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Topics For Research Papers In Developmental Psychology

Are you looking for a topic for a psychology paper, experiment, or science fair project? Developmental psychology is a fascinating area and one of the most popular topics within psychology. It can also be a very broad subject that can include anything from prenatal development to health during the final stages of life.

The following are just a few different topics that might help inspire you. Remember, these are just ideas to help you get started.

You might opt to explore one of these areas, or you might think of a related question that interests you as well.

A Few Developmental Psychology Topics

  • Does teaching infants sign language help or hinder the language acquisition process?
  • How do parenting styles impact a child's level of physical activity? Are children raised by parents with permissive or uninvolved parents less active than those raised by parents with authoritative or authoritarian styles?
  • Do students who listen to music while studying perform better or worse on exams?
  • How does bullying impact student achievement? Are bullied students more likely to have worse grades than their non-bullied peers?
  • Could packaging nutritious foods in visually appealing ways encourage children to make healthier food choices?
  • Do children who eat breakfast perform better in school than those who do not eat breakfast?
  • Which type of reinforcement works best for getting students to complete their homework: a tangible reward (such as a piece of candy) or social reinforcement (such as offering praise when homework is completed on time)?
  • Does birth order have an impact on procrastination? Are first-borns less likely to procrastinate? Are last-borns more likely to put off tasks until the last minute?
  • Are older adults who rate high in self-efficacy more likely to have better memory than those with low self-efficacy?
  • How do explanations for the behavior of others change as we age? Are younger adults more likely to blame internal factors for events and older adults more likely to blame external variables?
  • Do mental games such as word searches, Sudoku, and word matching help elderly adults keep their cognitive skills sharp?
  • Do the limits of short-term memory change as we age? How do the limits of short-term memory compare at ages, 15, 25, 45, and 65?

Before You Pick a Developmental Psychology Topic

Before you start working on any paper, experiment, or science project, the first thing you need to do is understand the rules your instructor has established for the assignment. Be sure to check the official guidelines given by your teacher. If you are not sure about these guidelines, ask your instructor if there are any specific requirements before you get started on your research.

If you are going to actually perform an experiment, you need to present your idea to your instructor in order to gain his or her permission before going forward. In some cases, you might have to also present your plan to your school's Institutional Review Board.

Researching Your Developmental Psychology Topic

After you have gotten to move forward with your chosen topic, the next step is to do some background research. This step is essential! If you are writing a paper, the information you find will make up your literature review.

If you are performing an experiment, it will provide background information for the introduction of your lab report. For a psychology science project, this research will help you in your presentation and can help you decide how to best approach your own experiment.

For more information on completing your paper or project, be sure to check out the links and resources below:

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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