The Capstone Project

The Capstone Project is a composite of the assignments produced for the course Weeks 1 through 6 Module Reports and ends with two summary pages describing the student’s top 3 specialty areas of interest at the time of the project submission and identified action steps needed for continued researching of those areas, successful degree completion and post-graduation plans.

This capstone work is a compilation of evidence of your learning. You must summarize your information from the past six weeks, not cut and paste from your earlier submitted reports.  Your focus should be on how all of this information impacts YOUR interests and plans for your academic future.


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Psychology Specialties

Cassandra Howery

American Public University

Dr. Kathy Lewis-Thomas, Instructor

Developmental Psychology

Developmental psychology can be defined as the scientific study of how human beings change in the course of their lives. This branch of psychology was initially concerned with the infants and childhood and later expanded its focus into development in adolescents, development in adult, aging and the entire life span. The field also emphasizes lifespan perspective and examines the process of typical and atypical development in humans, the normative transitions and the effect of non-normative events too (Kaslow, 2004).

There are various professional careers to enter into on completion of studies in developmental psychology. These include gerontologist who studies the aspects of aging, military psychologist who uses psychological research in the identification, treatment and prevention, and combating mental, emotional and developmental issues with military work, a health psychologist is concerned with the emotional, mental and socioeconomic factors that lead to certain illnesses and how to prevent the diseases. Other professionals include biogerontologist, the child psychologist, a clinical psychologist but all are referred to as developmental psychologist.

The practitioners in this field require a methodology of developmental research as an effort to generate knowledge and theories that have the potential for application to social issues related to the development of individuals in life. Therefore, for one to qualify for the profession of a developmental psychologist and related professions, he or she will have to develop substantive knowledge bases necessary for teaching, intervention, and research. The areas of developmental psychology to be studied fit into three categories that include cognitive development, socio-emotional development, and psychopathological development (Kaslow, 2004). In cognitive development studies, the focus is research in cognition that includes memory, cognitive changes, cognitive styles and meta-cognition in human beings. In socio-emotional development, the studies focus on social and emotional development in infants, early childhood, during adolescence and later in one’s life. This includes education on attachment friendship and parenting behaviors and support. The level of education required for one to become a developmental psychologist is to earn a Ph.D. in psychology development that involves a 4-year bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree and 2 to 4- year PHD program in the field.

The developmental psychologists specialize in certain ages and stages during people’s lifespan, and this includes focus from childhood to old age. The work setting of a developmental psychologist included schools and learning centers such as children homes, homes for the orphaned and aged, hospitals and mental health facilities, and nursing and retirement home. The average salary for developmental psychologist depends on various factors such as the level of education attained and level of experience. The average salary is set to be $86, 510 in general. Those who work in substance abuse clinics and psychiatric hospitals earn an average wage of $69, 150 while those who work in physicians’ offices earn an average wage of $109, 600.

After researching the different areas of psychology, I found some of them to be a career possibility especially the area of socio-emotional development because it is my area of interest. The interesting course taught at the Air Force Academy was an interesting area that offers me a career possibility as an air force psychologist (Raimy, 1950).

The most interesting and new thing I learnt from developmental psychology research is that Jean Piaget was one of the most influential professionals in the field who theorized that humans go through four stages of development that are sensorimotor stage, the preoperational, concrete operational and formal operational stages of in human development.

In the real world and day to day activities, the behavior of adolescents feeling better and more experienced than others, and the imaginary audience; a perception that they are being watched and constantly judged by others is related to the podcast of the “Mother Nature and Blaming victim”. These feelings are mostly exaggerated, and this is, therefore, the reason, for example, an adolescent feels offended when punished or advised for doing wrong.

A hot topic that fits the specialty is “How anthropomorphism affects a person’s attitude towards taking care of the world”. Anthropomorphism is the giving of living things human characters or abilities.

Personality Psychology

Personality psychology studies personality and its variation from one individual to the other. It also focuses on the construction of a coherent picture of the individual and the psychological processes of that individual. This specialty in depth focuses on the study if the personality in traits of people and creates employment opportunities in areas such as clinical psychology, counseling, research, teaching, marketing, and business (Kaslow, 2004).

The various professionals in the personality psychology include personality psychologist, mental health counselor, and clinical social worker, consumer psychologist whose work is to study the consumer and business trends and community psychologist, etc. Personality psychology examines the nature of humans, the individual characteristics and personality theories that are used to understand behavior and actions in people. Professionals, therefore, need to explore the social and personal influences that impact people and applications in fields such as counseling, health care, advertising and in business.

For one to qualify as a personality psychologist or a profession in the field of personality psychologist, he or she has to attain a doctoral degree in personality psychology or psychology related courses. This entails four years in studying a degree course in the field, a 2-year master’s degree and a Ph.D. doctorate in personality psychology. The type of education required is the understanding of personality and its variations. This involves a well understanding of the theories of personality; trait theories, behavioral theories and human theories, personality disorders and tests. The personality psychologist examines individual traits and how they influence the outcome of a particular individual and group actions. As a result, the career requires them o have substantial education culminating a doctorate and great deal of research experience in the field.

The work of a personality psychologist is to observe situations and how they influence individual emotions and conduct of a person. They also explain a behavior in areas such as aggression and persuasion, the theories of attraction conformity and group interactions and actions and related aspects. Therefore, they specialize in aspects of leadership, group behaviors and conflict resolution niches. Their work settings include industries in research and analysis, applied concepts and consultation (Raimy, 1950). These personality psychologists also train government officials and develop programs to improve attitudes at the workplace and analyze the business and consumer trends. They also offer consultation practices in hospitals and other health care work settings. The average salary for a personality psychologist and other professions in the field vary. Clinical counselors and school psychologists earn an average salary of $72, 710, industrial organization psychologists earn $87, 960 and others earn an average of $88, 400 per year.

During the research, I did not find anything interesting in personality psychology. It appeared to be a very challenging field and less valued no career possibility hence.

The most interesting thing I learned from the research is the mnemonic trick of memorizing Freud’s stages of psychosexual development in human beings. The psychoanalyst gives the mnemonic and explains the five stages of development which are the Oral, the anal, the phallic, latency and the genital stages of psychosexual development. The mnemonic trick given is OAPLG and in full it means Orangutans Always Play with Little Gorillas.

Bullying and racism encountered in day to day activities in real world is an experience that is related to the podcasts used, the immersion or strong interest one feels in watching a movie or reading a book or the development of high interest and feeling of joy or pain of a character in a movie is explained in the podcasts. The immersion is the result of certain factors that can also help combat racism and bullying that is experienced in society.

A hot topic fitting the personality development is “study of personality psychology can help eliminate racism”. Racism refers to the personal or group feeling or perception their ethnic group of origin or community is better or superior compared to others. Therefore, the topic should examine whether personality factors discussed in the podcasts can help combat racism.


Kaslow, N. J. (2004). Competencies in professional psychology. American Psychologist59(8), 774.

Raimy, V. (1950). Training in clinical psychology. Prentice-Hall.


APA format, at least 1200 words