Psychology Research Paper Topics

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Psychology is a deep science that requires much attention from a student. When you are writing an academic project, you should be ready for hard, but at the same time very interesting work. The main thing is to make the first step. It all begins with choosing a research direction and narrowing it down to some specific issue. There are many psychology branches and problems they touch upon. If it is rather challenging for you to make a choice, the lists with good psychology research topics provided below will be of great use. 

Social psychology research topics

Social psychology is a general psychology branch that studies a person's behavior in society, phenomena occurring between interacting groups of people. This direction appeared in the middle of the XIX century. Before that, it was presented only as a social philosophy.

Its uniqueness lies in the fact that it unites sociology and psychology, cannot be attributed to any of these areas. Psychology considers mainly intrapersonal aspects and social situations, while sociology - interpersonal and social processes determining human behavior. Social psychology is focused on both intrapersonal and interpersonal aspects.

A person spends most of one's life in the society among other people, creating various groups with them: family, work team, friends, sports clubs, etc. At the same time, these groups interact with other groups, both small and large. Understanding how this interaction takes place is important for resolving business, family and national conflicts.

Groups are created for satisfying certain needs of society as a whole and each of its members individually. A group is understood as several people united by one action. For example, if people witnessed an accident and gathered on a street, such a crowd is not considered a group. But if they began helping injured people, they formed a temporary group united by one action.

Here is the list of psychology research topics related to this direction:

  • Problems of human social development
  • Infantilism as a social phenomenon
  • Human as a victim of socialization in the modern world
  • Typology of aggressive human behavior
  • The main stages of a social role development
  • A problem of social group development
  • Relationships between small groups and their influence on intragroup processes
  • Individual factors of effective group management
  • Experience as a factor of social adaptation
  • Features of communication in the modern world
  • Communication satisfaction criteria
  • Socionics and psychological compatibility of people
  • The phenomena of interpersonal influence
  • Practical problems of communication optimization
  • Methods to overcome conflict and stress
  • Conflict studying and diagnosing
  • Means, forms, patterns of psychological impact
  • Human behavior in a crowd
  • The society as a factor in an individual behavior organization
  • Psychology of mass communication
  • Psychology of social management
  • Reference group theories
  • Intergroup relations and the problem of social justice
  • Socio-psychological patterns of inter-ethnic perception
  • Personality behavior under a group pressure
  • Personality in organizational structures: the phenomenon of submission to authority
  • Methods of diagnosing and correcting an individual in a group
  • Non-verbal communication as an indicator of intragroup relations and interactions specificity
  • The role of attitudes and stereotypes in mass communication process
  • The role of media in forming and managing mass consciousness
  • Normal and abnormal mental states in mass communication
  • Psychological, linguistic and social barriers in mass communication
  • PR and propaganda: similarities and differences
  • The problem of press freedom in terms of mass communication
  • Stereotyping as a precondition for mass communication
  • The value of authority and prestige of a mass communication source
  • Combining verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Barriers to mass communication
  • Ways to attract and retain attention in mass communication
  • Preconditions for understanding messages in mass communication
  • Fashion as a socio-psychological phenomenon
  • Psychological features of political symbols and emblems
  • Psychological features of commercial symbols and emblems
  • Psychological models of a persuasive influence
  • The role of media in propaganda and agitation
  • Rumors and prejudices in PR-activities
  • Manipulation: psychological aspects
  • Socio-psychological mechanism of political power
  • An image of an ideal advertising in various ethnic and cultural groups

Cognitive psychology research topics

cognitive psychology research topics

The concept of cognitive psychology is understood as a psychology branch that studies cognitive processes taking place in a human mind. This science was born as a kind of protest against Behaviorism which excluded mental functions, such as attention, from a research field.

To date, cognitive psychology has developed into a powerful science including cognitive linguistics, neuropsychology and many other branches, even cognitive ethology which studies animals' intelligence. You may find many good topics for a psychology research paper in each of these categories.

The purpose of cognitive psychology is to consider a person as a scientist building hypotheses, schemes and verifying their validity in practice. One acts as a computer that perceives external signals in a form of light, sound, temperature, other stimuli through receptors, processes this information, analyzes it and creates templates that allow solving various problems and tasks. The basis of cognitive psychology is the study of memory, attention, sensations, consciousness, imagination, other cognitive and executive processes. Each of them includes a multitude of structural components.

This science is of particular importance for cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy. Its fundamental concept is a so-called construct. It includes speech, thinking, memory, perception features and acts as a classifier of how a person perceives oneself and other people. A system develops based on constructs. If this pattern turns out to be ineffective, a person with a healthy psyche transforms or refuses it completely, looks for a ready-made system or creates a new one.

Cognitive psychotherapists proceed from the assumption that all mental disorders, such as depression and phobias, are caused by incorrect, that is, dysfunctional constructs, attitudes and opinions. In this regard, the main cognitive psychology method is replacing non-effective patterns by creating new ones. This is done under control and with help of a psychotherapist. But one only initializes, stimulates the process and then corrects its course. As in many other psychology and psychiatry areas, a lot depends on a patient.

The following tasks are solved in a cognitive therapy process: elimination of mental disorders or reduction of their manifestations, minimization of the risk of recurrence, increasing drug therapy effectiveness, elimination of psychosocial causes or consequences of a disorder, correcting erroneous constructs.

