behavioral psychology research topics

behavioral psychology research topics

‘Psychology9rsquo; is extracted from a word in Latin that means the precise study of your mind or soul. It is a science which is based on human behavior, mental health and human psyche. Psychology is a very vast field and offers a huge range of sub-fields, such as clinical psychology, developmental psychology, child psychology, industrial psychology and social psychology.

If you are a student of psychology, you would be required to select a particular topic for the final research paper. Finding a suitable topic is an extremely difficult task, which is why this article will be of help to you. Continue reading to find out a number of topics that you can consider.

List of Psychology Research Topics

While selecting a particular topic from amongst the different research topics, you need to find out your area of specialization and interest. You would need to read a lot of content for writing your psychology research paper, which is why you should choose a topic that excites you. The majority of the psychology sub-fields are quite broad, which makes researching on it extremely problematic. This is why it is best to choose a concise and narrow topic, so you can conveniently research on it. For example, memory is a huge topic and you cannot easily write a paper on it without discussing the different aspects involved in it. You can narrow down this topic to something like ‘how is the memory affected by age or gender?’ Topics like these make the research paper quite specific and interesting.

Here are some ideas for psychology research topics that might help you out.

  • Is parental negligence a reason behind child obesity?
  • Understanding the obsession of Americans with the popular fast food items
  • What is the influence of a narcissist mother on her child’s mental wellbeing?
  • What is the association between obesity and television?
  • Preterm delivery and stress
  • Understanding the situations that lead to suicidal behaviors
  • The adverse effects of abortion on the mental health
  • Dating violence and abuse among teenagers
  • Understanding schizophrenia in young men and women
  • Impact of teenage sexting on children and its consequences
  • Can morality be enforced by stringent laws?
  • Comprehending social interaction
  • How is stress affected by individual differences?
  • What are the psychological reasons behind depression?
  • Symptoms, reasons of stress and how to manage it
  • Is depression affected by gender?
  • Impact of social anxiety disorder on the routine life of the affected person
  • The different phases of human growth and development
  • Importance of imparting sexual education to children
  • Mental development and understanding of mentally challenged children
  • Relationship between stress and physical illness
  • Long term and short term memory
  • How is a person’s life affected by bipolar disorder?
  • Aging and mental illnesses
  • What is the environment’s role in personality development?
  • Influence of work environment on the motivation and self-esteem of workers
  • Effect of counseling on the divorced individuals
  • Impact of violent music on children
  • How and why are psychologists involved in the military?
  • Varied theories of motivation
  • How is a person’s achievements and personality affected by their birth order?
  • Physical, financial and emotional abuse of elderly people
  • Understanding and controlling teenage suicide
  • Comprehending the effects of postpartum depression on child and mother
  • Analyzing harsh capital punishment for the sex offenders
  • How is intelligence determined by the environment and genetics?
  • Different kinds of torture and their various effects
  • How and why are attractive people treated differently than the non-attractive ones?
  • Pros and Cons of Hypnosis
  • Understanding the psychological problems of the homeless people
  • How does sports psychology help promote mental health in different workplaces?
  • What are the reasons behind long lasting marriages?
  • Is it important to have school uniforms?
  • The effect of different phobias on your personality
  • Why is the divorce rate rising?
  • Understanding the psychology of homophobes
  • Understanding solitary confinement and its effects
  • What are the effects of colors on different mental states?
  • Understanding the roles of biology and environment in hyperactive children
  • Psychological profile and mental development of a terrorist
  • Understanding the psychology of sex workers
  • How can you form and change a habit?
  • The ethical and legal aspects of gay adoption
  • Reasons and consequences of introvert behavior in adults
  • What is the effect of the hate crimes on the community and the victims?

While going through psychology research topics, remember to opt for one that falls within the area of your specialization or interest. You can visit online psychology websites and newspapers for finding out more topics. Make sure that you can form a good hypothesis on the topic you are selecting and you must choose a topic that has sufficient content easily available and accessible via online forums.

It is a good idea to consider about four to five research topics before starting your research. This helps you in selecting a viable topic in case one becomes difficult to research on. Always go slow during your research, so you carry each step perfectly well. Make it a point to collect primary data first to make your research appear realistic.

General Psychology Research Topics

To choose a topic from general psychology, you should select any topic you like and then start narrowing it down. For instance, you could tackle any current issue in psychology like equality in mental health.

