Introduction to Psychology/Industrial-Organizational Psychology

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Industrial and organizational psychology (I/O) is among the newest fields in psychology. Industrial Psychology focuses on improving, evaluating, and predicting job performance while Organizational Psychology focuses on how organizations impact and interact with individuals. In 1910, through the works and experiments of Hugo Munsterberg and Walter Dill Scott, Industrial Psychology became recognized as a legitimate part of the social science [3]. Organizational Psychology was not officially added until the 1970s and since then, the field has flourished. The Society for Industrial Organizational Psychology has approximately 3400 professional members and 1900 student members. These two numbers combine to make up only about four percent of the members in the American Psychology Association but the number has been rising since 1939 when there were only one hundred professional I/O psychologists [3].

I/O psychologists are employed by academic institutions, consulting firms, internal human resources in industries, and governmental institutions. Various universities across the United States are beginning to strengthen their I/O Psychology programs due to the increase of interest and job demand in the field [3].

Industrial organizational psychologists look at questions regarding things such as who to hire, how to define and measure successful job performance, how to prepare people to be more successful in their jobs, how to create and change jobs so that they are safer and make people happier, and how to structure the organization to allow people to achieve their potential.[3]

Human factors psychology is the study of how cognitive and psychological processes affect our interaction with tools and objects in the environment. The goal of research in human factors psychology is to better design objects by taking into account the limitations and biases of human mental processes and behavior.