The Importance of Math and Statistics in the Psychology Field
You chose to major in psychology, but you weren’t expecting all the math that came with it. To be honest, math really isn’t your thing, so you don’t understand why you’re required to take courses like statistics. Of course, these classes wouldn’t be required if they didn’t serve a very good purpose.
Math can help psychologists better understand the brain and interpret data. Therefore, it’s important to have these skills, so you can be as effective as possible at your job. Here’s a look at several ways math and statistics are crucial to the psychology field.
Better Understand Psychology Research
Keeping up with the latest psychology research will help you provide the best possible patient care. However, you won’t be able to do this without a solid grasp on math and statistics. As you might already know, published research often contains tables, graphs, and statistical analyses that can be difficult for someone without this knowledge to interpret. If you don’t understand these concepts, you’ll be at a disadvantage because you won’t be able to fully grasp the research findings.
Enhance Your Critical Thinking Skills
Problem-solving is a huge part of working as a psychologist. Since no two patients are the same, you need the ability to think on your feet. You might not realize this, but a background in math and psychology can help improve your critical thinking skills. When you’re reading psychology studies, you need to understand the process used by researchers to gauge the effects of any major findings. Knowledge of statistics isn’t just about a series of mathematical formulas — it parallels the underlying relationships between variables you find when examining human behavior.
Collect and Analyze Data
When working in the psychology field, it’s very possible you’ll conduct research of your own. Having proficiency in math and statistics will help you better frame your studies, enhance data collection methods, and better analyze and interpret data. Without this knowledge, your research might — unbeknownst to you — contain flaws that make it less effective. You might also make other key errors like failing to gather the right type of data, improperly analyzing data, and misinterpreting findings. This, of course, can have a negative impact on both your patients and those of other psychologists who read your research.
Determine the Relevance of Studies
There’s a lot of information out there about psychology. Whether you’re reading a journal, book or magazine, there’s no shortage of studies offering different takes on patient care — and the author’s unique interpretation of the data. When you’re able to comprehend the math behind the research process, you can make your own judgments. This will allow you to provide a higher level of patient care because you’ll be making decisions you truly stand behind. Anyone can follow current psychology trends, but only those with the right math skills can really understand their relevance.
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