Here are interesting psychology research topics from this category:

  • ADHD and its influence on development
  • Action learning
  • Divergent thinking
  • Autism in the modern world
  • How can theories relating to cognitive psychology be used in marketing?
  • Color psychology
  • Montessori method of education
  • Why do humans repress unpleasant memories?
  • Speech disorders
  • Experiential learning
  • How has our understanding of a brain developed over the past 50 years?
  • Cognitive science and arts
  • Attention span
  • Karl Pribram's contribution to cognitive psychology
  • The importance of problem-solving
  • False memories
  • Turner's syndrome
  • Speech perception
  • Bloom's taxonomy
  • Extrasensory perception
  • Dreams
  • Consciousness
  • Context effects
  • Ethical problems related to researching cognitive psychology
  • Perceptual illusions
  • Signal detection theory
  • Genetic epistemology
  • Metacognition
  • Cooperative learning
  • Howard Gardner
  • Adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Cognitive abilities of men and women
  • Links between cognitive psychology and neurobiology
  • Critical thinking
  • Handicapped children
  • Nightmares
  • Asperger syndrome
  • Down syndrome
  • What techniques can be used to recover memories?
  • Decision-making process
  • Language development
  • Learning styles
  • Dual-coding theory
  • Associative learning
  • Brain-based learning
  • Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)
  • Williams syndrome
  • Studying links between intelligence and problem solving
  • Judgement
  • Expectancy theory
  • Lifelong learning

Developmental psychology research topics

Developmental psychology is focused on changes that occur as a person grows up, social, biological, environmental factors influencing this process. This direction appeared in 1882, when Thierry William Preyer’s book “The soul of the child” was published. In the 20th century, developmental psychology gained the status of a psychology branch. It provides periodization of age transformations, explains motives for thoughts and actions throughout a lifespan, takes into account both universal, common, socially constructed and individual, innate features.  

Most developmental psychology research topics are devoted to childhood as it is a period of rapid growth, forming attitudes and habits which may preserve until an old age. Not for nothing, doctors say that most psychological problems appear in the early years.

It may seem that human psyche develops in a natural way and all our inclinations are determined by character traits. In fact, it is not so. Tracing patterns in biological, social, emotion, and cognitive processes prevents moral trauma, helps children overcome negative experience and develop a healthy personality not distorted by fears and doubts. Such an approach may be compared with laying a foundation before building a house.

When choosing developmental psychology topics for a research paper, you can dwell on one of the most important questions of this science:

  1. Continuity vs. discontinuity. Try to trace a way how children become adult. How this process flows? Is it smooth and measured? Or are there rapid turns and long breaks? What develops first: their social behavior, thinking or language?
  2. Nature vs. nurture. Is external intervention necessary for a child to reach new development stages?  It is impossible to deny the fact that the same DNA structure guides us all through one evolution path. However, social environment and material well-being also make their contribution. Scientists agree that both these factors influence the formation of personality. However, which one is more significant? How do they interact with each other?
  3. Stability vs. change. Are all the main character traits formed during infancy? Or are they modified as a result of interacting with relatives, teachers, friends, colleagues? Adaptability, choosing behavior patterns and attitude towards different phenomena is called plasticity. Here is a vivid example: children who were sad and somber when the lived in dysfunctional orphanages become affectionate and cheerful after being adopted.

Here are the good developmental psychology research paper topics for college students which may interest you:

  • Forming attention in preschool children
  • Features of visual thinking in preschoolers
  • Communication of children with adults during playing and learning activities
  • Perceiving fairy tales by pre-school children
  • Cartoons and feature films influence on behavior of primary school students
  • Games and cognitive development in the early age
  • Parental influence on an academic success of primary school students
  • Motivation for adolescent behavior
  • Interpersonal conflicts in adolescent communication
  • Individual features of younger students' cognitive processes
  • The role of a social environment as a mental development factor in various scientific schools
  • Studying adolescent subculture
  • The role of assessment and marks in forming student's self-esteem
  • The role of parents in shaping right ideas of sexual relationships
  • Alcoholism, drug abuse, sectarianism in adolescence
  • Causes of deviant behavior in adolescence
  • Changing attitudes towards the world in adolescence
  • Increased intellectual activity in adolescence due to more responsible attitude towards one's future
  • Building prospects for the future as a solution to a youth crisis
  • Professional and intellectual achievements of a person in an adulthood period
  • Personality characteristics of an old person
  • The role of children and loved ones in overcoming doubts and difficulties experienced due to an old age onset
  • School readiness at preschool age
  • Studying psychological characteristics of preschool children with help of drawing tests
  • Creative abilities of adolescents
  • Methods of psychoanalytic work with a child
  • Features of ego in adolescence and youth
  • Features of ego with different character accentuations in adolescence
  • Communication with peers and an aggressiveness level in adolescence
  • An adolescent group structure
  • Features of forming self-consciousness in preschool age
  • Applying clinical conversation method in studying children's thinking features
  • Developing imagination and creativity in a childhood period
  • The role of joint activities with peers in a child's development
  • Links between self-esteem level and sociometric status at preschool age
  • Options for children's psychological response to difficulties
  • Psychological portrait of a non-sociable child, aggressive dominant child, dependent child
  • Seeing oneself as a future parent
  • Anxiety: genesis and psychological conditions to overcome it
  • Mental development in conditions of deprivation
  • Developing a child's personality in a concept of CG Jung
  • Mental development of a child in the changing society
  • Moral development in childhood, adolescence and youth
  • A ratio of logical and intuitive motifs in professional intentions of adolescents
  • A moral basis of adolescents’ professional self-determination
  • Expectations of adolescents seeking professional advice
  • Age and individual crises in human mental development
  • The problem of different age processes uneven flow
  • Critical stages on a spiritual self-identification path
  • Functions of an imaginary friend in a child's mental development
  • Leadership as a giftedness phenomenon in adolescence

We hope that this article turned out to be useful and simplified choosing research topics in psychology. If you face some difficulties when performing an academic assignment, do not hesitate to ask our specialists for assistance. We are always ready to lend a helping hand!


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