Moreover, you could profile a well-known psychologist and explore their theories or researches. You could also write on a popular and useful psychology experiment, such as the Stanford Prison or Milgram Obedience Experiments.

Abnormal Psychology Research Topics

Abnormal psychology deals with abnormal behavior and psychopathology. Different disorders such as obsession-compulsion, depression and sexual deviation are covered in this subject. You could research on any of the following topics in this field:

  • Phobia
  • Depression
  • Schizophrenia
  • Eating disorder: anorexia or bulimia nervosa
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Seasonal affective disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder

Moreover, you can also profile any therapy such as CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), MBCT (mindfulness based cognitive therapy) or group therapy.

Cognitive Psychology Research Topics

Cognitive psychology tackles the different mental processes going on in a person’s mind. You could explore language, memory, decision making, intelligence and thinking in this sub-field. Moreover, you could research on attention span, false memories, dreams, language, perception, judgment and problem solving while working in cognitive psychology.

Developmental Research Topics in Psychology

Development psychology is focused on the lifespan of human beings, so you have a number of topics to choose from. You can focus on the effects of the following topics on the personality and development of a child, adult or elderly.

  • Sexual abuse
  • Verbal abuse
  • Bullying
  • Harassment
  • Media violence
  • Language acquisition
  • Learning disabilities
  • Parenting style
  • Prenatal development
  • Aging process

Social Psychology Research Topics

Social psychology is pertinent to social behavior. You can explore the following topics while studying this subject.

In addition to these topics, you can also opt for one from amongst the following research topics.

  • Understanding drug addictions and the causes behind them
  • Weaknesses of the psychoanalytic theories of Freud
  • Causes, signs and treatments of anxiety
  • Effect of circadian rhythm on humans
  • What is attachment theory and what are its psychological effects?
  • What are the physical and psychological benefits of laughter?
  • What is the effect of the cognitive dissonance on values and behaviors?
  • Relationship between endorphins and happiness
  • What are the negative and positive effects of the internet on your psychological health?
  • What are the effects of the self-actualization concept of Maslow on psychology?

Determining sources of and developing solutions to behavioral and social difficulties

Our researchers identify and define problems by investigating sources or origins of behavioral, and social difficulties in order to guide development of instructional practices and treatments, as well as developing reliable and valid assessment tools for identification and intervention.

Dr. Cook (school psychology) investigates practices that facilitate the implementation of a multi-tiered system of support (MTSS). His research focuses on helping practitioners (teachers, administrators, mental health providers) improve the delivery of school-based services to youth in schools, as demonstrated by a range of improved outcomes, including gains in academic achievement, improvements in social-emotional functioning, reductions in punitive disciplinary practices, and remediation of disparities for minority youth.

Dr. Fleury (special education) investigates how behavioral features of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affect students’ ability to actively participate in traditional learning activities. She is currently investigating home book reading practices between caregivers and their preschool-age children with ASD to identify factors that can promote children’s ability to participate in shared reading experiences. This information will be used to guide the development of novel reading intervention strategies for young children with ASD.

Dr. Johnson (special education) researches interventions to improve outcomes for a range of preschool and elementary school-aged children who are at high risk given social, emotional, behavioral, and communication needs. Dr. Johnson is focused on creating the next generation of intervention studies that support high fidelity implementation of evidence-based interventions within tiered intervention and prevention models. This includes research projects that are designed to help: (1) better understand how treatment intensity interacts with child characteristics and child outcomes when we explore communication and social-behavioral skills, (2) test the efficacy of social-communication interventions for children with Autism, (3) explore variables that allow us to effectively adapt interventions to the unique characteristics of young children with social-emotional and communication delays, and (4) examine ways to improve adoption and implementation of evidence-based practices in the natural environments of young children.

Dr. Maruyama (psychological foundations of education) investigates achievement processes in schools, particularly social processes and antecedents of educational success; research methods for educational and other applied settings; and, recently, on action research approaches in challenged communities and engaged scholarship in urban settings.

Dr. McComas (special education) applies functional analysis for problem behavior in educational and residential settings. She focuses on basic behavioral processes maintaining desirable and undesirable behavior, such as schedules of reinforcement, stimulus control, and establishing operations. She also studies behavioral treatment of problem behavior based on concurrent schedules of reinforcement as we as antecedent stimuli. Finally, she analyzes the academic behavior performance of students with behavior problems.

