Research Topics & Ideas: Psychology

100+ Psychology Topic Ideas To Fast-Track Your Research

Research topics and ideas in psychology

If you’re starting out on the dissertation or thesis journey for your psychology degree, the very first challenge you’ll face is finding a solid research topic. In this post, we’ll help get the topic ideation process started by providing a meaty list of research ideas, spanning a range of psychology sub-disciplines. We’ll also look at some examples from actual theses and dissertations to give you an idea of what these look like in the real world.

NB – This is just the start…

The topic ideation and evaluation process has multiple steps (which we’ll explain a little later). Therefore, it’s important to recognise that this post is only the first step in finding a high-quality psychology-centred research topic. To develop a research topic, you’ll need to identify a clear and convincing research gap, and a viable plan of action to fill that gap.

If this all sounds a bit intimidating, be sure to check out our free dissertation mini-course, which covers the process of writing a dissertation or thesis from A-Z. You can also sign up for our free webinar that explores how to find a high-quality research topic. Alternatively, if you’d like hands-on help, have a look at our 1-on-1 coaching service.

How To Find A Research Topic

In the video below, we explain how to find suitable research ideas (in psychology or any field), and how to then refine those into well-articulated potential topics for your dissertation or thesis. We also discuss a few important evaluation criteria to help you make the right choice for your project.

Below you’ll find a list of research ideas to get your thinking started. Please note that these research topic ideas are intentionally broad and generic, so you will need to refine them a fair deal using the techniques we discussed in the video above.

We’ve grouped the topic ideas based on a few popular areas of psychology to make it a little easier for you to find something in your particular field of interest. That said, there is naturally some overlap between topics, so keep this in mind.

Research Ideas: Behavioural Psychology

  1. Cultural variation in behaviour and mental health of adolescents during a disaster: a case study
  2. The impact of parental drug use and risky behaviour on early child development
  3. The effects of video game violence on aggressive behaviour among teenage boys in school
  4. The relationship between adverse childhood experiences and adult risk-seeking behaviour
  5. The impact of physical exercise on anxiety and health-harming behaviour
  6. The relationship between personality traits and addiction behaviour
  7. The effects of reinforcement schedules on decision-making and associative learning
  8. The effects of daily mindfulness practice on stress and anxiety in middle-aged women
  9. The use of behavioural interventions in the treatment of eating disorders in poorer communities
  10. Understanding implicit cognitive processes involved in the over-consumption of fast food
  11. The use of cognitive behavioural therapy for alcohol addiction treatment
  12. The impact of extensive technology use in children on long-term attention and focus
  13. The impact of social media on self-destructive behaviour and poor mental health outcomes
  14. Exploring the role of sleep and sleep deprivation on healthy behaviours
Webinar - How to find a research topic

Research Ideas: Clinical Psychology

  1. The use of mindfulness-based approaches in the treatment of anxiety disorders among college students
  2. The use of technology in the delivery of psychological services in war-torn countries
  3. The effectiveness of dialectical behaviour therapy for borderline personality disorder
  4. The use of virtual reality technology in the treatment of phobias and PTSD among war veterans
  5. The role of childhood adversity on adult mental health in immigrant populations in the USA
  6. The role of genetics and epigenetics in the development of bipolar disorder in Pakistani women: an integrative review
  7. The effectiveness of pharmacotherapy in the treatment of social anxiety among hikikomori in Japan
  8. The perception of healthcare workers and patients on the use of teletherapy for the delivery of psychological services
  9. The impact of social support on mental health outcomes among single parents.
  10. The effectiveness of integrative therapeutic approaches in the treatment of schizophrenia
  11. The effectiveness of trauma-focused therapies on post-traumatic growth in domestic abuse survivors
  12. The role and use of cognitive-behavioural therapy for depression among first-generation students
  13. The effectiveness of family therapy in addressing childhood trauma and depression
  14. The impact of cultural mistrust on the diagnosis and treatment of mental health issues in culturally-diverse populations
  15. The effectiveness of group therapy on post-traumatic stress symptoms among survivors of sexual assault

