat when He cried out to the Father. The olive trees surrounding me offered comforting shade. The stillness of the garden cleared away the reality of war just outside the gates.

There were bomb shelters dispersed throughout the kibbutz community along the Gaza Strip. When a bomb is launched, the sirens go off, giving the residents 15 seconds to reach the fortified structures. That day, we were lucky; no one decided to launch. A student asked a woman why she stayed in this region. She responded that though she is not a soldier, she stays on the front lines to show her support for Israel. This is her family’s home.

Caption: The Garden of Gethsemane

The world is becoming increasingly “globally oriented,” as Dr. David Towson puts it in his article “Why Study Abroad? What Psychology Students Have to Gain from Study Abroad Opportunities.” Travel abroad experiences, he says, are an invaluable resource for any student looking to grow professionally and personally.

I went to Israel with the intention of learning about the ongoing conflict between them and the Palestinian Authority. Politically, the situation seemed esoteric. I wanted to increase my cultural competency, which is most effectively done by traveling abroad as Dr. Towson briefly explains. Not only did I learn the Israeli perspective of fighting for their homeland to protect the citizens and basic human rights, I also learned the Palestinian sentiment of feeling like a refugee.

Caption: Bomb shelter at a kibbutz near the Gaza Strip

In addition to this professional growth, I experienced an area of personal growth not outlined in the aforementioned article: religious development. At the time of the trip, I was a five-year-old Christian in a rut. I did not go to Israel expecting to be transformed in my faith. However, three lessons and realizations occurred.

First, I saw how the Jewish people encounter God. As I approached the ancient stones of the Temple during Shabbat, I saw my Jewish sisters completing their daven as they rocked back and forth, oblivious to anyone bumping into them. They were entranced in their communion with God. It was similar to the Christian practice of rocking side to side during worship.

Second, I realized that I had not heard from God in a seemingly long while. I desperately wanted to “hear God’s voice” as I stood on the Mount of Beatitudes or to “see God’s presence” as I swam in the fresh waters of the Sea of Galilee. Only once did I remember key biblical passages reminding me that He takes care of my every need. After all, He brought me from having no money in my childhood to a university that provided the opportunity to visit the Holy Land. Aside from this, God seemed far off compared to everyone else’s experience. He showed me it was time to grow in my faith. When I returned stateside, I learned of St. John on the Cross's concept called The Dark Night of the Soul. This is a time when God seems distant, a feeling all too many Christians will experience as a wake-up call to join  the Lord in deeper communion.

Third, my travels caused the Bible to “come alive.” In Israel, I found myself wanting to see Jesus cry in the Garden and dine with His disciples over bread and wine. I wanted to sit at His feet in the unearthed synagogue in Magdala. I suppose, being in Israel created a stronger anticipation for the millennial kingdom.

Caption: (left) Jada enjoying the scenery during a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee (right) Jada getting ready to pray at the Temple’s Wailing Wall

I never dared to dream of studying abroad, but there I was in the summer of 2016, traveling to the Holy Land of my faith. TRiO, a program for first-generation college students, found an organization called Passages to make this experience possible. I can tell several stories of when my group received baptism in the Jordan river, floated in the Dead Sea, and trekked through the narrow passage of Hezekiah's tunnel. However, I will leave it up to you to experience the numerous benefits of travel abroad for yourself.

Tags:  A Better You  All Things Psych 

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“But I Thought Psychology Would Be Easy!”

Posted By Kaitlyn L. Nasworthy, Monday, September 25, 2017
Updated: Monday, September 25, 2017


"But I Thought Psychology
Would Be Easy!"

Kaitlyn L. Nasworthy, Georgia Southern University

My academic career technically started at a community college, but Georgia Southern University is where I consider my true academic beginning. At Georgia Southern University, I began to learn about the research process, reading and writing peer reviewed articles, how to write in APA format, how to choose a career within the psychology field, how to create paper and poster presentations for conferences, and so on. I learned how to be a research assistant, wrote a research proposal and created my own IRB-approved research project under a mentor, and presented the project at two conferences.

Why am I telling you this? I am using a personal anecdote to point out that until I attended Georgia Southern University, I had little to no introduction on how to truly work within the field of psychology. I am neither criticizing my community college nor the professors (both were fantastic. They introduced me to psychology, memorable figures, the history of the field, and some writing. And yet, I was fairly lost during my first few weeks at Georgia Southern University, and it took me some time to adjust to scientific thinking.

I am also not the only student to be faced with this conundrum. Many of my past and present classmates and colleagues had a hard time adjusting to this, because most high schools and many community colleges only teach MLA format and very little science outside of their standard biology and chemistry courses. As a result, many students enter the psychology field thinking it will be an easy major because it is not a “true hard science” like biology or chemistry. Because of these incorrect assumptions, I have seen classmates fail within the field, or drop out altogether, because psychology was not what they were lead to believe.

If we wish to create and keep passionate scholars within psychology, earlier exposure to the research process is crucial for students. I understand that some schools, like the community college I attended, are not research facilities. Therefore, they would not have the resources to fully introduce students to psychology research. But, they can include resources for students to research on their own. Students are ultimately in charge of their education, but students need to know what they should be looking for as well.

The wonderful thing about this dilemma is that it is relatively easy to fix. All schools and professors really need to do is introduce students to APA, research design and processes, and academic reading and writing earlier, perhaps in all standard Introduction to Psychology courses nationwide. We will see students pick the field for the right reasons and develop a passion for research and writing much earlier. They will pick solid career paths and stick with them, and know exactly what steps they need to take to get there. Psychology students too often only find their career paths because of an epiphany, and in our go-go-go society, that is not enough. Psychology students deserve to know exactly what they are getting into at the beginning, so let’s give future psychology students the information and tools they need to succeed.

Let’s Conduct an Experiment

Psi Chi members, did you transfer from a community college to a 4-year university? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below (member login required).

Tags:  A Better You  All Things Psych 

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