Psychological Research Essay Topics

List of Topic Ideas for the Psychology Research Paper

Psychology is a very vast subject and can be defined as the study of the human mind or mental health. With the changing times, many students are now looking at psychology as a serious career option. Submission of a research paper is part of the curriculum for psychology students in most of the universities. It becomes important to choose a right topic for the research paper in order to make the paper look effective. Psychology being a very broad topic, you may have to check which sub topic within psychology interests you the most and then explore and research more on that topic, before you start writing the research paper. Below are few research paper topics that you might find interesting to work upon:

Effects of advertisements on children

Children of this generation are exposed to many advertisements at much early ages and this has several effects on them. Advertisements influence young children to a large extent and have both positive and negative effects on them. Statistics reveal that an average child usually is exposed to nearly 40,000 advertisements in a year and the advertising industry spends a huge amount of money on the advertisements that are targeted to children. Advantages with children being exposed to advertisements include, awareness and knowledge about latest technologies and innovations, healthy food and diet options to choose from, inculcating few good habits shown in the advertisements etc. However, there are more disadvantages and negative effects of advertisements on children: Children become more impulsive to buy the flashy products shown in the advertisements; Children also tend to imitate or perform the stunts shown in the advertisements, their eating habits change and inclination towards junk food increases affecting their health, Children might sometimes misinterpret the information that is being conveyed in the advertisements etc. You can write about many other effects of advertisements on children by providing few examples and also statistical data and related facts.

Psychological factors that cause depression

There are many factors and reasons that cause depression. Though it is very difficult to ascertain the exact cause of depression in an individual, we can try to understand the factors or reasons possibly causing the depression and further help the individual to overcome the depression. There are many psychological factors that often cause depression such as thinking patterns, bereavement or loss, sense of failure, and stress. One of the common thinking patterns that cause depression is to think that others are talking and thinking bad about you and get helpless and depressed. Many people also think that they are responsible for anything bad that is happening with them or around them; this kind of thinking pattern also leads to depression. In the event of separation or bereavement of their loved ones, many people get into depression. Loss of support, loss of job, loss of huge savings, also disturbs people pushing them into depression. Ambitious individuals sometimes cannot bear failure and often get depressed if they fail or sense any failure in terms of achieving their goals. You can write about how a stressful event in life depresses and affects the mindset or thinking ability of the person. You can also talk about useful techniques to overcome depression.

Role of social environment in personality development

Factors associated with social environment have a very significant role in the personality development of an individual from a very early stage. It has been studied and proved that children try to imitate their parents to a large extent and get influenced by the factors surrounding them. Individuals will have a large influence of the factors at home, which include the practices of the family at home, culture followed, habits encouraged by parents etc. Similarly, there are many other social factors at school and the society that influence and affect the personality development of an individual. You can discuss about factors like, behavior of teachers, manners of classmates, traditions and norms of the society, religious customs and practices that affect the personality development of an individual. You can also talk about how an individual after certain age or time can explore on the possibility to work on the personality development without much influence of the social factors. You can include some real life examples explaining how social factors affect the decisions of individuals and thereby affect their personality.

Symptoms and causes of stress

Stress is a topic that most of us talk about quite often. Stress can be any feeling of pressure, tension or strain. People get stressed out while they deal with situations that are challenging or demanding. Stress affects us emotionally and physically. While there could be many reasons causing stress, each person responds differently to stress. Most common symptoms of stress are, frequent headaches, sweating, increased heart rate, trembling or shaking, feeling irritated or anxious, back pains etc. Similarly, there are many factors which cause stress to an individual like, a new born in the family, loss of job, additional responsibilities at work, financial problems, conflicts with family members or friends, under pressure to perform etc. Based upon the environmental conditions there can be several other factors that can cause stress. There can be no stress-free life, and all of us have to deal with stress at one or other point in time. Sometimes positive stress is required to accomplish new goals and achieve better results. We have to be able to cope with the stressful situations in order to reduce the effects of stress on us. You can write about the other factors and symptoms of stress and how it affects the mental health of a person. Or, you can further narrow down the topic by choosing to discuss on a particular type of stress like, acute stress, chronic stress, work related stress etc. You can also discuss stress reduction techniques that are effective.

