A Deep Dive into the Studies of a Psychology Researcher

Psychology, with its various avenues, can be applied to various studies and scenarios. In a recent webinar, Dr. Rick Hoyle, a Psychology Professor and Researcher at Duke, answered frequently asked questions about the psychology field and the role it can play when choosing your career. The complete webinar, hosted by BeyondDreams and Psi Alpha, is on the BeyondDreams YouTube channel, but here are some of the mentioned tips and tricks!


What Is a Way, Proven by Psychology, to Figure Out What Career Is Best For You?

According to Dr. Rick Hoyle, self-regulated behavior is regulated iteratively. This means that when you have a goal, you engage in a behavior that you think will move you towards that goal. Once you have completed it, you reassess if it really helped. If it did not, you can cycle back and try a variation of that same behavior or a different behavior. The goal does not change, but you find various ways to behave to get closer to the goal.


In your career, you may have goals such as “getting a job that pays a lot of money,” “having a job that I am passionate about,” or “being a well-balanced human being.” Dr. Hoyle says that the best way to find the best career for you is to begin with setting a good goal. For example, a goal of “getting a job that pays a lot of money” can lead you to try career paths that may be unsatisfying in countless ways. Therefore, setting a goal that is beneficial for you is key. You can also cycle through various career paths to see what satisfies your goals and passions the best.


Intellectual Humility in Psychology

Dr. Rick Hoyle has recently been working on a study about intellectual humility. People who are intellectually humble are people who are willing to concede that they do not know everything. What they think they know is subject to revision if they learn new things. However, intellectually humble people may still have certain areas that they are not humble about. For instance, they may generally believe that they can be incorrect, but in a specific area, they are unwilling to see a different view.


A common example of intellectual humility in action is vaccinations. Many people consider themselves as an intellectually humble person, but when it comes to vaccinations, they know that they are right, meaning that they are intellectually arrogant in that area.


Dr. Rick Hoyle is currently working on research with Angela Duckworth, a world-renowned psychologist that studies grit and self-control. They are working on small scale interventions to get people against vaccines to consider the possibility that they could be wrong.


Difference Between Cross-sectional and Longitudinal Research

While a cross-sectional study analyzes data from a population at a specific point in time, a longitudinal study involves repeatedly collecting data from the same sample over an extended period of time.


What Type of Research Is Better?

Dr. Rick Hoyle says that scientists must make cause-effect statements. However, cross sectional studies are very limited in completing this goal because scientists must measure everything at the same time, meaning that it is difficult to come to a conclusion about a cause or effect.


On the other hand, in situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic, longitudinal studies might be detrimental in the short term. During the pandemic, there has not been time to do longitudinal studies, so believing that they are the only type of study worth doing would mean that we would not have any information about COVID-19. Therefore, scientists tend to first do a cross-sectional study, measure everything they need to control, and then decide if it needs an experiment or a longitudinal study.


In conclusion, psychology can help you decide what career path is right for you. Whether you want to go into the psychology field or want to incorporate those skills in another field, psychology is a largely versatile career option to explore.

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