Research Spotlight

Applied Psychology

Tarleton State University’s M.S. in Applied Psychology is a 30 hour program designed for students seeking to apply psychological science into a career in research, counseling, teaching, or another related field. The program is offered through either a thesis track or non-thesis track at the Stephenville campus, and has a strong research focus.

“I think the applied nature of the program creates a situation where students can go a lot of places,” said Dr. Amber Harris-Bozer, assistant professor with the Department of Psychological Sciences. Commenting in regards to big data concerning human behavior, Dr. Bozer stated: “Psychologists understand people, but they also understand data—how to collect data, how to design data collection, and how to analyze it. I think there will be big data opportunities for them.”


Dr. Bozer has recently introduced an EEG lab to Tarleton State University. Dr. Bozer, along with TSU student researchers, are studying how chronic pain affects the brain and the way people make decisions, primarily in regards to whether we choose to approach or avoid a particular situation by testing the brain activity while the subject makes a decision. The researchers can then compare how those who do suffer from chronic pain make decisions in comparison to those who have not experienced chronic pain. “A lot of pain literature has focused on escape from pain, but chronic pain patients don’t have that choice. They have to wake up every morning and decide if they want to face their pain and go grocery shopping, or go to their job, or to get any kind of reward.” This is incredibly innovative research as approach-avoidance decision-making for pain has yet to be extensively studied in conjunction with a neurophysiological measure.


Dr. Bozer is looking for any participants to help with this study, both male and female, with no regards to age, classification, etc. Whether you currently experience chronic pain, you have experienced chronic pain in the past, or you have never experienced chronic pain, you can assist them in completing research for this study.

*Note: There is no pain inflicted on the research subject.

To sign up for the study on pain, or to learn more about the graduate program in Applied Psychology at Tarleton State University, contact Dr. Amber Harris-Bozer at

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