Due to its focus on human behavior and mind from various perspectives, psychology is an incredibly interesting field which can bring immense satisfaction and a deep understanding of people. Obviously, this is also a very complex knowledge area and presents serious challenges for anyone enrolled in studying it.
Any research topic in psychology may require extensive research, often interdisciplinary which depends greatly on the particular psychology field. Hence, research papers resulting from this research represent a serious effort undertaken by psychology students along their academic track. One aspect students might feel anxious about when writing research papers is selecting the psychology research topics that interest them most. Below, we try to facilitate this task by providing a wide choice of such topics but also some general guidelines for writing good psychology papers.
Psychology Research Paper Definition and Purpose
A psychology research paper is the culmination of a significant writing effort, following extensive literature research, oftentimes, limited to peer-reviewed academic articles alone, processing and assembling evidence, and delivering it efficiently to the reader. In case they have an experimental component, such papers might require understanding/application of experimental methods: surveys, sampling techniques, statistical procedures or tests to assess correlation, significance, effect size, etc.
The typical purpose of papers on various psychology topics is the demonstration of deep knowledge in the field by students, testing thought originality, but also efficient navigation through corresponding specialty literature for finding reliable evidence and efficient written communication.
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Writing Tips for Psychology Research Papers
What does it take to write a good psychology research paper? It relies on several factors combined:
- choosing an engaging topic — obviously, there are topics in psychology that are undeniably sexy and there are others that might seem rather boring. If you can freely choose one, then happy you! Otherwise, don’t despair, since there are multiple ways to make even less attractive topics more gripping by making connections, by narrowing down the topic to a group of subjects, etc.
- exploring/producing relevant ideas — this defines your content, so make sure you raise up intriguing or shocking questions, propose and argue for shifts in current paradigms.
- doing high-quality research – reliable sources must be used and properly referenced, avoiding plagiarism, conveying messages correctly. If working with academic papers, watch out for journal impact factor or other citation metrics even for each article individually.
- writing informatively/inspiringly – everything counts here: correct language, style, precision, conciseness, correct professional term usage but also good paper structure, clear hypothesis, good introduction, conclusion, etc.
How to Choose Good Psychology Research Paper Topics
If you are looking for some interesting psychology topics, there are a few strategies that would likely prove handy:
- Based on your knowledge so far, remember an idea, then try to search it online alternating more relevant keywords — if the idea is a valid research hypothesis, it is very likely it has already been researched so that you'll find links to academic articles on the topic. Alternatively, you might stumble on related and equally interesting ideas. In practice, this is among the most effective and fast methods for identifying an original fascinating idea that also matches your hobby.
- Locate some large topic lists (ideally, as close as possible to the subfield that interests you) and skim through these — this latter strategy ensures you explore a broad selection of potential psychology paper topics rather than limit yourself to just a few ideas you might brainstorm or remember from your course.
- Start reading a general article about the subfield you are interested in (even a Wikipedia article or any printed literature would do). You will likely find several interesting topics that can be explored in greater detail.
- If you have some competing topics which make it hard to decide, try to do some basic exploration to assess information abundance and quality for each topic.
- Also, try reflecting on the chosen topic as well as on what exactly would be covered in advance so that it is given a chance to develop into a more interesting/realistic/informative one.
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100 Psychology Research Paper Topics Divided into Categories
Below are 100 psychology research paper topics split into 10 different categories/subfields. You can choose and contact our affordable research paper writing service for help!
Social psychology topics
- Discrimination psychology
- Tajfel & Turner’s social identity theory
- Perceiving the self
- Causes of dehumanization in the Stanford prisoner experiment
- How is society modeling our behavior (from the perspective of Bandura’s social learning theory)?
- How obedience to an authority figure can lead to cruelty (according to Milgram’s shock experiment)
- The role played by unfamiliar environment in Milgram’s shock experiment
- How group belonging can alter an individual’s behavior
- Measures of controlling aggression during street demonstrations
- Conformity, compliance, and obedience as a function of social status
- REM sleep physiology
- Consequences of following continuous sleep disruption at the REM phase
- Lucid dreaming physiology and neurobiology
- Brain mechanisms underlying attachment/bonding
- Physiology of a brain in love
- Physiological differences in brains determined by gender
- Anger/aggression physiology
- Role played by serotonin and dopamine in feelings of happiness and pleasure/reward
- Hierarchy of neural “layers” involved in visual perception
- Differences in sensation and perception across individuals
Neuropsychology research topics
- How does red color taste? – a neurological explanation of synaesthesia
- The role of temporoparietal junction in self-perception
- Forms of amnesia following brain damage
- An analysis of memory and cognitive processes in a patient with retrograde amnesia
- What Primary Progressive Aphasia (progressive loss of language abilities) teaches us about language processing brain regions
- Brain structures involved in time perception
- An autistic brain under Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- Functional imaging on a Buddhist monk’s brain during several types of deep meditation
- Gene expression changes induced by meditation and their likely impact on brain function
- Cerebral reorganization and neuroplasticity in patients undergoing hemispherectomy (removal/inactivation of a brain hemisphere)
Mental health research topics
- Circadian rhythm disruption as a characteristic depression symptom
- Similarities and differences between sleep paralysis and cataplexy
- Personality traits linked to higher post-traumatic stress disorder incidence rates
- Current understanding of schizophrenia etiology
- Factors contributing to multiple personality disorder onset
- Top social factors and life events endangering mental health in the US population
- Symptoms and impact of ADHD on life quality
- Environmental factors role in triggering depression
- Dementia types and associated symptoms
- Variability in recurrent behaviors elicited by people with obsessive-compulsive disorder
Developmental psychology topics
- Types of mirroring behavior in children
- Amygdala role as an agent of change in adolescent brains
- Short-term memory evolution from early to advanced age
- How much discipline is enough for harmonious development of a child’s personality?
