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I graduated with a BA in Psychology - is there a place for me in the industry?

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Hey Everyone,

I was wondering if any experts in this forum could help me. I just graduated last spring with a BA in Psychology, and I am currently working in a visual perception and cognition lab at the same university. For the past few weeks, I've been engulfed with thoughts about what I want to do as a career. I've always been into technology and the user experience, and consequently I've looked into careers in Human Factors and HCI (Human-Computer Interaction). Unfortunately a bell has yet to ring, "THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO DO FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE!" I've heard that there are some behavioral psychologists and HCI experts out there in the gaming industry, and I have considered going on one of those paths. Again though, is usability testing or UI design what I really want?

I just recently came across graphics programming in the visual perception and cognition lab I work in, and I am loving it so far. It's so amazing to me how all of this code can turn into all the visuals of a game! I have of course had a passion for gaming all my life, and now may have a passion for programming (I've even volunteered to devote much of my time to making a new driving simulator for the lab). At the same time my love for psychology remains strong, especially regarding human visual perception (how we literally "see" the world, our vision as a tool to navigate and interpret the world, when it fails us, etc.). So tell me GameDev community: Can a guy with a knowledge of the visual system, growing fascination in graphics programming, and a passion for games make it into the industry? Would I even be useful? Do you have any suggestions, regarding my situation or related issues?


Much love,
A Game and Psych Enthusiast

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Hello Rob, you wrote:

1. I just graduated last spring with a BA in Psychology, and I am currently working in a visual perception and cognition lab at the same university.
2. I just recently came across graphics programming ... and I am loving it so far.
3. Can a guy with a knowledge of the visual system, growing fascination in graphics programming, and a passion for games make it into the industry?
4. Would I even be useful?
5. Do you have any suggestions, regarding my situation or related issues?[/quote]

1. Psychology is an excellent background for working in game design.
2. OK, so never mind game design, then. Art techs and technical artists are also very useful in the game biz.
3. Sure. Anything is possible.
4. My crystal ball is in the repair shop. But I can do a tarot reading if you like...
5. Yes. Read this forum's FAQs (click the link above).

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1. Psychology is an excellent background for working in game design.
2. OK, so never mind game design, then. Art techs and technical artists are also very useful in the game biz.
3. Sure. Anything is possible.
4. My crystal ball is in the repair shop. But I can do a tarot reading if you like...
5. Yes. Read this forum's FAQs (click the link above).


Sorry, going back I realized that I asked one of those "is it possible" questions (I had already read that in the FAQ you posted - shame on me). That was not my intention. My concern is that my usefulness in the game industry, should I try to become a vision-graphics expert, would be very limited, and I wouldn't be able to find a job as a consequence. It's a very scary time for me right now - graduate school application deadlines are coming up within a couple of months, and I have yet to decide what I want to do with my life. I wanted to become a consultant of some sort, someone that can contribute to the design of a product with their expertise. So I wanted to know if anyone knew the use of a perception psychologist with graphics programming knowledge, as I have not yet known of one that works in/with the gaming industry. I'm afraid that I may have to just drop that possibility. The closest thing I can think of doing is working with simulation software developers, but still I could just be dreaming.



AI Behavior patterns... it's easier to make ai realistic if you already know why the brain thinks the way it does.


Although understanding the human mind may help tell AI programmers what to look for, it's much easier said than done. Heck, we're still trying to find a mathematical model that can replicate typical human driving behavior. While we've gotten closer, I'd still say that it's far from perfect. Also this kind of stuff is probably associated more with behavioral psychology, which isn't where my current interests lie (yet?).

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