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Why do you really pursue PhD in Psychology?

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Other than the reasons that you beutify for the application,

why would you pursue PhD in Psychology of your chosen discipline for REAL?

I know what to put in my application that would help professors to make choice for their pupils,

but I just want to know why others want this degree?...

You can write anything from....

"I love research" to...

"My parents told me to get one."


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Like applied research.

Free education instead of paying for a masters

Get paid more than someone with a masters (at least initially)

Have leg up on everyone with a masters when applying for jobs.

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I genuinely love doing research. I also enjoy the other activities associated with graduate school (e.g., copious amounts of writing, presentations, etc.). I'd do it for room and board, so it's a bonus that I actually get paid.

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From least to most influence on my actions.

4) The prestige is attractive. Since I was a kid, I wanted one for this reason, and also the fallacious, "I could, and some couldn't, so shouldn't I?" It's a fallacy that influences me still, but there's something to be said for living up to your potential.

3) $

2) I need room to stretch out. I don't want to have to report to an office day after day, year after year, so I'm building a bulwark to shelter me from that reality, because both knowledge and prestige are sources of power, and power begets freedom. After the emancipation proclaimation, most of the slaves stayed right where they were. They had nowhere to go. But do you think they felt any differerent knowing they could leave if they chose? I do.

1) I am naïve and foolhardy.

Edited by lt1196
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The final reason that fits somewhere up there is that I love doing things that are hard to do. I perform the most difficult tasks with the most vigor.

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I think that most of the time, if people don't answer "research" to this question, they will be quite depressed after a few years. :-)

For me, it's because I love research and that's what I want to do with my career.

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I am procrastinating on finishing up my revisions for my masters thesis. So, I'm writing this up as a sort of "warm up" to help me get started on that :). Just warning you, this is going to be long-winded...

So, I want a PhD in neurocognitive or cognitive psychology because:

1) I was made to be a psychologist.

I may not be as articulate as I want to be here... but here it goes--

As a preteen, for all my science fair projects leaned in the direction of psychology (one year I remember trying to test my classmates' mood at different times during the year to examine the mood- weather relationship). The first time I seriously became interested in neuroscience/psychology I was in middle school or so-- my cousin had just committed suicide at the time and I was looking for answers (especially because I had been having suicidal thoughts for a couple of years before her death...which is scary because I wasn't even 13 yet). It was easier for me to accept the fact that she was ill if I had physical "proof" that her brain (and mine) was different. I also grew up with a schizophrenic grandmother. She used to tell me that there were angels who were talking to her and that her thoughts were being recorded... I always wanted to know what she saw. This was about the age when I started feeling guilty for how I had treated her when I was younger (at this point I may have been a bit older ... like 14/15). I also have a bipolar uncle who, at the time, kept trying to kill himself every few months (actually when I was seven-ish, he once told my mom he wanted to speak with me, and then told me that he was going to kill himself... yeah, it's f*cked up). All this combined with my own manic and depressive episodes I frequently questioned reality when I was my normal self. The fact that physical changes in the brain could create these differences in the intangible...I believed that I could have all the answers to my questions about my reality, and my illness if I could understand the brain

This lead me to...

2) As a result of experiences during my preteen/teen years I gradually became an atheist, but my first research methods/experimental psychology class was a religious experience. That sounds over the top, but research is the only means by which I can answer the questions I have about my mental life: psychology is my religion. Training to become a better researcher helps me make sense of my meaningless world. So, I want a PhD to become a better researcher.

3) I enjoy debating and creating experimental designs to answer the many, many questions I have about different aspects of human cognition...and I tend to find questions everywhere. I have been known to spend weeks on literature reviews based on something I disagreed with in a random NYT article and then create hypothetical designs based on what I've found. I already do it for free-- I think it's high time I get paid for it. A PhD program will pay me for it. I also want the ability to turn my hypothetical designs into actual research... I can't do that without the independence a TT job will get me or the training I will receive as a doctoral student and a post-doc fellow.

That's why I want a PhD in psychology. I have a passion for research in psychology and would have little credibility without a PhD. I will not be able to secure the grant money I may want for what ever I want to do in the future and I don't want to be dependent on other faculty members forever. A PhD and a TT job will give me the freedom to do what I want in terms of research... I guess that's my real answer.

Now, if only I were allowed to be this truthful in a personal statement... :)

Also, being called "Dr." is kind of cool... but it's not like people in our field call each other doctor... so "meh." And, to my family, I'll never be a "real" doctor because I will not have an MD (but f*ck them).

Edited by randompsychologist
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  • 2 weeks later...

@ randompsychology, love the enthusiasm, hope you achieve you pursuit of the psych. phd!

Thank you! Yeah, I was procrastinating when I wrote up that essay ...

pheonixx... totally agree.

And, Engali, I second that!

Good luck to everyone as we start applications :unsure:

Edited by randompsychologist
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