Psychology Essay Topics

The scientific study of the human mind and behaviour, psychology essays tend to explore the multifaceted nature of the discipline and the various perspectives and theoretical contributions within it.

If you are looking for inspiration for your psychology essay, we have compiled a list of our top 30, in line with the latest trends.

Contents

Research Methods in Psychology

Empirical research is necessary for ensuring that psychologists can gain a wider understanding of the factors that may impact a person’s mental health as well as in exploring the reasons why we are the way we are. The following questions are all related to conducting primary and secondary research, and the potential challenges that the researcher may face when studying the human mind.

  • ‘Science brings society to the next level; ethics keep us there’ (Dr Hal Simeroth). With regard to this quote, discuss the ethical issues that may occur as a result of a psychological investigation and how these could be navigated.
  • Compare and contrast the effectiveness of qualitative and quantitative research methods in psychological research.
  • How would you design a study to investigate the psychology of sales consumerism?
  • Discuss the similarities and differences between causation and correlation.
  • With the right to a voice and for that voice to be heard enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights to a Child (1989), explain why the participation of children and young people in research is important. Furthermore, explain what researchers have to gain from recognising children and young people as ‘active, knowledgeable social agents’ who possess a unique and expert understanding of their own experiences of life (Lomax, 2012).

Developmental Psychology

One of the key topics within the study of psychology is that of development, and how we change as we grow. There are many theories across the varied disciplines that attempt to explain development across the human life span, with some example questions including:

  • Discuss the development of gender identity, with reference to three theoretical perspectives.
  • ‘A child’s greatest achievements are possible in play, achievements that tomorrow will become her level of real action’ (Vygotsky 1978). Provide a critical analysis of the importance of play in children, with reference to both Piagetian theory and Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development.
  • Bandura’s bobo dolls and Learned Aggression: Discuss the potential impact of witnessing violence on children.
  • Provide a critical analysis of the factors that impact the acquisition of language and a child’s language learning capabilities.
  • Apply Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development to a case study, including a critical analysis of how he explains the manner in which an individual advances through the eight life stages.

Social Psychology

Humans are inherently social beings, and essay questions relating to social psychology tend to focus on our relationships with others as part of a group, organisation, or the wider society. Questions related to social psychology could include:

  • Discuss the principles of team or group dynamics, with reference to navigating conflict and promoting productivity.
  • ‘In mourning, it is the world which has become poor and empty; in melancholia, it is the ego itself.’ (Freud, 1917). Examine the Impact of bereavement or loss at different stages of human development.
  • Explore the potential impacts on our psychological well-being of lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Men are three times more likely to die by suicide compared to women, with men aged between 40 and 49 having the highest suicide rates. Discuss the potential barriers which may prevent men from seeking support for mental health issues.
  • Conformity, prejudice and social discrimination: provide an analysis of the psychology of race, ethnicity and racism in 21st century Britain.

Cognitive Psychology

These questions focus on the brain and its cognitive abilities, including everything from neurological differences to memory. Such example questions could include:

  • Define cognition and cognitive psychology, and explore the correlation between the increased interest in cognitive psychology and the decline of the behaviourist approach.
  • Recovering memory loss: what factors may result in a person repressing parts of their memory?
  • What is your personality type? Explore the Myers-Brigg personality test and conclude whether you consider it to be a useful tool of self-evaluation or pseudoscience with little empirical evidence to support it.
  • Examine the role of the media in shaping our identity.
  • Determine an appropriate age of criminal responsibility, with reference to neurological differences in adolescence and the impact of puberty on a person’s psychology.

Mental Health Issues and Psychology

Many students of psychology have ambitions of being a psychologist, therapist or psychiatrist. As a result, they will need to develop a comprehensive understanding of the various types of mental health issues, particularly when you consider that an estimated 1 in 4 of us will experience some form of mental health issue in our lifetime.

  • Discuss the potential causes of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), and how it is associated with increased rates of therapeutic pessimism.
  • Is depression a 21st-century issue? Examine the potential factors behind the increased rates of diagnosis.
  • Fear during the pandemic: What may have perpetuated fear during the COVID 19 outbreak and how this could impact upon a person with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
  • Examine the interactionist approach and the manner in which it explains the development of schizophrenia, with reference to Meehl’s diathesis-stress model (1962).
  • How important are biopsychosocial Factors in protecting a person’s mental health and wellbeing?

Treatment and Therapy

Finally, the last set of questions are pertaining to psychological treatment and therapy, as well as any potential barriers to intervention. These questions include:

  • Discuss the effectiveness of Rogers’ Person-Centred Therapy (1959) and how this has impacted the delivery of health and social care in a country of your choosing.
  • Relieving the pressure on mental health teams? Outline the success of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) in the UK and highlight any potential barriers to its effectiveness.
  • Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: How can an individual achieve self-actualisation?
  • What are the defining characteristics of a humanistic approach to therapy?
  • Creating false memories: Examine the factors that could result in a person creating false memories and the potential impact that this could have on their experience of therapy.

 

 

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