Dr. Miller (school psychology) focuses her research on the implementation and sustainability of evidence-based practices in schools, particularly as it relates to improving outcomes for children who experience social, emotional, and behavioral difficulties (SEBD). Through her research, Dr. Miller examines critical factors that lead to the implementation of evidence-based practices for students with SEBD within multi-tiered systems of support. This includes the use of defensible assessments to inform data-based decision-making and problem-solving, as well as the development and delivery of a continuum of high-quality interventions to improve student outcomes. As an applied researcher, she works to bridge the research-to-practice gap in order to improve outcomes for students with SEBD.

Dr. Sullivan (school psychology) focuses her research on describing special needs among children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and understanding the educational and health services they receive. She is particularly interested in elucidating disparities in the educational treatment and outcomes of students with and at-risk for disabilities and identify malleable factors related to outcomes in order to inform policy and practice to better support students’ educational needs. Much of her work entails secondary analyses of large-scale datasets that allow for population estimates of students’ characteristics, experiences, and outcomes

Dr. Symons (special education) conducts research to gain understanding of the severe behavior problems of children and adults with special needs, primarily those with developmental disabilities and emotional or behavioral disorders. For these two groups, much of his research has focused on self-injurious behavior and classroom aggression, respectively. The majority of his research has been observationally based, theoretically grounded in behavioral principles, and driven by a commitment to meaningful, functional outcomes.

Dr. Turner (counseling and student personnel psychology) investigates the social-emotional aspects of educational and career development among middle-school, high school, and college students. These include the social and emotional predictors of career development skills, choice and compromise processes, career beliefs, students’ self-estimated interests and abilities, and the motivational aspects of educational and career development (e.g., hope versus depression, proactivity, positive self-attributions).

Dr. Vukovic (special education) works to increase the educational and psychological well-being of students at-risk for negative life outcomes, especially in underserved or marginalized populations. Her primary research program investigates sources of academic achievement difficulties at the child, school and community levels in order to guide early identification, early intervention, and instructional practice.

EPSY 5616 - Classroom Management and Behavior Analytic Problem Solving

Assumptions, principles, procedures of problem solving approach to analyzing behavior/programs for classroom management. Conducting observations, intervening, evaluating behavioral change.

EPSY 5657 - Interventions for Behavioral Problems in School Settings

Comprehensive behavioral programs for students with social/emotional disabilities. Instructing students with social/emotional disabilities.

EPSY 8812 - Assessment in School Psychology II: Intellectual and Social-Emotional Domains

Builds on EPsy 8811. Emphasizes gathering data on a child's intellectual and social-emotional functioning and educational progress.

What It Is and How to Use It

Let's define behavioral psychology. Behavioral psychology is the study of the connection between our minds and our behavior. Sometimes you will hear behavioral psychology referred to as behaviorism. The researchers and scientists who study behavioral psychology are trying to understand why we behave the way we do and they are concerned with discovering patterns in our actions and behaviors. The hope is that if we can use behavioral psychology to help us predict how humans will behave, we can build better habits as individuals, create better products as companies, and develop better living spaces as communities.

3 Ways to Use Behavioral Psychology Right Now

Best Behavioral Psychology Books

  • Influence by Robert Cialdini
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
  • The Person and the Situation by Lee Ross and Richard Nisbett
  • Stumbling on Happiness by Dan Gilbert

Want more great books on psychology? Browse my full list of the best psychology books.

More Behavioral Psychology Examples

Let's talk about how to apply behavioral psychology to your daily life. In each of the articles below, I break down some behavioral psychology research and share practical ways to put it to use in our daily lives.

Looking for more articles explaining how to apply behavioral psychology principles in practical ways? I have a full list at the bottom of this page.

All Behavioral Psychology Articles

This is a complete list of articles I have written on behavioral psychology. Enjoy!

Behavioral Psychology Research Studies

If you are interested in geeking out on the latest behavioral psychology research, then I recommend looking at studies from these top professors: Dan Ariely, Adam Grant, Daniel Kahneman, Ellen Langer, Kelly McGonigal, Richard Nesbitt, Lee Ross, and Richard Thaler.

