Chair Welcome

Christopher Henrich, Ph.D.

henrich2What are the most important problems that we face as a society? Your answer might include issues like violence, substance abuse, education, intolerance, HIV, homelessness, physical health, debt, and mental illness. What do these problems have in common? These and many other fundamental challenges are the topics of inquiry for psychology, and are the targets of research, training, and intervention in this Department of Psychology.

What are the practical questions that matter to you personally in everyday life? How do I improve the quality of my relationships? Why can’t I change my circumstances? Can I find relief from depression or anxiety? What is the best way to study and to improve my memory? What behaviors can help me to stay healthy, happy, and mentally sharp? Why is my child struggling in school? These and a myriad of other crucial questions are the topics of psychological study and are being investigated here at Georgia State.

Psychology is the science of behavior. Psychologists attempt to understand the behavior of organisms at the social, personal, mental, and biological levels of analysis. They investigate how and why behavior changes–for example across the life span with experience, as a result of injury, or following treatment–or fails to change to adapt to conditions. Psychologists also take the principles gleaned from this scientific inquiry and attempt to apply this knowledge in a way that improves mental and physical well-being, interpersonal or intergroup relations, performance in the classroom or workplace, and general functioning in life. From the laboratory to the therapy room to the community, no science is more essential than is psychology for addressing the problems we care about most.

If you think I am overstating psychology’s significance, then I invite you to review the interests and activities of the faculty and students in this department as reflected in these web pages. Explore what the department offers by way of formal courses, research and applied practica, laboratory opportunities, community service, and clinical practice. I believe you will find abundant evidence of what the psychology department at Georgia State offers.