Although there are a plethora of unique and valuable subsets within the field of psychology, the quantitative psychology sector is a particularly important one. By learning more about the field of quantitative psychology, you can determine whether pursuing a career in this sector or integrating the knowledge and theoretical practices indigenous to it would help facilitate your personal growth and/or professional advancement goals.
Quantitative Psychology-A Basic Definition
Although broadly defined, quantitative psychology is basically the study of techniques and methods that help measure human attributes. Quantitative psychology also incorporates the mathematical and statistical modeling of various psychological processes as well as the analysis of psychological data and research studies. Quantitative psychology plays an integral role in all sectors of psychology: education, science, and public interest and practice.
Quantitative Psychology-The Research Component
One of the integral components to the field of quantitative psychology is research and development. This research and development covers many areas: statistical analysis, research design, and measurement. It also incorporates the statistical and mathematical modeling of various psychological processes. Working within these sectors, quantitative psychologists create new methodologies and evaluate the methodologies they are currently implementing in order to examine behavior under conditions existing in psychological data (such as small samples). This type of work supports the research of all sectors within the field of psychology.
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The field of quantitative psychology contains two major subfields: psychometrics and mathematical psychology. A brief summation of each subfield can be found below:
Psychometrics is a field of study that incorporates the techniques and theories involved in psychological measurements. One dimension of this field incorporates the objective measurements of knowledge, attitudes, abilities, skills, educational achievement, and personality traits. An example of this would be psychometric research which pertains to the creation and subsequent validation of assessment measures like tests, questionnaires, personality tests, and raters’ judgments. Another aspect of this field includes statistical research that has bearing on measurement theories (such as intraclass correlation and response theory).
Mathematical psychology is a specific approach to the world of psychological research that is predicated on the mathematical modeling of cognitive, motor, and perceptual processes. This sector also involves the creation of rules and regulations that establish a conjunction between quantifiable behavior and quantifiable stimulus characteristics. The purpose of the mathematical approach to quantitative psychology is to derive hypotheses that are more precise and thereby yield more credible (or “strict”) empirical validations. Oftentimes, quantifiable behavior is constituted by task performance.
Careers in Quantitative Psychology
There are many different career paths a quantitative psychologist can embark upon, but one of the most popular is that of a program analyst. Program analysts assess the design, implementation, and subsequent effectiveness of various public programs (program analysts are also referred to as program evaluators or evaluation researchers). Oftentimes, program analysts operate within the fields of health and education. Examples of the programs a program analyst might analyze include initiatives designed to improve standardized test scores for children who attend inner-city schools. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, program analysts (which they classify as management analysts) earn about $78,600 per year.
As made plain by the basic information listed below, the field of quantitative psychology is immensely important to the world of psychology. As the principles and practices of quantitative psychology are implemented, researchers and the general public can gain more information regarding how to optimize human productivity and happiness by analyzing and modifying the attitudes and actions precipitated by the mind.