Research: Topic Selection & Rubric:
Mr. Haberman - AP Psychology(Revised 2/14)
You must select one topic from the list below on the first come, first serve bases, and complete an APA-style research paper once each semester. Only one student per topic and register the selection with the teacher. To insure that you get a topic of interest, highlight your top 5 research topics, in order.That way, if your top choice has already been selected by someone else in the class, you can move down the list.
1. Addictions:which substance(s) most addicting?Which easiest/hardest to treat?
2.Role of the environment in the development of personality.
3. What do modern psychologists feel are the major weaknesses of Freud's psychoanalytic theories.
4. Addiction: influences of genetics vs. peers/environment
5. Anxiety:Causes, Symptoms and Therapy
6. Attachment Theory:relationship to parenting style & psychological health as an adult
7. Research the literature on the psychological and physical benefits of laughter.
8. The effects of the circadian rhythms on human beings.
9. The effects of cognitive dissonance on behavior/values
10. The Nightly Dream Cycle and Sleep Deprivation:impact on mental health
11. The Validity of Psychological Tests:how established?Which tests more valid?Less valid?
12. Collectivist vs. Individualistic Cultures:impact on positive self-esteem/sense of self.
13. Interpersonal Attraction:causes, gender differences; is there an "ideal"?
14. Gender differences and the Brain - separating actual differences from stereotypes
15. Endorphins and Happiness:production, role, implications for mental health
16. Learned Optimism/helplessness:how each come about; implications for mental health
17. Genius: Criteria, Characteristics and Types.
18. The Internet:positive/negative effects on our psychological health
19. How has Abraham Maslow's concept of self-actualization affected Psychology?
20. Trace the Development of Humanism from 1950 till now. Review of the Literature
21. Childhood Trauma:impact on personality/role in personality disorders.
22. Race and Intelligence: The Scientific View
23. Possible Causes of Childhood Autism
24. How is Intelligence Measured?Reasons for controversy/debate
25. The Dual Roles of Genetics and Environment on Intelligence
26. Inherited Behavior - The Latest Research
27.Compare and Contrast the Learning Theories of B. F. Skinner and Jean Piaget
28. Alzheimer's Disease:causes, treatment & role lifestyle plays
29. Contact sports & degenerative brain disease
30. Workplace stress:environmental factors?Role of culture, of job type?
31. Rational Emotive Theory:development & modern uses
32. Aging:changes to brain; implications, opportunities & challenges
33. Theories of Forgetting - explanation & implications for better memory
34. Does money buy happiness?Psychological health & socioeconomic status
35. Theories of Intelligence (Spearman vs. Gardner):implications for schools
36. The Theory of Persuasion - why works/doesn't work (psychology behind it)
37. Bullying:causes, who gets bullied; what can parents/teachers do to stop it?
38. The Effects of Over Crowding on Human Beings
39. Subliminal Messages and How They can be Used to Influence Thought and Behavior
40. Current Experiments in Thought Control
41. The Psychological Effects of Torture
42. The Psychological Effects of War
43. How are Children Affected by War.
44. The Theory of Memory Storage in the Human Brain:is there a physical basis?What happens to it?
45. How to Motivate Children to Achieve
46. The Function of Play in psychological health/well-being
47. Reality Therapy:origins, modern uses
48. The Psychological Benefits of Pets & Pet Therapy
49. Psychological Problems of Paraplegics
50. The Emotional Effects of Solitary Confinement
51. Behavior Patterns of Hyperactive Children - biological vs. environmental roots
52. The Stages of Grief According to Elizabeth Kubler-Ross:implications for coping with loss
53. Attractiveness & bias:are the attractive treated differently? (convictions, hiring, perceptions)
54. Habits: How are they Formed and How They Can Be Changed?
55. The Effects of Color on Mental States
56. The Idiot Savant:origins; contrast with normal intellectual functioning
57. The Theory of Boredom:mental/emotional determinants
58. Managing Interpersonal Conflict:psychology of mediation
59. Divorce:causes, psychological impact
60. Shyness in Adults:causes, consequences
61. The Principles of Primal Therapy:origins, modern uses
62. How Children Develop Gender Identification
63. Typical Mother-Daughter Conflicts in Modern America:causes, solutions
64. The Psychological Aspects of Obesity
65. The Psychological Profile of a Terrorist
66. The Clinical Uses of Hypnosis - risks vs. benefits
67. Significant Findings From Recent Research on Identical Twins
68. The Psychological Profile of a Mercenary Soldier
69. Abusers: A Profile - early psychological history of a future abuser
70. Eating Disorders:why are they so resistant to treatment?Role of gender?Brain changes?
71. Hate Crimes:impact on vicims & on communities
72. Brain Damage and Behavior
73. Dreams & dream interpretation:why they occur?are interpretations valid?
74. The Limits of Artificial Intelligence
75. Compare and Contrast the Training, Scope, and Functions of Psychiatrists and Psychologists.
76. The Rorschach Test: How is it Administered and Evaluated?
77. The Psychological Problems of the Homeless.
78.How does social anxiety disorder effect the routine life of a person?
