It is unclear to me how people in psychophysics are trained. Are they psychologists, or physicists, or physicians, or biologists, or physiologists? Or can they be any of those?

What if someone doing psychophysics (according to his own accord) is making statements about biological pathology?

Is Psychophysics currently a credible scientific field?


Short answer
Psychophysics is a multidisciplinary field featuring people with a Physics, Psychology, Medicine and/or Biology background.

OK, here follows a lot of personal account to illustrate where psychophysicists may come from.

Traditionally, psychophysics is a part of Psychology.

I do a lot of psychophysics and I'm a Biologist by training (MSc), but learned psychophysics during a postdoc. My supervisor teaching me psychophysics was a physicist (MSc) who acquired their skills during their PhD (in visual sciences).

My current supervisor is a physicist by training (MSc), but has done heaps of psychophysics as part of his post-grad Audiology training.

Many of my psychophysics colleagues are in fact physicists.

  • $\begingroup$ Sounds like you have to be a jack of all trades. Or does this depend on what you look at in your research? $\endgroup$ – jjack Dec 20 '17 at 9:57
  • $\begingroup$ @jjack I don;t think you have to be a jack of all trades, it's more that the field is a mixed population of folks ending up doing the same thing. $\endgroup$ – AliceD Dec 20 '17 at 10:03
  • $\begingroup$ I am a bit skeptical, because the sequence of scientific fields from physical stimulus to pathologic behavior of cells is quite long. And what if the mind is involved too? $\endgroup$ – jjack Dec 20 '17 at 10:15
  • $\begingroup$ Excluding "blunt trauma" and such. $\endgroup$ – jjack Dec 20 '17 at 10:22
  • $\begingroup$ Psychophysics is a tool to obtain data. Of course, interpreting it is an entirely different thing :) If you use it in an experimental lab or in a diagnostic hospital setting makes all the difference for sure. $\endgroup$ – AliceD Dec 20 '17 at 10:24

Through necessity. I recently started working in Dr. Sohee Park's lab at Vanderbilt University processing the psychophysiology data generated during the Virtual reality social skills training game for both the patients who have schizophrenia and the control subjects. My personal background is a double major in computer engineering and in neuroscience and I definitely have the experience using Matlab and python/dlang/whatever else to process data and ti write scripts for preprocessing data. That being said, even though I understand how one takes an input signal and filters it and process it by FFT pull out the relevant frequency domain information, there was a lot of learning why the particular methods and constants where used and what each signal and the extracted fearures actually mean. Likewise, the methods for processing the relevant features using machine learning are also new to me. To be good at research you have to be able to constantly learn new skills as you need them to get things done.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think learning new things is very important in any occupation. I'm just sometimes astonished about how fast I also forget things again. $\endgroup$ – jjack Dec 21 '17 at 12:38

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