The first university laboratory for psychology was founded at the Finnish University of Turku already when the university was founded in 1922. The laboratory was then under the direction of the professor of philosophy. Psychology was ordained as an independent discipline in 1955. Currently the discipline has a complement of 60-70 teachers, researchers and other staff. Psychology is the main subject of ca. 300 students.

Research in psychology takes place at the crossroads of many fields of science. Psychology is the study of human activities and its patterns by asking the following questions: How does the human mind work? How does the brain work? What causes action in humans? Why do people act like they do? How does the mind develop over the lifetime of a person? What causes the various emotions humans feel? How does behaviour change when in others' company? What personal differences are there in how the mind functions and in behaviour from one individual to another? The functioning of the human mind and human behaviour are studied in all possible walks of life and in diverse situations: in traffic, at school, in a sports team or in a meeting, but also when a person is depressed, happy, intoxicated or angry.

The discipline of psychology houses the multidisciplinary Research Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience and the Centre for Learning Research, a joint venture of the faculty of education and the discipline of psychology. A multiprofessional teaching clinic is run in cooperation with the discipline of social work.

The main focal points of research are studying bullying at school and its prevention (the KiVa International project), research on cognition and various states of consciousness (like dreams), studying the neural basis of various cognitive processes, and research on reading and reading comprehension (including the psychology of language). The discipline also hosts research on the early socioemotional development of children and behaviour in traffic.

Studies in psychology are primarily designed to lead to a psychologist's profession. The cornerstone of the discipline's teaching is cooperation in the Psykonet network formed by all six of Finland's departments/disciplines of psychology.



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