Research Ideas: Cognitive Psychology

  1. The impact of lifelong aerobic exercise on cognitive function in old age
  2. The effects of evening screen use on cognitive development in preschool children
  3. The impact of sleep deprivation on decision-making among graduate students
  4. The use of neuroimaging to understand the neural basis of memory retrieval
  5. The effect of conservative religious homes on social functioning in LGBT+ adolescents
  6. The role of positive emotions in working memory among high school learners
  7. The neural basis of decision-making and problem-solving during undergraduate statistic assessments
  8. The neural basis of language processing among adults learning English as a second language
  9. The role of technological tools in improving working memory in older adults
  10. The role of attention in emotional face processing among adult males
  11. The impact of depression on cognitive function during ageing
    The impact of daily meditation and mindfulness practice on cognitive function
  12. The relationship between increased protein intake and improved cognitive function
  13. The effects of stress on cognitive function among final-year learners

Research Ideas: Developmental Psychology

  1. The impact of maternal affection on cognitive, social, and emotional development
  2. The effects of parenting styles on children’s executive function
  3. The impact of late-night screen use on child development
  4. The role of digital play on child development outcomes
  5. Exploring the impact of poverty on early child development in Brazil
  6. The trauma-informed care as moderating the impact of trauma on child development
  7. Evaluating the relationship between peer relationship quality and child social development
  8. The impact of child-targeted media and advertising on child behavioural development
  9. The role of parental attachment in child resilience
  10. The moderating impact of culture on bullying and child social development
  11. The impact of single-parenting on child development in India
  12. The impact of early educational interventions on child socio-emotional development
  13. The impact of digital technology use on adolescent development and mental health
  14. The impact of socioeconomic status on child executive function
  15. The role of genetics and epigenetics on child neurodevelopmental outcomes linked to depression

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Research Ideas: Educational Psychology

  1. The relationship between self-regulated learning and academic performance in asynchronous versus synchronous learning environments
  2. Exploring effective parental involvement strategies and their impact on student achievement
  3. The role of intrinsic motivation in formative assessment in the classroom
  4. The impact of classroom management and practice on student learning and behaviour
  5. University students’ preference regarding online learning environments
  6. The effects of gentrification on student achievement in traditionally poor neighbourhoods
  7. The impact of teacher expectations and academic self-concept on K12 student mathematics performance
  8. The use and effectiveness of game-based learning in a high school biology classroom
  9. The impact of prejudice on the relationship between student motivation and academic performance among Black university students
  10. The impact of culture on second language English student learning preferences
  11. The effects of student self-efficacy and engagement on academic performance in secondary school mathematics
  12. The role of metacognition in learning musicality in hip hop
  13. The role of small group instruction on teacher efficacy and stress in early childhood education
  14. The perception and use of multimedia among high school biology teachers in France
  15. The use of augmented reality applications and its impact on student learning, motivation and attitude

Research Ideas: Forensic Psychology

  1. The impact of trauma on the psychological functioning of police officers and first responders
  2. Understanding cultural considerations during forensic psychological assessment and treatment of trauma
  3. Ethical considerations of the use of AI in forensic psychology in the legal system
  4. The psychological factors related to recidivism among white collar female offenders in the USA
  5. The psychological factors related to false confessions among juveniles
  6. Understanding the use of psychological assessment in the evaluation of eyewitness testimony in criminal courts in England
  7. The impact of trauma on the reflective functioning of adult female sexual assault victims
  8. The use and effectiveness of psychological interventions in reducing recidivism among non-violent criminals
  9. The impact of domestic violence on the mental health and forensic evaluation of men
  10. Exploring the ethical considerations and use of behavioural analysis in the study of criminal behaviour
  11. The use and limitations of neuropsychological assessment in forensic evaluations
  12. The use of social media forensics in evaluating criminal behaviour in violent crimes
  13. The racialised use of psychological assessment in the evaluation of competency to stand trial in Canada
  14. Exploring the use and availability of virtual reality technologies in forensic psychology in Spain
  15. The impact of motivational interviewing-based interventions among criminalized drug users