79.Cyber bullying:psychological impact and recommended responses
80 .ADHD:Latest research and recommended treatment
81.The link between exercise and emotional health
82.Anger management:what makes psychological treatment effective?
83.Psychology of Flow:implications for workplace satisfaction
84.Psychological characteristics of long-lasting marriages
85.Creativity and Intelligence:what makes kids creative, and is it measured by intelligence tests?
86.US Cultural and Marketing Trends:do they threaten children's physical and mental health?
87.Violence in the Media:psychological effects on children
88.Tools of Sports Psychologists:how they can also promote mental health in the workplace
89. Birth Order: does it effect personality? First-born vs. middle child vs. youngest?
90. Psychological profile of the serial killer: what do they have in common - neurologically? Personalities? Family history?
91. Depersonalization/derealization Disorder: causes, symptoms and treatment.
92. Antisocial Personality Disorder: influences of nature vs. nurture; prominence in the criminal justice system
93. Brand New Mental Disorders: describing the disorders first appearing in the DSM 5 - implications for psychology?
94. Brain Mapping: dispelling myths & updating accuracy based on the newest maps. What really happens where?
95. Psychology Behind Attraction: how marketing professionals influence consumer choices.
96. Key parenting strategies for raising children with healthy self-esteem.
97. What is emotional intelligence and how does it relate to success and life satisfaction?
98. The psychological benefits of forgiveness.
99. Optimism versus pessimism: impact on physical and psychological health.
100. The psychopath's brain: is it structurally different from the normal brain?
101. The most widely believed MYTHS in psychology.
102. Do we inherit or create our personalities? A review of the evidence.
103. The frequent selfie-taker: the social psychology behind social media use.
Semester Research PaperAP Psychology – Mr. Haberman
1st Semester:100 point project grade; 2nd Semester:scored as 25% of Final Exam
Independent research allows each AP Psychology student the opportunity to explore a topic of personal interest, and delve into greater detail on the chosen topic than we would have time to cover as an entire class.Each paper (one per semester), to be submitted electronically, should be 3-4 pages typed, double-spaced with a font size of 12, not counting the cover page, abstract, and references page.Your research should include a minimum of 5 references, with at least 2 references coming from either books or professional journal articles.Your research papers are to be prepared in APA format, and as such should include:
1.1” margins all around
2.Title page centered horizontally and vertically
3.Abstract – second page – a brief summary of your findings
4.References within the document in APA format (NOT footnotes, but author and year in parenthesis).
5.References page after the body of the report (not numbered, but alphabetical by author’s last name – see examples below)
.APA Format for References (fictitious samples, to show you the format):
For a professional journal article (as it would appear in the bibliography - alphabetically by author last name):
Freud, S. (1933). The interpretation of dreams. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 5(2), 144-148.
For a book: Erikson, E. (1958). Psychological and social development through the lifespan. (pp. 104-155). New York, NY: Hardcourt Brace.
In-paper citations (using these two examples).
Paraphrase the information, ending with the citation: "For many adults, unresolved issues from childhood may show up in the latent content of their dreams, when interpreted from a psychoanalytic point of view (Freud, 1933). In other cases, the difficulties may have more to do with their age and stage of development. In later adulthood, conflicts may arise from career difficulties, and the feeling that it has become too late to make major life changes (Erikson, 1958)."
Topics will be selected in class – only one student may select each topic. Your paper should address the following:
1.Give a brief background of the subject or problem.
2.Include a personal discussion of your thoughts, bias, feelings towards the subject or problem prior to the research you conducted.
3.What types of research methods have been used to study this topic/problem?
4.What is the significance of this topic/problem?Why is it important for people to understand?What areas of mental or physical health may it have an impact on?
5.What is already known about this topic/problem?
6.What were the limitations that effected your efforts to research this topic/problem?Are there things that currently limit what we know about this topic/problem?