- Midlife crisis in men and women: similarities and differences
- Key emotional needs of children (care, love support, freedom, safety, being accepted and understood, etc.)
- Child abuse as the causative factor for multiple psychological afflictions in later life
- Impact of ignoring a child’s emotional needs on adult life
- Mirror test in children and animals (similarities and differences)
- Psychological changes associated with old age
Health psychology research topics
- Psychological assistance role in managing eating disorders
- Group therapy efficiency in palliative care
- Managing chronic pain through meditation techniques
- Most effective interventions to enforce abstinence in drug addicts
- Lessons learned from the 12 steps listed by Alcoholics Anonymous rehabilitation programs
- A psychological interpretation of the central role of belief in Alcoholics Anonymous Rehabilitation programs
- Approaches used to manage stress and depression in cancer patients
- Physical exercise as a valuable tool for controlling mood and stress
- Effect of social interaction and physical exercise on cognitive abilities
- Communication strategies with patients to encourage regular screens (for breast cancer, heart diseases, etc.)
Forensic psychology research topics
- How reliable eyewitness memory is? – famous cases involving memory fallibility in judicial processes
- Risk factors for unreliable eyewitness evidence
- Justification for legal norms regulating minimum witness age
- Famous cases from American jurisprudence involving false memory implantation in people with high suggestibility (Paul Ingram case)
- Assessing legal competence to stand trial
- Rules of verbal interaction with criminals/eyewitnesses in court to foster cooperation
- Rules of conduct important for forensic psychologists in court
- Assessing the reliability of evidence collected under various forms of pressure excluding those mentioned by US constitutional law (the exclusionary rule)
- Variations in the definition of insanity (which absolves one from legal responsibility) across various US states
- Knowledge psychologists should possess when serving as expert witnesses in court
Educational psychology research topics
- Social reinforcement vs material rewards for encouraging learning in students
- Parenting style impact on a person’s professional specialization later in life
- Does playing complex instruments boost cognitive performance in students
- What impact does self-worth perception have on academic achievement?
- Consequences of bullying in school on self-perception
- How much study effort is ok for different ages?
- Does a no-homework policy (like in Finland) have positive effects on student performance? Is such a model applicable to the US?
- Adapting teaching for dyslexic students
- Importance of affection in teaching younger children
- Strategies to generate learning motivation in students
Criminal psychology research topics
- Key personality traits (neuroticism) that can serve as criminal behavior predictors
- Typical psychological differences between juvenile and adult offenders
- Is detaining adult and juvenile offenders together detrimental for the latter (in terms of reeducation)?
- A serial killer’s worldview – are there any common patterns across cases?
- Balance between criminal intentions and restraining factors
- What the amount of planning in preparing a crime tells about criminals
- Degree of control when committing a crime and its use for criminal profiling
- Psychological afflictions that often cause criminal behavior
- An analysis of the worldview of imprisoned criminals (What predominates, remorse, anger, disappointment, self-pity, feelings of injustice, fatalism, etc.?)
- Emotional and social needs of criminals for effective societal inclusion/integration after release
Clinical psychology research topics
- Advances and limitations in clinical manipulations of neuromodulators for depression treatment
- Cognitive behavioral therapy vs treating depression
- Electroconvulsive therapy as a last resort in treating severe depression and bipolar disorder
- Virtual Reality Exposure for treating post-traumatic stress disorder
- Clinical implications of lucid dreaming research (for psychosis, nightmares, PTSD)
- Role of emotional support for treating patients with addiction
- Ways of enforcing adherence to regimens in patients with eating disorders
- Innovative approaches in treating phobias
- Cognitive behavioral therapy for patients with autism
- Neurofeedback and sensory integration/occupational therapy for kids with Asperger’s syndrome
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