Psychology is a wide field of study that looks at human behavior. It comes from a Latin word that means the study of the mind and soul. In this field, mental health, the human psyche and mental disorders. This field covers a wide range of topics and sub-fields. Some professionals in the industry specialize in things like industrial psychology, clinical psychology, social psychology, child psychology and developmental psychology.

If you are a student in this field, you will most likely have to take a number of classes in order to get your degree. Many of these classes will ultimately require that you write a psychology research paper. Like many students, you may feel stumped when it comes to thinking of a good topic for your paper. If you need psychology research topics, check out the following list of ideas.

Psychology Research Topics You Can Use

When you first get the assignment, you should immediately begin to prepare for it. Before long, the weeks and months of the semester will pass and you will be in a rush to prepare for your mid-terms or final exams. If you are given the assignment early, immediately start it so that you can spend your exam week focusing entirely on the test that you need to take.

When you are handed the writing prompt, look at it carefully. Often, your teacher will have specific topics or paper requirements that you have to follow. If you do not stick to the writing prompt exactly, you can end up getting a lower grade than you would otherwise. To prevent this from happening, read through your writing prompt carefully before you choose a research paper topic and read through it again once your paper is complete.

You will need to research significantly in order to write a psychology research paper. Since you will be spending so much time on this topic, you should pick a sub-field that interests you the most. If you actually like the topic, it will be much easier to write about. Make sure to pick a topic that is not too broad or narrow. If it is too narrow of a topic, you will have a problem filling in the page requirement. Likewise, a broad topic can be difficult to fit in adequately without missing important details.

To start with, sit down with a blank piece of paper and a timer. Set the timer to ten minutes and begin writing down as many topics as you can. It does not matter if these topics are good or bad because you will be narrowing down the list later. Once the time is up, look at your list. Which topics really interest you? Which ones can you easily research from your school? If you need to, narrow down your potential topic even more so that you can fit it completely into your research paper.

Potential Topics for a Psychology Research Paper

Discuss the topic of preterm delivery and stress on the mother and/or fetus.

Why are Americans obsessed with popular fast food chains like Sonic and Dunkin’ Donuts?

Can the justice system set laws that enforce morality on the population?

Are parents responsible for childhood obesity?

How does having a narcissistic parent influence the mental health of a child?

What types of situations lead to suicidal behavior?

How should society respond to suicidal behavior?

Is there a connection between the rise in television watching and obesity?

What are the mental health effects of having an abortion?

Discuss the link between schizophrenia and cannabis usage.

Is depression linked to gender? Why or why not?

Discuss brain development and mental development issues in children.

What psychological factors are in play in social interactions?

How does dating violence and abuse affect teenagers?

How is stress handled differently by different individuals?

What are the reasons why people experience stress?

How can stress be managed?

What are the psychological causes of depression?

Why is providing sexual education an important thing for children?

How does teenage sexting affect teenagers?

How does schizophrenia work in young adults?

What are the different phases of human development?

What is the relationship between physical illnesses and stress?

What is the affect of social anxiety disorder on the “normal” life of the affected individual?

What are the differences between short-term and long-term memory?

How does aging increase or decrease the rates of mental illness?

How does violent music impact young children?

How does having bipolar disorder affect the individual’s life?

How can the right work environment encourage self-esteem and motivation in workers?

How does the individual’s environment play a role in making their personality?

What is the role of psychologists in the military?

How is counseling used with divorced couples? How does it help?

What are techniques for controlling teen suicide rates?

What are the different theories about motivation?

What are the benefits and drawbacks of hypnosis?

How do genetics and the individual’s environment influence their intelligence?

How does postpartum depression affect the mother and child?

How is an individual’s personality and accomplishments affected by their birth order?

What are the effects of different types of torture?

Discuss the financial, physical and emotional abuse of the elderly.

What are the effects of harsh capital punishment laws for sex offenders?

Can psychology helps pedophiles? How or why not?

What is the psychological profile of a terrorist? What are commonalities that contribute to becoming a terrorist?

Why is divorce becoming more common?

Is it important for the child’s mental well-being to have school uniforms?

Why are attractive and non-attractive people treated different?

Discuss the psychology behind homophobic people.

What are some psychological reasons for long-lasting marriages?

What are some of the psychological problems encountered by homeless people?

How can sports psychology help athletes?

What are some of the effects of solitary confinement?