7.APPLICATION:how can your research be applied? Address the various possible audiences:by psychologists? By other mental health and/or medical professionals? By individuals and/or families? By institutions, governments or societies?
8.Relevance:is your research important to work going on currently in the field of psychology?How?Be specific.
9.Conclusions:what answers did your research provide for you? What are the unanswered questions, and/or the areas where further research is needed?
Grading (100 point project grade 1st semester; 25% of Final Exam 2nd semester)
: APA Style & Format:4 points
Grammar & Spelling:4 points
Content (each element above):11 points
References:6points/ 25 Total (25% of Final Exam)
If you have ever had to write a paper for one of your psychology classes, then you probably know that choosing psychology paper topics can sometimes be tricky. Fortunately, there are plenty of great topics to inspire your paper and help you finish your assignment.
Why Choosing Psychology Paper Topics Isn’t Always Easy
If you are going to write a psychology paper, the first thing you need to do is pick a good topic. This is often easier said than done. In some cases your instructor might assign you a topic, or at least narrow your range of options by providing a general subject area on which to focus your paper.
But in many cases, choosing the topic of your psychology paper is entirely up to you – and that’s where things can get tricky. How do you choose a great topic? What if you pick something too specific and struggle to find sources? Or what if you go too broad and end up biting off more than you can chew?
Basic Strategies for Choosing a Good Topic
Following a few simple steps can make the topic selection process a lot easier.
1. Start by picking a general area.
Part of what makes picking a topic for a psychology paper so difficult is how overwhelmed by information you feel. Make it easier on yourself by restricting your options to at least a general topic area.
2. Get more specific.
Once you’ve chosen a general area, you can then narrow your paper topic down to something much more specific and manageable.
For example, you might start by deciding that you want to write your paper on a topic within a specific branch of psychology. From there you might further narrow your focus down to a much narrower subject area within that branch
So imagine that you’re writing a psychology research paper in your general psychology course. Your instructor has given you free reign to select any topic you please, so you begin by deciding to write your paper on a social psychology topic.
Now that you have a general idea, you drill down further and decide to research and write your paper on how prejudice forms and ways to minimize it.
General Psychology Topics
Because general psychology classes cover such a wide range of topics, you have a very large selection of subject ideas to choose from. Start by choosing a general topic, and then narrow your focus down so that you can fully cover the subject.
Some ideas include:
- An issue paper: Tackle one of the current issues in psychology, such as parity in mental health care or involving psychologists in military interrogations.
- Profile a famous psychologist: Select a well-known psychologist and then write a profile exploring his or her life, theories, and career.
- Explore a well-known psychology experiment: Write a paper on a classic psychology study, such as the Milgram Obedience Experiment or the Stanford Prison Experiment.
- Write about a topic within personality psychology: Personality psychology focuses on the traits and dispositions that contribute to overall personality. This is one of the largest topics within psychology so there are plenty of fascinating research topics from which to choose. Some specific topics that might interest you include whether personality can change, different theories of personality development and the Big Five theory of personality.
Okay, let’s just imagine that you’re having a bad case of writer’s block. You understand the basic approach for picking a good topic, but nothing seems to be catching your interest. You’re looking for some more inspiration to get you started.
Here are just a few great topics for psychology papers that you might want to consider:
The history of psychology is not always positive, and if you enjoy writing about controversial topics, psychology’s history is rich with material.
- The use of lobotomies to treat mental illness
- The history of mental asylums in the United States
- The use and effects of electroconvulsive therapy
- Conversion therapy
- Attachment therapy
- Controversial experiments such as Milgram’s obedience experiment or Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison experiment
- The debate over the nature of intelligence
- The impact of the eugenics movement on psychology
- Controversies surrounding the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual
Write About a Psychological Disorder
Writing about the history, prevalence, and treatment of a specific mental condition can be an interesting topic for a psychology paper. Some options you might consider include:
- Eating disorders
- Anxiety disorders
- Borderline personality disorder
- Substance abuse and addictions
- Developmental disorders
More Ideas for Psychology Paper Topics
Here is a sampling of topics that you might consider:
Final Thoughts on Psychology Paper Topics
As you can see, your options for psychology paper topics are really only limited by your own imagination (and the specific guidelines issued by your instructor, of course). Spend some time thinking about topics that really interest you, then narrow your focus in order to hone in on a specific idea.
Finally, always be sure to run your chosen topic by your instructor. He or she may be able to offer suggestions that can help you during your research and make it much easier to write an outstanding psychology paper.