College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Psychology

Experimental Psychology Program Interest Areas

The doctoral program in Experimental Psychology at Washington State University is designed to produce highly skilled experimental psychologists. Degree recipients are expected to be knowledgeable about their specialty areas, to have a strong background in general psychology, to be able to identify significant research problems, and to be conversant with a wide variety of strategies for generating and testing hypotheses that emerge from these problems.

Each student will build his/her program of study around one or more specialty areas: Cognition, Biological, Social, Industrial/Organizational, Health, or Applied Quantitative Methods. The program is designed to be completed in less than 5 years for students entering without a master’s degree, and less than 4 years for students entering with a master’s degree. The department has an outstanding reputation for producing well-trained psychologists who contribute to basic and applied experimental psychology in academia, government service, and private industry.


The study of mental processes and how they relate to brain function are a major focus of human research in the department. Areas of faculty expertise include attention, perception, action representation, memory, affect, language, and general information processing at both the micro and macro levels.


   - Lisa Fournier, Ph.D.

   - Steven Lakatos, Ph.D.

   - John Hinson, Ph.D

   - Paul Whitney, Ph.D

   - Hans Van Dongen, Ph.D. (Affiliated)


Neuropharmacological and behavioral approaches are combined to explore the relationship between the biology of the organism and its behavior. Research in the department incorporates neurochemical, immunohistochemical, molecular and genetic techniques to determine causation of behavior from numerous perspectives.


   - Rebecca Craft, Ph.D.

   - Michael Morgan, Ph.D.

   - Brendan Walker, Ph.D

   - John Wright, Ph.D


Laboratory-based studies are utilized in the department to study cooperative interpersonal processes, study individual differences in social behavior, and to understand the interface between social factors and physical health.


   - Craig Parks, Ph.D.

   - Sarah Tragesser, Ph.D.

   - Joyce Ehrlinger, Ph.D.


Faculty research focuses on occupational health psychology and examines the impact of a variety of workplace stressors (e.g., job insecurity, work-family conflict, sexual harassment, discrimination) on individual, job-related, and organizational outcomes.


  - Kristen Jones, Ph.D.

 - Tahira Probst, Ph.D.


Health psychology in the department focuses on how biological, psychological, environmental, and cultural factors impact health and illness. Research in health psychology examines: the causes and development of illness, methods to help individuals develop healthy lifestyles to promote good health and prevent illness, interventions to help people cope with and reduce stress and pain, biopsychosocial connections with immune functioning, and factors in the recovery, rehabilitation, and psychosocial adjustment of individuals with serious health problems, including mental health problems. Faculty research interests include: child and maternal health; quality of life in medical populations; mechanisms and clinical treatment of pain; cardiovascular functioning in women; occupational health, well-being, and safety; methodological and statistical approaches to health research; neuropsychological substrates of mental and physical health; substance abuse and mental health; applying social psychological perspectives to health behavior motivation and change.

Note that the Health Psychology interest area within the Experimental PhD program does not prepare students to be clinical psychologists. If you are interested in a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, please consult the description of the clinical psychology program.


   - Arthur Blume, Ph.D.

   - Jessica Fales, Ph.D.

   - Renee Magnan, Ph.D.

   - Michael Morgan, Ph.D.

   - Tahira Probst, Ph.D.

   - Elizabeth Soliday, Ph.D.

Applied Quantitative Methods

This area of interest is focused on preparing graduate students for research careers in the fields of human mental and physical health, specifically as experts in data analytical techniques. Faculty mentoring will focus on developing quantitative skills that can be applied to a particular research area within the realm of mental and physical health with a strong emphasis on psychometrics and structural equation modeling. Note that this interest area does not prepare students to be clinical psychologists. If you are interested in a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, please consult the description of the clinical psychology program.


   - Leonard Burns, Ph.D.

   - Craig Parks, Ph.D.

   - Celestina Barbosa-Leiker, Ph.D. (Affiliated)

   - Sterling McPherson, Ph.D. (Affiliated)

Department of Psychology, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-4820, 509-335-2631, Contact Us