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)
Do you need to design an experiment for a psychology assignment? Chances are you can come up with plenty of interesting ideas on your own, but sometimes it can be helpful to explore some other ideas for inspiration.
Many experimental methods courses require students to design and sometimes perform their own psychology experiments. Finding a good experiment idea can be critical to your success, but it can be a difficult task.
If you need to design an experiment for a psychology assignment, there are plenty of great places to look for inspiration. The key is to start your search early, so that you have plenty of time to do background research as well as to design and perform your experiment.
Try One of These Psychology Experiment Ideas
Most of these can be performed easily at home or at school. Always remember to discuss your idea with your instructor before beginning your experiment, particularly if your research involves human participants. You may need to get approval from your teacher or from an institutional review board before you begin.
Finding the right psychology experiment idea can be a challenge, but as you can see there are a lot of great ways to come up with inspiration. Once you have an idea in mind, the next step is to learn more about how to conduct a psychology experiment.
Some psychology experiment ideas you might want to try:
- Do colors really impact moods? Conduct an investigation to see if the color blue makes people feel calm, or if the color red leaves them feeling agitated.
- Can color cause physiological reactions? Perform an experiment to determine whether certain colors cause a participant's blood pressure to rise or fall.
- Can certain colors improve learning? Could the color of paper used in a test or assignment have an impact on academic performance? You may have heard teachers or students claim that printing text on green paper helps students read better, or that yellow paper helps students perform better on math exams. Design an experiment to see whether using a specific color of paper helps improve students' scores on math exams.
- Can different types of music lead to different physiological responses? Measure the heart rates of participants in response to various types of music to see if there is a difference.
- Does eating breakfast really help students do better in school? According to some, eating breakfast can have a beneficial influence on school performance. One study found that children who ate a healthy breakfast learned better and had more energy than students who did not eat breakfast. Compare test scores of students who ate breakfast to those who did not.
- Do people who use the social media site Facebook exhibit signs of addiction?
- Do action films cause people to eat more popcorn and candy during a movie?
- How much information can people store in short-term memory? One classic experiment suggests that people can store between five to nine items, but rehearsal strategies such as chunking can significantly increase memorization and recall. A simple word memorization experiment is an excellent and fairly easy psychology science fair idea.
- Do people rate individuals with perfectly symmetrical faces as more beautiful than those with asymmetrical faces?
- What is the Stroop Effect? The Stroop Effect is a phenomenon in which it is easier to say the color of a word if it matches the semantic meaning of the word. For example, if someone asked you to say the color of the word "Black" that was also printed in black ink, it would be easier to say the correct color than if it were printed in green ink. This fun experiment will be sure to impress.
- Can smelling one thing while tasting another impact a person's ability to detect what the food really is?
- Are people really able to "feel like someone is watching" them?
- How likely are people to conform to the opinions of a group? This conformity experiment investigates the impact of group pressure on individual behavior.
- Do creative people see optical illusions differently than more analytical people?
- Does gender influence short-term memory? In this interesting experiment, you can focus on a variety of research questions such as whether boys or girls are better at remembering specific types of information.
- How likely are people to conform in groups? Imagine that you're in a math class and the instructor asks a basic math question. What is 8 x 4? The teacher begins asking individual students in the room for the answer. You are surprised when the first student answers 27. Then the next student answers 27. And the next! When the teacher finally comes to you, do you trust your own math skills and say 32? Or do you go along with what the rest of the group seems to believe is the correct answer? Try this experiment to see what percentage of people are likely to conform.
- Could a person's taste in music offer hints about their personality? Previous research has suggested that people who prefer certain styles of music tend to exhibit similar personality traits.
Explore Your Interests to Find Good Experiment Ideas
Think about the things that interest you. During your time in psychology classes, you have probably spent a little time wondering about the answers to various questions.
Are there any topics in particular that grab your interest? Pick two or three major areas within psychology that interest you the most, and then make a list of questions that you have about the topic. Any of these questions could potentially serve as an experiment idea.
Find Psychology Experiment Ideas in Textbooks
Another great source of experiment ideas is your own psychology textbooks. Choose specific chapters or sections that you find particularly interesting, like a chapter on social psychology or a section on child development.
Browse through some of the experiments discussed in your book and then think of how you might devise an experiment related to some of the questions asked in your textbook. The reference section at the back of your textbook can also serve as a great source for additional reference material.
Discuss Experiment Ideas With Other Students in Class
Brainstorm with classmates to gather outside ideas. Get together with a group of students in order to come up with a list of interesting ideas, subjects or questions. Use the information you gathered during your brainstorming session to serve as a basis for your experiment topic. This is also a great way to get feedback on some of your own ideas and to determine if they are worth exploring in greater depth.
Check Out Some Classic Psychology Experiments
Looking at a few classic psychology experiments can be an excellent way to trigger some of your own unique ideas. You might try conducting your own version of a famous experiment or even updating a classic experiment to assess a slightly different question.
In many cases, you might not be able to exactly replicate an experiment, but you can use some of the well-known studies as a basis for inspiration.
Review the Literature on a Particular Topic
If you have a general idea about what topic you'd like to do an experiment on, then you might want to spend a little time doing a brief literature review before you start designing your experiment.
Visit your university library and find some of the best books and articles that cover your particular topic. What research has already been done in this area? Are there any major questions that still need to be answered? By tackling this step early, writing the introduction to your lab report or research paper will be much easier later on.
Talk to Your Instructor
If all else fails, consider discussing your concerns with your instructor. Ask for pointers about what might make a good experiment topic for your specific assignment and request some assistance in coming up with a good idea. While it may seem intimidating to ask for help, your instructor should be more than happy to assist and may be able to provide helpful pointers and insights that you might not gather otherwise.
A Word From Verywell
If you need to design or conduct a psychology experiment, there are plenty of great ideas out there for you to explore. Consider one of the ideas offered on this list, or explore some of your own questions about the human mind and behavior. Always be sure to observe any guidelines provided by your instructor and always obtain the appropriate permission before conducting any research with human or animal subjects.
Britt, MA. Psych Experiments. Avon, MA: 2017.
Martin, DW. Doing Psychology Experiments. Belmont,CA: Thompson Wadworth; 2008.