Those with questioning minds take philosophy courses because they want to learn about the problems that people have pondered throughout time. Others take philosophy courses because it's required as part of the curriculum. Both are valid reasons. Either way, you'll likely be required to complete a research paper during the course, and it's crucial to pick a topic that interests you. Below you will find some ideas that should serve to get you thinking philosophically.

Show that something exists beyond the realm of ideas.

Most philosophers agree that thinking actually occurs, but beyond thinking about an object, how do we know that something really exists? What properties must it exhibit to be real? For this topic, you should consider epistemology, the nature of knowledge and the relationship between what is real and how we think about it. When we claim to know something, how do we know that we know it? Who judges that knowledge? Consider also the relationship of language and knowledge. Using language in our internal thoughts results in our being able to determine an idea as being either true or false. You should investigate and present your findings while keeping issues like reliability, extent, kinds, and sources of knowledge in mind.

What is the best way to live? Is there an answer to this question? Can we prove it?

This topic is a concern of ethics, or moral philosophy. Consider the nature of our thoughts, especially our perception of words like "good" or "bad." Can one person's definition of such words differ significantly from that of another person, and how do we know who is right? Such thinking is in the realm of meta-ethics. Normative ethics is another consideration, dealing with how we "should" act if we want to be good. Of course, you should go beyond the realm of theory and try to give real-world, concrete examples. You'll also want to consider how we evaluate the morality of our actions; that is, we can judge them by their consequences in terms of how they affect people. More specific questions related to this topic might include the following: If a person lived outside of society, is there such a thing as being immoral? What if there were no civil laws? Why should we care about being moral?

Argue that the state (or some other government agency) should or should not be responsible for determining the distribution of goods and services within a society.

For this topic, your research should delve into the realm of social and political philosophy; that is, the nature of individuals in relation to the state. Consider concepts like law and justice as well as citizens' rights. What makes a state a legitimate entity? And what is the justification of that government? Discussing political philosophy will cross into the realm of ethics, too; that is, both are involved with what is good. Who is best able to determine what is good for the individual and for society? You may investigate Plato's ideas about philosopher-kings being the best representatives. You might also study Aristotle's point of view that a person could not be complete or virtuous without serving civic duty. If humans are equal in terms of how nature made us, why should anyone consent to being ruled by a government entity?

Defend the position that God does, or does not, exist.

The philosophy of religion is one of the earliest disciplines, yet it still makes for a valid discussion, and it relates to various branches within philosophical thought. While theologians accept the existence of God as self-evident, as a philosopher, how can you propose a foundation proving the existence (or non-existence) of God? Consider the concept of a miracle. What makes a miracle? Consider the difference between those who believe in on God, versus those who are polytheistic. Is God dependent on the observer, and what is the relationship of faith to that belief? You may also discuss the problem of evil, and discuss whether or not you think evil could coexist with a god that is all-powerful. Try to present your findings in a logical way, avoiding subjectivity when possible. For example, you may present your argument is a similar way to Greek philosopher Epicurus: 1. If an all-powerful, perfectly good god exists, then evil does not. 2. There is evil in the world. 3. Therefore, an all-powerful and perfectly good god does not exist.

Prove that there is (or is not) free will, or that we consciously create our own values and meaning.

Consider what makes an individual - what the true essence of being human is? Is it determined by a particular set of experiences and subjective ideas? Or do things like labels, stereotypes, and other people's preconceived notions determine who we will ultimately become? Take under consideration the ideas of existentialist philosophers like Kierkegaard, Sartre and Nietzsche. For example, Kierkegaard was concerned with religious faith and the individual's subjective perception of that faith; that is, the way we view truth depends upon our own relationship with existence. On the other hand, is there such a thing as fate? Are certain things predetermined by the universe? Give examples of what you think are people "making" their own reality.

What is art? What constitutes art, and what is its function?

Since this topic deals with aesthetics, the philosophy of art, you'll need to discuss the sensory appeal of something considered to be beautiful, but go beyond that. Why do our opinions of what is beautiful differ from person to person? You might also consider how subjectivity relates to aesthetics. That is, how do our own personal experiences and point of view determine what we find aesthetically pleasing? What "standards" exist? That is, on an objective level, certain characteristics may be considered at least somewhat universally pleasing. You should also investigate the function of art. Art may serve as "art for the sake of art," or it may be to educate, or it may be to teach some moral belief or truth. Consider the emotions that art conjures up. Is an object only art if it is perceived that way by an observer?