What are some of the reasons why adults may be introverts? What are the consequences?

How can someone break a habit? How is a habit created?

What are the effects of different colors on your mental state?

How do hate crimes affect the victims and the community?

What are the legal and ethical implications of gay couples adopting children?

Discuss the psychology of sex workers.

How do environment and biology impact or create hyperactive children?

How do various phobias affect your personality?

Discuss the Stanford prison experiment.

Discuss the Milgram Obedience Experiments.

As you consider potential psychology research topics, make sure to choose one that makes sense for the psychology class that you are studying. As mentioned before, it is important to make sure that you pick a topic that your teacher will allow. You can also use online websites and psychology journals to think of new topics. Once you find the right topic, you have to create a thesis statement.

The thesis statement is essentially a hypothesis that your research paper is supposed to prove. It must be something that can be argued. Your paper must have a thesis statement, or it will be automatically graded down by your teacher. If you are not sure if your thesis statement is good enough, visit your professor during office hours to see if it will work.

Abnormal Psychology Research Topics

Some topics in abnormal psychology include:

– Borderline personality disorder

– Cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy or mindfulness therapy

– Seasonal affective disorder

– Antisocial personality disorder

Social Psychology Research Topics

This field looks at social behaviors. Topics could include subjects like racism, homophobia, xenophobia, discrimination, social attitudes and sexism.

Developmental Psychology Research Topics

Developmental psychology is an important field that looks at the human lifespan. While many researchers focus on child development, you can also look at the ways personality and the mind develop in adults or the elderly. Popular topics include harassment, sexual abuse, the aging process, learning disabilities, media violence, bullying, verbal abuse, prenatal development, parenting styles and learning acquisition.

A Comprehensive List of Psychology Research Paper Topics

- America's Obsession with Fast Food

- Link Between Television and Obesity

- Narcissistic Mother's Influence on Child's Mental Health

- Stress and Preterm Delivery

- Situations Leading to Cutting Yourself Disorder

- Effects of Abortion on Mental Health

- Dating Violence Among Teens

- Teenage Sexting and its Consequences

- Can Stringent Laws Force Morality?

- Effects of Designer Babies on Society

- The Psychology of a Homophobe

- Solitary Confinement and its Emotional Effects

- The Varied Effects of Color on Mental States

- Hyperactive Children - The Role of Environment or Biology?

- The Psychological Profile of a Terrorist

- A Psychological Profile of a Sex Worker

- How are Habits Formed and How Can They Be Changed?

- Gay Adoption and its Legal and Ethical Aspects

- Shyness in Adults: Causes and Consequences

- The Impact of Hate Crimes on Victims and Communities

- Types of Torture and their Psychological Effects

- Change of Perception Based on Attractiveness - Are the Attractive Treated Differently?

- The Homeless and their Psychological Problems

- Promoting Mental Health in the Workplace Through Sports Psychology

- Long-lasting Marriages and the Psychology Behind them

- Should School Uniforms be Banned?

- List of Phobias and their Effect on Personality

- The Rise of Divorces in Society - an Analysis

- Causes and Impact of Emotional, Financial, and Physical Abuse of the Elderly

- Effects of Birth Order on a Person's Personality and Achievements

- How Does In-store Music Influence Product Selection?

- Teenage Suicide: Why it Happens and What to do About it

- Effects of Postpartum Depression on the Mother and Child

- An Analysis of Harsh and/or Capital Punishment for Sex Offenders

- The Role of Genetics and Environment in Determining Intelligence

- How Does Over Crowding Affect Human Beings?

- Relation between Physical Illness and Stress

- Short Term and Long Term Memory

- Mental Illness and Aging

- Role of Environment in Personality Development

- Influence of Work Environment and Behavior on the Worker's Self-esteem and Motivation

- Impact of Counseling on Divorced Individuals

- The Involvement of Psychologists in Military Interrogations

- Violent Music and its Impact on Children

- Motivation and its Varied Theories

- How Do Individual Differences Affect Stress

- Psychological Reasons for Depression

- Causes and Symptoms of Stress

- How Does Social Anxiety Disorder Affect the Routine Life of a Person?

- Human Development - Conception to Old Age

- Mental Development of Special Children

- Does Gender Affect Memory?

- Different Stages of Human Development

- Why is it Important to Impart Sexual Education to Young Children?

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