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
Re: "By living as if your goals have been realized, you remove all doubt (negativity) that your goal will be realized. You will also never make any plans or consider any challenges (both express doubt and thus negativity)."
This is a generalization, more specifically, an assumption without sufficient evidence.
As an example, let's say I wish to marry a certain type of woman--beautiful, intelligent, etc; but I dropped out of college, am sedentary, overweight and need dental work, better grooming, and to dress better.
Unless I'm completely clueless, I'm going to make a plan to get back to school, lose weight, see a dentist, and start paying more attention to my appearance.
This was, in fact, my situation when I was younger. I desired a woman out my league and realized I had to raise my game. I made calculated changes and spent a great time visualizing, taking as a working premise, there was, in fact, something to the power of belief.
Two years later she was my girlfriend, five years later a woman who said she would never marry even the most eligible of men, asked me, a man who is in no way special, if I planned to marry her. She, in fact, proposed to me.
I suppose the author could use some variation of the "infinite monkey" theory to account for it. Fair enough but I know quite a few people who have had extremely improbable experiences from prayer and visualization.
The author, partially basing his conclusion on a Law of Attraction" expert unwittingly falls into the same trap he suggests those who believe in the Law of Attraction" do: confirmation bias--in this case his premise that there is no such law is confirmed essentially by the research of one individual.
I needn't remind him about the innumerable conclusions reached by science that were ultimately impeached.
More importantly, indifferent to whether such a law exists or not, there is scientific research that suggests that even if the Law of Attraction is a delusion it can have a positive, rather than negative unfluence on a person's life (see, "Delusional belief systems and meaning in life: A preferred reality?", by G. Roberts, The British Journal of Psychiatry 159:19-28, 1991, and "Sense of coherence among delusional patients: prediction of remission and risk of relapse", by M. Bergstein, A. Weizman, and Z. Solomon. Comparative Psychiatry 49:288-96, 2008.
Lisa Bortolotti, a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Birmingham has asserted,
" Beliefs that defy the evidence can be good for knowledge too. When beliefs have psychological benefits for you, they also have good consequences for your capacity to acquire knowledge."
Similarly, James Collard, in a paper titled, "The Role of Positive Irrational Beliefs on Emotional Wellbeing and Health" concluded,
"In reviewing literature from the field of social psychology, they suggested that positive illusory, or irrational, beliefs can be beneficial for the promotion of well being and mental health. They identified in particular three different types of beliefs which they thought contributed to the promotion of mental health. These were unrealistically positive views of the self, illusions of control and unrealistic optimism."
Similarly, Ozar found a positive relationship between irrational beliefs and academic motivation'. As a final example, if we are to consider "The Law of Attraction" magical thinking, Carol Nemeroff and Paul Rozin point out that many magical beliefs have gained some element of scientific validity.
Personally, I don't believe there is a "Law of Attraction" but I do not discount the possibility that the human imagination is something far more involved in shaping our lives than it is frivolous fantasizing.
As an aside, I do believe that while science has transformed humanity, so, too, have those--poets, prophets, and mystics--who advanced the scientifically unprovable possibility that the human mind can forge our destinies and even create seeming improbable "coincedences".