Are you looking for a topic for a psychology paper, experiment, or science fair project? Developmental psychology is a fascinating area and one of the most popular topics within psychology. It can also be a very broad subject that can include anything from prenatal development to health during the final stages of life.
The following are just a few different topics that might help inspire you. Remember, these are just ideas to help you get started.
You might opt to explore one of these areas, or you might think of a related question that interests you as well.
A Few Developmental Psychology Topics
- Does teaching infants sign language help or hinder the language acquisition process?
- How do parenting styles impact a child's level of physical activity? Are children raised by parents with permissive or uninvolved parents less active than those raised by parents with authoritative or authoritarian styles?
- Do students who listen to music while studying perform better or worse on exams?
- How does bullying impact student achievement? Are bullied students more likely to have worse grades than their non-bullied peers?
- Could packaging nutritious foods in visually appealing ways encourage children to make healthier food choices?
- Do children who eat breakfast perform better in school than those who do not eat breakfast?
- Which type of reinforcement works best for getting students to complete their homework: a tangible reward (such as a piece of candy) or social reinforcement (such as offering praise when homework is completed on time)?
- Does birth order have an impact on procrastination? Are first-borns less likely to procrastinate? Are last-borns more likely to put off tasks until the last minute?
- Are older adults who rate high in self-efficacy more likely to have better memory than those with low self-efficacy?
- How do explanations for the behavior of others change as we age? Are younger adults more likely to blame internal factors for events and older adults more likely to blame external variables?
- Do mental games such as word searches, Sudoku, and word matching help elderly adults keep their cognitive skills sharp?
- Do the limits of short-term memory change as we age? How do the limits of short-term memory compare at ages, 15, 25, 45, and 65?
Before You Pick a Developmental Psychology Topic
Before you start working on any paper, experiment, or science project, the first thing you need to do is understand the rules your instructor has established for the assignment. Be sure to check the official guidelines given by your teacher. If you are not sure about these guidelines, ask your instructor if there are any specific requirements before you get started on your research.
If you are going to actually perform an experiment, you need to present your idea to your instructor in order to gain his or her permission before going forward. In some cases, you might have to also present your plan to your school's Institutional Review Board.
Researching Your Developmental Psychology Topic
After you have gotten to move forward with your chosen topic, the next step is to do some background research. This step is essential! If you are writing a paper, the information you find will make up your literature review.
If you are performing an experiment, it will provide background information for the introduction of your lab report. For a psychology science project, this research will help you in your presentation and can help you decide how to best approach your own experiment.
For more information on completing your paper or project, be sure to check out the links and resources below:
Theses/Dissertations from 2017
From attitude to intent to action: Predictors of psychological help-seeking behavior among clinically distressed adults, Rachel Lori Bitman-Heinrichs
Mining Creativity: Video Game Creativity Learning Effects, Jorge Alberto Blanco-Herrera
Considering the Role of Relationship-Contingent Self-Esteem: Attachment Style, Conflict Behaviors, and Relationship Satisfaction, Amanda Katherine Buduris
Measuring aggressive driving motivations: Instrument development and validation, Ashley Buller
The Positive and Negative Valence of Gender in Traditional and Non-Traditional Career Choices, Megan Norene Callahan
Couples social support quality in the context of dyadic emotional experiences, Frederick Clavel
Negation-induced forgetting: Is there a consequence to saying "no"?, Rachel Elizabeth Dianiska
Would disfluency by any other name still be disfluent? Examining the boundary conditions of the disfluency effect, Jason Geller
Reasonable or restrictive? Mindfulness as a moderator of reactance to environmental messages, Anne Danielle Herlache
Dyadic analyses of daily interactions: Effects of perceived social support and social control on physical activity behavior, Melissa A. Johnson-Siegel
Don't judge a book by its author: Central and peripheral processing in narrative persuasion, Kelly Ann Kane
Evaluating the potential roles of body dissatisfaction in exercise avoidance, Kimberly Rae More
The use of filler samples moderates the effect of contextual information on forensic match decisions, Adele Quigley-McBride
The effects of prequestions on classroom learning, Shuhebur Rahman
Predicting academic major satisfaction using environmental factors and self-determination theory, Mary Catherine Schenkenfelder
The effect of egocentric and environmental cues on macro-reference frame selection, Zachary Daniel Siegel
Psychometric evaluation of the Simulator Sickness Questionnaire as a measure of cybersickness, William B. Stone Iii
How to engage European-American participants in racial dialogue: The role of dialogue structure and mixed race groups, Meredith Tittler
The self-distracting mind in the digital age: Investigating the influence of a brief mindfulness intervention on mind wandering, Caglar Yildirim
Theses/Dissertations from 2016
The effects of moral disengagement and avatar identification on player experience of guilt, Johnie Joe Allen
The relationship between congruent dimensions of the self and nostalgia, Adrienne Austin
Relation of Reinforcement Sensitivity on Vocational Interest and Self-Efficacy, Dustin Forrest Baker