Below are some more topics that you can check:

  • Short and long term memory
  • TV violence and its effects on children
  • Social networking
  • Music therapy and its effects
  • Multiple intelligences
  • Psychological effects of pain

Are you searching for a great topic for your psychology paper? Sometimes it seems like coming up with a good idea for a paper is more challenging than the actual research and writing. Fortunately, there are plenty of great places to find inspiration and the following list contains just a few ideas to help get you started.

Finding a solid topic is one of the most important steps when writing any type of paper. It can be particularly important when you are writing a psychology research paper or essay. Psychology is such a broad topic, so you want to find a topic that allows you to adequately cover the subject without becoming overwhelmed with information.

As you begin your search for a topic for your psychology paper, it is first important to consider the guidelines established by your instructor. In some cases, such as in a general psychology class, you might have had the option to select any topic from within psychology's broad reaches. Other instances, such as in an abnormal psychology course, might require you to write your paper on a specific subject such as a psychological disorder.

Focus on a Topic Within a Particular Branch of Psychology

The key to selecting a good topic for your psychology paper is to select something that is narrow enough to allow you to really focus on the subject, but not so narrow that it is difficult to find sources or information to write about.

One approach is to narrow your focus down to a subject within a specific branch of psychology. For example, you might start by deciding that you want to write a paper on some sort of social psychology topic. Next, you might narrow your focus down to how persuasion can be used to influence behavior.

Other social psychology topics you might consider include:

Write About a Disorder or Type of Therapy

Exploring a psychological disorder or a specific treatment modality can also be a good topic for a psychology paper. Some potential abnormal psychology topics include specific psychological disorders or particular treatment modalities, including:

Choose a Topic Related to Human Cognition

Some of the possible topics you might explore in this area include thinking, language, intelligence, and decision-making. Other ideas might include:

Consider a Topic Related to Human Development

In this area, you might opt to focus on issues pertinent to early childhood such as language development, social learning, or childhood attachment or you might instead opt to concentrate on issues that affect older adults such as dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

Some other topics you might consider include:

Critique a Book or Academic Journal Article

One option is to consider writing a psychology critique paper of a published psychology book or academic journal article. For example, you might write a critical analysis of Sigmund Freud's Interpretation of Dreams or you might evaluate a more recent book such as Philip Zimbardo's The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil.

Professional and academic journals are also a great place to find materials for a critique paper. Browse through the collection at your university library to find titles devoted to the subject that you are most interested in, then look through recent articles until you find what that grabs your attention.

Analyze a Famous Experiment

There have been many fascinating and groundbreaking experiments throughout the history of psychology, providing ample material for students looking for an interesting term paper topic. In your paper, you might choose to summarize the experiment, analyze the ethics of the research, or evaluate the implications of the study. Possible experiments that you might consider include:

Write a Paper About a Historical Figure

One of the simplest ways to find a great topic is to choose an interesting person in the history of psychology and write a paper about them. Your paper might focus on many different elements of the individual's life, such as their biography, professional history, theories, or influence on psychology.

While this type of paper may be historical in nature, there is no need for this assignment to be dry or boring. Psychology is full of fascinating figures rife with intriguing stories and anecdotes. Consider such famous individuals as Sigmund Freud, B.F. Skinner, Harry Harlow, or one of the many other eminent psychologists.

Write About a Specific Psychology Career

​Another possible topic, depending on the course in which you are enrolled, is to write about specific career paths within the field of psychology. This type of paper is especially appropriate if you are exploring different subtopics or considering which area interests you the most. In your paper, you might opt to explore the typical duties of a psychologist, how much people working in these fields typically earn, and different employment options that are available.

Create a Case Study of an Individual or Group of People

One potentially interesting idea is to write a psychology case study of a particular individual or group of people. In this type of paper, you will provide an in depth analysis of your subject, including a thorough biography. Generally, you will also assess the person, often using a major psychological theory such as Piaget's stages of cognitive development or Erikson's eight-stage theory of human development. It is also important to note that your paper doesn't necessarily have to be about someone you know personally. In fact, many professors encourage students to write case studies on historical figures or fictional characters from books, television programs, or films.

Conduct a Literature Review


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