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8 Awesome Jobs That Will Convince You To Be A Psychology Major

What do a race car driver, an African elephant and a paramedic have in common? Not much--except that they're all helped by psychologists. Check out these scientists in action to see which cool psychology career you should pursue.

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1. Performance Psychologist

Here's a secret about sports stars: They can benefit from consulting psychologists just like the rest of us. Dr. Jack Stark helps NASCAR drivers gain a competitive edge mentally and makes pit crew drills more efficient. By addressing what's going on in the car and on the team, Stark helps racers succeed in one of the most mentally challenging sports in the world.

2. Cognitive Neuroscientist

This may look like a scene from a video arcade, but it's actually a virtual driving simulator at the University of Utah. Dr. David Strayer, studies distracted driving by putting people through rigorous concentration tests during driving simulations. Swerve. And put down that cellphone!

3. Research Psychologist

Have you ever been accused of binge playing video games? In psychologist Tim Nichols' case, that just means he's working hard. As a user research lead at Microsoft Studios, he gets paid to play video games. By observing, measuring and analyzing human behavior in the world of gaming, Nichols helps design and develop video games that challenge players — and keep them hooked.

4. Industrial/Organizational Psychologist

What does psychology have to do with helicopters? By replicating decision-making scenarios in high-stakes locations, Dr. Eduardo Salas learns what causes communication errors and how teamwork can help individuals during stressful situations, like working in a medevac helicopter.

5. Conservation Psychologist

While you're busy watching this hungry giraffe, psychologist Susan Clayton is busy watching you. Dr. Clayton researches how people interact with and are affected by animal exhibits at zoos. Then she uses that info to persuade people to take steps to protect the animals’ natural habitat.

6. Health Psychologist

With young adults in the U.S. gaining an average 30 pounds between ages 18 and 35, Dr. Deborah Tate, identifies strategies for people to lose weight — and keep it off. Her research is expanding the proven benefits of face-to-face weight loss programs that also incorporate apps on cellphones and tablets.

7. Neuropsychologist

When Dr. Jennifer Manly first stumbled upon research showing that elderly African-Americans and Hispanics exhibited higher rates of Alzheimer’s disease than elderly whites, she wanted to know why. Now she's deep in a research project at Columbia University that's exploring how cultural and educational differences might affect the development and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.

8. Social Psychologist

Ever wonder who determines what fonts work best on the world’s most popular website? As a human factors psychologist for Google, Dr. Dawn Shaikh conducts research and works with engineers to develop new typefaces, spruce up digital content, and improve the overall look and readability of fonts for the search engine.

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