Social work and social science

What is ‘applied’ psychology?

Psychology eye tracking software

Our psychology degrees all have an ‘applied focus. But what does that mean?  Putting real-world experience at the heart of your learning, you will explore different perspectives and apply your learning to personal and social issues.

Lois is in her second year on our Applied Psychology BSc(Hons) degree and shares her experience of studying with us.

Many people have asked me, ‘why is the degree called, “applied” psychology? What is the difference between “normal” psychology and “applied” psychology?’, so I thought I’d share my experience of studying applied psychology 😊.

Applied psychology is about using psychological methods and theories to solve “real-word” problems. Compared to “normal” psychology, applied psychology focuses on psychology’s relevance in everyday-situations. Below I’ve listed some examples of what I have studied so give you an insight to what you’d learn through undertaking an applied psych degree!

Hostage Negotiation 🚔 – in second year, I undertook a module called Psychology of Security where we learnt about what hostage negotiation is, the psychology behind the kidnapper’s motives and the psychology used in a hostage situation. In a seminar we were given a situation where we had to “get the hostage back” using skills of negotiation that we’d learnt from the lecture.

Developing Sexualities 🌈 – in first year we looked at gender and sexualities where we focused specifically on how we develop from infancy to adulthood using biological, sociological and psychodynamic approaches. Specifically, we looked at how LGBTQ people develop their sexual preferences in a hostile environment and compared this to heterosexual development.

Consumerism 🛒 – in both first and second year we touched on advertising and consumer psychology where we looked at how businesses use psychological methods to increase consumption of goods and profit. In final year, we’re given the opportunity to use the eye-tracking machine in the context of advertising, to track an individual’s eye movement whilst they watch an advert, to find out which parts of the advert are most influential.

Parapsychology 🔮 – parapsychology is the study of paranormal activity from a psychological perspective. We used this information as the basis of a research report in first year where we investigated whether gender influences belief in the paranormal [spoiler alert: it does!].

As you can tell from the above examples, what we learn about on this degree is extremely interesting and it’s even better that we can apply our knowledge to prevailing issues in society. If you want to know more about what you’ll study, you can find it on the website or feel free to message me!😁

If you are thinking about applying or accepting your offer with us, and would like to chat with Lois, her profile can be found here.

Psychology laboratories

Psychology laboratories


You can also find lots of information on our psychology blog, including a virtual tour of our psychology labs.



If you would like information on any of our psychology courses, visit the course page – Applied Psychology BSc(Hons)Applied Psychology and Sociology BA(Hons),and Applied Psychology and Criminology BA(Hons)

Psychology and CriminologyPsychology and Sociologypsychology BScStudying Psychologyuniversity of brighton

Nikki Marshall • March 14, 2019

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