Top 50 Psychology research paper topics for a successful paper

Without a doubt, psychology is one of the most interesting branches of science. It influences every aspect of everyday life and has an impact on the human subconscious. Because of its focus on human behaviors and the mind from different perspectives, psychology is an interesting area of science that can give you immense satisfaction and a deeper understanding of humans. As one of the most complex knowledge areas, it presents some serious challenges for anyone learning psychology.

If you are a psychology student or studying therapy for an undergraduate or post-graduate program, writing a psychology research paper will be part and parcel of your psychology homework

What is a psychology research paper?

A psychology research paper is a type of academic writing done after extensive literature research from reviewing academic articles, processing and gathering evidence, and delivering it in written text that all readers understand. These papers can sometimes contain experimental evidence that includes sampling techniques, surveys, and statistical tests and procedures.

The main purpose of a psychology research paper is to demonstrate deep knowledge in the field. It is meant to inform the reader about new ideas, theories, and experiments in psychology. This is why your paper needs to deliver clarity and brevity while minimizing descriptive writing as well as complex sentence structures.

One of the most important parts of your research work is coming up with an ideal research paper topic when writing a psychology research paper. It is not possible to write a paper without first considering a topic. Also, the kind of topic you choose will determine how easy or tasking writing your research paper will be.

The topic you choose for your research paper requires thorough consideration. It is often an interdisciplinary area of learning, and thus the topic depends on your field of learning. This is why choosing a psychology research paper topic can pose a serious challenge to most students. Most students have a hard time deciding on a research topic that interests them most.

Here is everything you need to know about choosing a psychology research topic and writing your paper.

Learn how to write a research paper like a pro

Choosing the right topic for a psychology research paper

Finding a solid topic for your paper is one of the most important parts of any research work. Psychology is generally a vast area of study. Thus, you need to find a topic that will provide adequate material to cover your subject without overwhelming your reader with too much information.  

In some cases, especially if you are in the general psychology class, you have the option to choose any topic as long as it is covered in psychology. In other cases, if you are attending a specialized psychology class, your topic options are limited to those related to your line of study. For instance, if you are studying abnormal psychology, your topic options should be related to psychological disorders.

When you begin the search for the best topic for your psychology research paper, it is important to ensure you adhere to the guidelines established by your professor.

Focus on a topic in a specific branch of psychology

The key to choosing the best topic for your psychology paper is to choose one that focuses on a very specific aspect of the field. A narrow topic allows you to fully focus on the subject while at the same time having enough material to write on.

For instance, if you decide that you want to write a paper on social psychology, you can narrow down your focus on researching how persuasion influences behavior. Other social psychology topics you can explore include:

  • Attitudes
  • Social cognition
  • Prejudice and discrimination
  • Personal perception
  • Social control and cults
  • Attractions, romance, and love
  • Persuasion, propaganda, and marketing
  • Leadership
  • Prosocial behavior
  • Nonverbal communication

Topic ideas for psychology research papers

Critiquing an academic journal or book

One of the avenues you can explore when writing a psychology research paper is reviewing an existing book or academic journal. For instance, you can write a critical analysis of a book like The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil by Philip Zimbardo. Other options include critiquing academic and professional journals.

The university library can provide titles related to different subjects you may be interested in. you can also look through recent articles to find material that grabs your attention for a review.

Analyzing famous psychology experiments

Throughout the history of psychology, there have been numerous groundbreaking and fascinating experiments that can provide enough material for students to go through and analyze. For your research paper, you can consider summarizing an experiment, analyzing the ethics of the research, and evaluating the study's implications. Some experiments you can consider analyzing 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

Writing a paper on a historical figure

One of the easiest research papers you can write is one on a historical figure in psychology history. The paper can focus on numerous different elements of the person’s life, like their biography, professional history, influence on psychology, and the theories they explored.

Even though this type of paper is often historical, your writing should not be dull and boring. You can consider writing about eminent psychologists like Sigmund Freud, B.F. Skinner and Harry Harlow, among other notable figures.

Creating a case study on a group of people or a specific individual

An interesting pick for your psychology research paper is creating a case study on a group of people or a specific individual. For this type of research paper, you are required to provide an in-depth analysis of the subject, including a well-researched and written biography.

You are required to assess the individuals or groups using psychological theories like Erikson's eight-stage theory of human development or Piaget's stages of cognitive development. The paper can be about people you know personally or not. Most professors encourage students to focus on case studies on fictional characters from books, TV programs, or films, as well as historical figures.  

Essay topics on disorder or types of therapy

This type of writing should explore a psychological disorder or a specific type of treatment modality. Ideal topics for this category include:

  • Profiling a type of therapy, e.g., cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, psychoanalytic therapy, etc.
  • Eating disorders
  • Phobias
  • Depression
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Seasonal affective disorder
  • Antisocial personality disorder

Topics related to human cognition

The types of topics you can explore in this area of psychology can center on intelligence, language, thinking, and decision-making. Some topic ideas include:

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

Topics related to human development

In this area, the best topics should focus on early childhood issues, like social learning, language development, or children's attachment. You can also opt to focus on psychological issues affecting adults, such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Other interesting topics include:

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

Social psychology research paper topics

  • How important is social identity in modern society?
  • Adjusting the mind to changing geographical location.
  • Learning difficulties in the school environment.
  • How should we treat people with ADHD within the family system?
  • How can the relocation of children affect their mental health processes?

Cognitive psychology research paper topics

  • How ADHD influence children’s development
  • The use of color psychology in cognitive development studies
  • What are the best ways to recover memory loss?
  • The main factors that affect problem-solving abilities in young children
  • How critical thinking ability can be measured in cognitive psychology experiments

Development psychology research topics

  • The role the media plays in facilitating violence
  • Factors that create violence in children
  • The place of gender roles have in modern society
  • How parental development influence child development
  • Factors that increase the likelihood of child abuse

Clinical psychology research topics

  • How we can use psychology to control chronic pain
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy practices for criminals.
  • The causes of eating disorders in adolescents.
  • PTSD in a clinical environment.
  • The effect that trauma has on abusive situations and relationships.

Neuropsychology research topics

  • How does red color taste? – a neurological explanation of synaesthesia
  • The role of temporoparietal junction in self-perception
  • An analysis of memory and cognitive processes in a patient with retrograde amnesia
  • An autistic brain under Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Gene expression changes induced by meditation and their likely impact on brain function

Mental health research topics

  • Circadian rhythm disruption as a characteristic depression symptom
  • Current understanding of schizophrenia etiology
  • Factors contributing to multiple personality disorder onset
  • Symptoms and impact of ADHD on life quality
  • Dementia types and associated symptoms

research paper introduction tips

When writing your first psychology research paper, it is normal to get overwhelmed when it comes to topic selection. To make your work easier, this article offers a wide range of ideal psychology research topics to choose from. Once you find a topic you resonate with, you will be able to write the best research paper at all times. If you are ever stuck, you can always seek psychology homework help from reliable experts such as homeworkholics

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