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Radix

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Hi, I’m a high school graduate planning on starting my college career in a two-year college (Georgia Perimeter College). I’m interested in human/computer interactions as well as Cognitive Psychology. My questions and concerns regard my major.

I understand that the field of Psychology generally requires a Masters or preferably a Doctorate whereas in Computer Science you can generally get off with a Bachelor’s degree. What should I start my major as, Computer Science, Psychology, or something else? What kinds of classes should I take? Would it be a good idea to try and get a dual major in Psychology and Computer Science? What should I look forware to in Grad school (assuming I'm going)?
 

Daniel

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Do you know what you want to be? A psychologist or therapist? A software tester?
 

Radix

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Computer Science for me is just a hobby as I've been programming since I was 13. But what I really want to be is a psychologist (definately not a therapist). I've been reading a lot of Psychology related materials such as The Synaptic Self, some of Noam Chomsky's work, ect. I figure with cognitive psychology I would be able to apply my interest in computers better than say Freudian psychology.
 

Daniel

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A major in psychology is definitely the way to go then. Many colleges do have an elective course on cognitive psychology that is offered by the psychology department.

The most relevent undergraduate computer science course would probably be Intro. to Artificial Intelligence.
 

David Baxter

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I agree with Daniel. You are probably looking at a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology/computer modeling if you want to do anything significant in the area.
 

HA

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Welcome Redix,

Cognitive psychology is the area that you would be able to combine your interest in psychology and computer science. I may not be totally correct but I believe that the only employment in this field would be as a researcher or professor, which would require a Phd for both. This would be a fairly competitive area.

If you are more concerned about employment versus studying an area of interest then I would think that a BA or MA in computer science would put you in the position for a range of employment opportunities. You could then add a minor in psych taking the cognitive psych courses and if your heart jumped in that direction you could still pursue it.

Athabasca has a good resource page so you can become more familiar with cognitive psychology here: http://psych.athabascau.ca/html/aupr/cognitive.shtml

This book was recommended to me as one of the best in the field when searching this topic for a family member:

The Computational Brain by Churchland & Sejnowski
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0262531208/002-0638700-5124811?v=glance

Good luck
 

Daniel

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Yes, a computer science major with a minor in psychology does seem more practical regarding employment if you want to work with computers rather than patients. It seems most of these cognitive science grad programs don't care if your undergrad major is in psychology, computers, or even philosophy (perish the thought).

There's even an undergrad major in cognitive science:
What can I do with a major in Cognitive Science? (PDF file)

Other info:

MIT Brain & Cognitive Sciences Majors Guide
Cognitive and I/O Psychologists in the Technology Industry

Cognitive psychology involves the scientific study of attention, perception, memory, language, problem solving, and decision making. This field has applications in areas such as the facilitation of learning, rehabilitation of disabilities, and the enhancement of performance in numerous tasks.
Berry College:psychology Careers
 

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