bloom booster fertilizer Psychology Topics – American Psychological Association

bloom booster fertilizer Psychology Topics – American Psychological Association

Psychology Research Paper Topics: 50+ Great Ideas

  • Share

  • Flip

  • Email

Student Resources

APA Style and Writing

Psychology Research Paper Topics: 50+ Great Ideas

By Kendra Cherry
Updated November 02, 2018

  • Share

  • Flip

  • Email

More in Student Resources

  • APA Style and Writing

    • Study Guides and Tips

    • Careers

    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

    psychology paper research topics

    Illustration by Joshua Seong. © Verywell, 2018.

    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:

    • Prejudice and discrimination (i.e., homophobia, sexism, racism)
    • Social cognition
    • Person perception
    • Attitudes
    • Social control and cults
    • Persuasion , propaganda, and marketing
    • Attraction, romance, and  love
    • Nonverbal communication
    • Prosocial behavior
    • Leadership

    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:

    • Eating disorders
    • Depression
    • Phobias
    • Borderline personality disorder
    • Seasonal affective disorder
    • Schizophrenia
    • Antisocial personality disorder
    • Profile a  type of therapy  (i.e.,  cognitive behavioral therapy ,  group therapy ,  psychoanalytic therapy )

    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:

    • Dreams
    • False memories
    • Attention
    • Perception
    • Language
    • Speech disorders
    • Problem-solving
    • Judgment

    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:

    • Bullying
    • Language acquisition
    • Media violence and children
    • Learning disabilities
    • Gender roles
    • Child abuse
    • Prenatal development
    • Parenting styles
    • Aspects of the aging process

    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:

    • The Milgram Obedience Experiment
    • The Stanford Prison Experiment
    • The Little Albert Experiment
    • Pavlov’s Conditioning Experiments
    • The Asch Conformity Experiment
    • Harlow’s Rhesus Monkey Experiments

    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

    Another possibility that would work well for a number of psychology courses is to do a literature review of a specific topic within psychology. A literature review involves finding a variety of sources on a particular subject, then summarizing and reporting on what these sources have to say about the topic. Literature reviews are generally found in the  introduction  of  journal articles  and other  psychology papers , but this type of analysis also works well for a full-scale psychology term paper.

    Design a Study or Perform an Experiment

    Many psychology courses require students to design an actual psychological study or perform some type of  experiment . In some cases, students simply devise the study and then imagine the possible results that might occur. In other situations, you may actually have the opportunity to collect data, analyze your findings, and write up your results.

    Finding a topic for your study can be difficult, but there are plenty of great ways to come up with intriguing ideas. Start by considering your own interests as well subjects you have studied in the past. Online sources, newspaper articles, books, journal articles, and even your own class textbook are all great places to start searching for topics for your experiments and psychology term papers. Before you begin, learn more about  how to conduct a psychology experiment .

    A Word From Verywell

    After looking at this brief list of possible topics for psychology papers, it is easy to see that psychology is a very broad and diverse subject. While this variety makes it possible to find a topic that really catches your interest, it can sometimes make it very difficult for some students to select a good topic.

    If you are still stumped by your assignment, ask your instructor for suggestions and consider a few from this list for inspiration.

    Was this page helpful?

    Thanks for your feedback!
    What are your concerns?

    Article Sources

    • Hockenbury, SE & Nolan, SA. Psychology. New York: Worth Publishers; 2014.
    • Santrock, JW. A Topical Approach to Lifespan Development. New York: McGraw-Hill Education; 2016.

    • Searching for sources


      Where to Locate Sources for Your Research Papers

    • Unhappy woman sitting in bed


      Depression Research Paper Topics

    • Psychology research paper


      How to Write a Psychology Research Paper

    • College student reading notebook


      Clinical Psychology Research Topics to Explore in Your Next Assignment

    • a baby playing with toys


      Great Topic Ideas for Your Developmental Psychology Papers

    • Mixed race woman in hijab looking at paperwork


      Choosing a Health Psychology Topic for Research

    • Choosing a case study topic


      Great Topics for a Psychology Case Study

    • List

      10 Steps for Writing a Better Psychology Paper

    • 482143067.jpg


      Writing a Psychology Paper? Here Are Some Helpful Tips

    • Student writing a social psychology paper


      Need a Topic? Great Ideas for Social Psychology Experiments

    • young woman looking at papers next to laptop


      Great Ideas for Personality Psychology Research Topics

    • college students sit together studying in library


      Tips to Write a Killer Intro for a Psychology Paper

    • A student writing a psychology paper


      Tips for Writing Great Psychology Papers

    • Studying a psychology research methods study guide


      How Psychologists Use Different Methods for Their Research

    • Studying the steps of the scientific method


      Do You Know the Steps of a Scientific Method for Research?

    • Social psychology research methods


      How Do Social Psychologists Conduct Their Research?

    Verywell Mind uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By using Verywell Mind, you accept our

    use of cookies.