Historically known as a center for humanistic psychology, the psychology department at West Georgia holds international recognition for its unique programs that draw from the humanistic, transpersonal, and critical psychology traditions. We emphasize "psychology as a human science," and the three degree programs in our department engage students with psychological research and theory that fosters critical thinking and human science methods toward a nuanced understanding of human experience. Our programs also emphasize exploration of sociocultural and historical context, application of psychology to real-world situations, development of creative potential, and contribution to the common good.
Our B.S. program ensures that undergraduate students are broadly prepared to enter into the work world or to pursue further education with an integrated understanding of the human experience.
Our M.A. students are encouraged to create a unique path of awareness and learning according to their interests and goals, and at the intersection of scholarship, praxis, and personal growth.
Our Ph.D. students are distinctively prepared to bring philosophical reflection and a pluralistic methodological framework to bear on the complex needs of a rapidly changing society.
Virtual Tour: Our Department Home
In 2018 we were grateful to commission the artist Manami Yagashiro Lingerfelt to paint
a beautiful mural for the departmental home of the UWG psychology community, Melson
Hall. This video showcases a virtual tour of the mural and department. You can view
more of Manami’s creative process and whimsical artwork at:
Historical & Philosophical Roots
"Development of a humanistic orientation at West Georgia was but one expression of fundamental social changes in America which had been gaining momentum for some time. Relative economic and technological success had not brought with it concomitant progress towards the personal or collective experience of fulfillment. The very attitudes which accompanied victory in the battle at the survival level were proving inadequate or inappropriate in discovering means for greater personal and social realization. Humanistic or "3rd Force" Psychology focused attention on assumptions and methods which promised to move beyond previously limiting conceptions of human potential without, however, denying to those conceptions their value within appropriate contexts.” - Mike Arons
Learn about the unique humanistic history of our department, and how its legacy lives on in our philosophical values today.
Research Labs & Projects
Exceptional Experiences Lab
Dr. Christine Simmonds-Moore's lab researches exceptional experiences such as alterations
in consciousness, synesthesia, experimental parapsychology (extrasensory perception
and mind-matter interactions), and paranormal and transpersonal experiences. A PBS
episode featuring Dr. Simmonds-Moore and graduate students discussing their research
on ghost experiences can be viewed
She is currently working with Dr. David Mitchell on survey research about interception,
mindfulness and exceptional experiences, in addition to other projects. Interested
students can contact
Please browse this slideshow for more research projects, labs, and opportunities currently happening in the psychology department.
Narrative Research Group
Dr. James Christopher Head is currently supporting doctoral students in conducting narrative research: a method of inquiry which explores narrators’ experiential accounts in order to understand how they navigate the material conditions of their lives, construct meaning from those experiences, and negotiate the psychological complexity of those meanings. This working group is an extension of his Narrative Psychology course. Interested students can contact email@example.com.
Phenomenological Film Collective
The Phenomenological Film Collective (PFCollective) is a research-filmmaking group launched by Dr. Nisha Gupta. The group produces phenomenological films about various lived experiences for the purpose of sociocultural healing, using her cinematic-phenomenological research method. PFCollective’s films include “illuminate” about the lived experience of being in the closet, “To let the clouds go gently by” about the lived experience of mindfulness meditation, and “Inhabitation of inhibition” about the lived experience of breastfeeding in public. Interested students can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.pfcollective.com.
Dr. Marie-Cecile Bertau runs a research group with graduate students studying " language-as-activity," which explores the psychological workings and effects of language in human life, and how to theorize and investigate the intricate relation between language and the self. Dr. Bertau’s group also researches how voice is lived and experienced by individuals, including the collective voice which represents social-cultural norms. Common analyses of language data are regularly done. Interested students can contact email@example.com.
Psychological Studies of Science and Technology (PSST!)
Dr. Lisa Osbeck runs the lab Psychological Studies of Science and Technology (PSST!), which explores the psychological dimensions of science: science as practiced by persons. Psychological studies of science incorporate historical, philosophical, cognitive, and sociological studies but foreground the particularity of persons. She has supported students in projects about replication, generalizability, the psychology of model development, imagination in science, motivation for commitment to environmental science, and values in psychology, using theoretical and qualitative inquiry. PSST! meets regularly; interested students can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or lab manager Stephen Antczak at email@example.com.
Psychology on Youtube!
Dr. Eric Dodson is spreading human science psychology to the masses on his incredible Youtube channel . His Youtube videos strive to make psychological and philosophical insights accessible and comprehensible to the public, by balancing intellectual substance with creativity, humor, poetics, and fun in the service of intellectual, emotional, and spiritual transcendence. While there are no research opportunities available for this project, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for requests, questions, or conversations about his videos.
Alumni and Friends
"Alumni of our psychology program are now more than 4500 strong and are living and working across the nation and around the globe. This 50th celebration invites our alumni to reconnect with each other and the faculty, as well as meet current students and learn about the plans for the next 50 years.” - Dr. N. Jane McCandless, former Dean of College of Social Sciences.Learn More
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