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Psychology graduates for the digital world

November 11, 2021

Tahiya Islam

PSYCHOLOGICAL studies help understand humans better using psychological principles. With this, a psychologist can help solve some of society’s most challenging real-world problems.

For instance, many may not know that the design of some products is infused with principles of psychology, sales and marketing psychology, which are latent in our surroundings.

Psychology can even extend to how video games are designed.

“Given that E-Sports have become one of the fastest-growing industries today, it is necessary to take a look at the consequences of gaming with PUBG or DOTA 2, for example, from the perspective of psychology,” opined Dr Joel Yap Chia Keat, programme leader of the Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Psychology.

Dr Yap elaborated, “Recent research suggests that prolonged exposure to E-Sports activities is likely to predispose gamers to excessive stress and anxiety levels, which can further undermine their psychological well-being. To address this, gamers can seek psychological interventions such as evidence-based psychotherapies.”

Concurrently, psychological research focuses on identifying protective and resilience factors responsible for successful adaptation to prolonged E-Sports exposure.

Another strong technological influence on business and society currently is the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a trend where our daily life is dominated and disrupted by interconnectivity, automation, machine learning and real-time data.

Resulting digital fatigue can cause negative psychological and physical effects on our overall well-being and work output.

To address the needs of a technology-immersed society, future psychologists - exposed to learning within a technology environment as well as an understanding of technologies - need to be well-positioned to counsel and advise on psychological matters in the digital world.

Psychology solving issues in the cyberworld

As a tech-centric university, APU blends technology elements into conventional psychology teaching and learning.

By merging technology and psychology, cyberpsychology creates an understanding of the cyber world from the psychological perspective.

According to Dr Yap, in line with APU’s strong emphasis on nurturing future cybersecurity professionals, the psychology bachelor degree programme includes a module on cyberpsychology - an exploration of the interaction between individuals and technology that impacts human thoughts, emotions and cognitions.

It can be applied to phenomena such as the rise of cybercrime and the psychological make-up of those who proliferate criminal activities online.

“In this digital era, a career in human mental health will require both the human touch like structuring of mental health assessments as well as technological know-how, using modern technology tools for psychology assessments and analysis,” added Yap.

The Psychology Centre at APU is equipped with state-of-the-art tech-infused facilities.

Centre for psychology and well-being with advanced technology

APU psychology students will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a state-of-the-art psychology laboratory dubbed the Centre for Psychology and Well Being, which is equipped with eye tracking, electroencephalography (EEG) and many other devices and facilities to conduct various experiments in psychology.

Eye tracking allows for a deeper understanding of cognitive processes. By measuring eye movements, researchers get insight into the ongoing mental processes during tasks.

EEG is used to show brain activity in certain psychological states, such as alertness or drowsiness.

“Eye tracking is a sensor technology for a computer or other device to know where a person is looking that helps students better understand human attention; EEG is the physiological method to record the electrical activity generated by the brain via electrodes placed on the scalp surface.

“EEG technology is widely used in neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and biological psychology,” explained Yap.

In the three-year psychology bachelor degree programme, learners will acquire a solid understanding of psychology and its concepts in the contemporary environment and will be able to articulate what they have learned as human scientists.

“This undergraduate programme provides a clear comprehension of the human mind, behaviours and different types of personalities,” added Dr Yap.

Students will be equipped with complex problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management, emotional intelligence and cognitive flexibility knowledge and skills. For their 16-week internship in Year 2, psychology students can opt for a placement in non-governmental organisations (NGO), human resources functions in the industry, mental health centres and even in the student affairs department of higher education institutions.

Students embarking on a three-year psychology bachelor degree programme at APU have the unique option of the APU-DMU Dual Degree Scheme with De Montfort University (DMU), UK,  receiving two degree certificates and transcripts upon graduation from APU Malaysia and DMU UK.

Exciting career prospects

While the programme is designed to prepare students for a career in the psychological and mental health industry, they will also learn about how psychology is evolving through an examination of behaviours and different mental health issues.

The course links both the theoretical and practical knowledge needed to operate effectively in diverse settings.

The career path for a psychology bachelor degree holder has a wide variety.

“To be certified as a clinical psychologist, students will need to complete the Masters of Clinical Psychology and undergo certain hours of clinical training - the psychology bachelor degree is a basic requirement to further specialise in the area of clinical psychology,” reiterated Dr Yap.  

Careers a bachelor degree holder can opt for include psychology research assistant, human resource executive, talent management consultant, conflict resolution and mediation consultant, NGO executive, headhunter, customer relationship manager, market research analyst and educator.

According to the latest Annual Graduate Tracer Study by the Higher Education Ministry, 100% of APU graduates were employed upon graduation, a testament to APU’s success and pride in nurturing professionals for global careers.

To know more about APU's psychology programme and facilities, log on to www.apu.edu.my or call 03-8996 1000/1300 888 278 (toll-free) or email [email protected]

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