Research Ideas: Social Psychology

  1. The impact of prejudice and discrimination on social behaviour among African immigrants in South Africa
  2. The impact of social networks on behaviour and well-being among young adult females
  3. The effects of social identity on non-conformity in University students
  4. The effects of group dynamics on risk-seeking behaviour in adult men
  5. The impact of social media on the quality of interpersonal relationships among high school learners
  6. The impact of parental emotional intelligence on pro-social behaviour in children and adolescents
  7. The effects of conformity and deviance on social attitudes and behaviour during a global recession
  8. The effects of Tik Tok on social comparison and self-esteem among teenage girls
  9. Understanding gendered differences in social influence and algorithms on impulsive decision-making
  10. The effects of social support on mental health among healthcare workers in the UK
  11. The effects of gender roles on social behaviour among trans teens
  12. The impact of perceived power and social status on the behaviour of social media influencers
  13. The impact of social norms on prosocial behaviour among women
  14. The effects of community participation on aggression and violence in middle-aged men
  15. The impact of culture and gender on social behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic

Research Ideas: Sports Psychology

  1. The moderating role of cultural factors on the relationship between mental health and sports performance in team sports
  2. The role of mindfulness practice in addressing stress and anxiety in young national athletes
  3. The relationship between team cohesion and performance in cricket teams
  4. The effect of transformational leadership on female sports teams in Canada
  5. The effect of positive self-talk on athletic performance and motivation among Olympic athletes
  6. The use and perception of hypnosis in New Zealand team sports
    Understanding stress and burnout in University team athletes
  7. The efficacy of personalised nutrition and diet on athletic performance among sprinters
  8. Exploring mental preparation techniques and their effect on athletic motivation and resilience among team-sport athletes
  9. Exploring the perception and understanding of goal-setting characteristics on athletic performance among team coaches
  10. The effects of motivational feedback on the performance of female gymnasts
  11. The perception and use of visualization and imagery among coaches as a means to enhance sport performance
  12. The impact of sports injuries on mental health and recovery in high school athletes
  13. The moderating role of sleep on mental toughness and sports performance in Olympic athletes
  14. The use and perception of technology in sports training and performance in little league softball
Webinar - How to find a research topic

Psychology-Related Dissertations & Theses

While the ideas we’ve presented above are a decent starting point for finding a research topic in psychology, they are fairly generic and non-specific. So, it helps to look at actual dissertations and theses to see how this all comes together in practice.

Below, we’ve included a selection of research projects from various psychology degree programs to help refine your thinking. These are actual dissertations and theses, written as part of Master’s and PhD-level programs, so they can provide some useful insight as to what a research topic looks like in practice.

  • Effects of a Patient Question Prompt List on Outpatient Palliative Care Appointments (McDarby, 2022)
  • The role of affect and exercise goals in physical activity engagement in younger and older adults (Stojanovic, 2022)
  • Lay Theories about Whether Emotion Helps or Hinders Reasoning and Well-being (Karnaze, 2022)
  • The effects of blast-induced traumatic brain injury on two transgenic models of Alzheimer’s Disease (Gann, 2020)
  • Understanding the parental mind: Examining the stability of parental reflective functioning across the birth of a child and associations with maternal mind-mindedness (Pitzen, 2021)
  • An investigation of ineffective ally behaviours (Collier, 2019)
  • Response Inhibition-Related Beta Power: Distinguishing Cognitively Intact Elders by Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease (Evans, 2021)
  • Recognition Memory of Extremely High-Frequency Words (Miller, 2019)
  • The Relationship between Dementia Caregiver Burden and Caregiver Communications in a Memory Clinic Setting (Martin, 2021)
  • Examination of Maternal Versus Paternal Ratings of Child Pre-Injury Functioning in Predicting Child Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms (Sayer, 2021)
  • Electromyography As A Means of Predicting The Rubber Hand Illusion (Teaford, 2021)
  • Linking Diversity Climate and Feedback Seeking Through Interpersonal Processes and Race Effects (Flores, 2021)

Looking at these titles, you can probably pick up that the research topics here are far more specific and narrowly-focused, compared to the generic ones presented earlier. This is an important thing to keep in mind as you develop your own research topic. That is to say, to create a top-notch research topic, you must be precise and target a specific context with specific variables of interest. In other words, you need to identify a clear, well-justified research gap.

Need more help?

Still unsure about how to find the right topic for your research project? Check out our private coaching services, where we work with psychology students on a 1:1 basis to help them find the perfect topic.

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