Toward Comprehension: Improving Informed Consent in Behavioral Genetic Research, Zachary Robert Batchelder
Trans*forming understanding of sexual orientation and gender variant minorities: Testing the minority stress model with a diverse sample, Karen Elaine Bittner
Interpersonal risk factors, shame, and depression among Asian Americans: A longitudinal study of perfectionistic family discrepancy and self-compassion as moderators, Stephanie Carrera
A cross-cultural comparison of responses to true accusations and the role of honor values, Ceren Gunsoy
Aggressiveness and sleep: People with quick tempers and less anger control have objectively worse sleep quality, Garrett Hisler
Dialectical relationship thinking: examination of partner evaluation and partner knowledge organization across cultures, Chun Pan Lam
Reducing barriers to psychotherapy via an online self-affirmation intervention, Daniel G. Lannin
Self-Construal and Forgiveness Revisited: Examining the Motivations for Forgiving Others, Jennifer L. L. Major
Mental Health Stigma in Religious Communities: Development of a Quantitative Measure, Lily A. Mathison
Career Decision-Making within the College Social Microcosm: Social Value Determinants, Self-Enhancement Bias, and Psychological Needs, Kathryn M. Pesch
The use of a self-affirmation intervention to increase the psychological help-seeking behavior of student Veterans, Andrew Seidman
Bayesian integration of spatial navigation cues, Lori Ann Sjolund
Does access to external storage lead to less emphasis on learning?, Anna Slavina
Effects of stereotypical media representations of American Indians on implicit and explicit bias: the power of Pocahontas, Haley A. Strass
Social comparison: dimensional influences on academic and cccupational choice, Elizabeth M. TenBrook
Modeling cohesion change in group psychotherapy: the influence of group leader behaviors and client characteristics, Jeritt Ross Tucker
To deny or to confess: An interrogation decision-making model, Yueran Yang
Theses/Dissertations from 2015
Overprivileged, self-absorbed, dumb jocks: exploration of stereotypes of student-athletes, Caitlin Caprice Anderson
Adjustment to the dissolution of a romantic relationship: effects of ex-relationship specific thought content valence, Rachel E. Brenner
The right attitude: gender, conservatism, and career choice, Megan Norene Callahan
Testing ratings of violent video games: how well do they measure up?, Katherine Elizabeth Center
Sociocultural influences, body dissatisfaction, and disordered eating among European American and Chinese female college students, Yi Du
The impact of self-efficacy, stigma, subjective distress, and practical factors affecting clients' intent to "no-show", Kaitlyn J. Florer
Development of the Help-Seeker Stereotype Scale, Joseph Hugh Hammer
Science denial as intergroup conflict: using social identity theory, intergroup emotions theory and intergroup threat theory to explain angry denial of science, Sara Prot
Improving distance perception in virtual reality, Zachary Daniel Siegel
Pre-feedback eyewitness statements: proposed safeguard against feedback effects on evaluations of eyewitness testimony, Laura Smalarz
Psychological distress and attitudes toward seeking help for personal and career counseling: the contributions of public and self-stigma, Spurty Surapaneni
Trainee’s anxiety and counseling self-efficacy in counseling sessions, Pei-Chun Tsai
Theses/Dissertations from 2014
Effects of expectancy and agency on the feedback-related negativity, Stephen J. Anderson
Does categorical perception interfere with drawing accuracy?, Larissa F. Arnold
We can do it, but I wouldn't like it: Gender, interests, and occupational perceptions, CariAnn Marie Bergner
Examination of an emotion-focused therapy intervention to promote self-forgiveness for interpersonal offenses, Marilyn Ann Cornish
When Lady Luck cheats on you, Omesh Johar
Facebook and romantic relationships: A daily diary analysis, Melissa A. Johnson
Does approach motivation account for the impact of locomotion on positive affect?, Jeffrey Conrath Miller
System justification, work ethic, and just-world beliefs: A motivated reasoning perspective, Renee Murray
Occupational knowledge in college students: Examining relations to career certainty, career decision-making self-efficacy, and interest congruence, Kathryn M. Pesch
Incongruence and attitudes toward career counseling, Sara Schwatken
Cue integration and competition during navigation, Lori Ann Sjolund
Bluffed by the dealer: Distinguishing false pleas from false confessions, Miko M. Wilford
Exploring the origin of pain of payment in cash and its relevance to computer payment interface, Kam Leung Yeung
Theses/Dissertations from 2013
Ethical judgments of deception in psychological research, Paul Lawrence Ascheman
Evaluation of sign language learning tools: Understanding features for improved collaboration and communication between a parent and a child, Melissa Burton
Urban forecast: An analysis of a crowdsourced mobile app for crisis management, Jose Camou
Bicultural competence as a mediator and moderator of acculturative family distancing and psychological outcomes, Stephanie Carrera
Can interpolated testing reduce retrieval-induced forgetting?, Matthew R. Erdman
Lesbian and bisexual women's experiences with dating and romantic relationships during adolescence, Indria Michelle Jenkins
Testing can enhance or reduce suggestibility: The importance of contextual detail during misinformation exposure, Jessica Ann LaPaglia
Ability assessment and vocational outcomes: the impact of utilizing an ability measure in predicting choice, aspirations, and satisfaction, Wyndolyn M A Ludwikowski
Delaying feedback is beneficial, but only when curious about the answer, Kellie Marie Mullaney
Religious and spiritual issues in group counseling: Beliefs and preferences of university counseling center clients and therapists, Brian Christopher Post
Theses/Dissertations from 2012
What would my avatar do? Video games and risky decision making, Kira Bailey
Understanding differences in leadership interest and confidence, Dustin Forrest Baker
Re-appraising the situation and its impact on aggressive behavior: Theoretical and applied implications, Christopher Paul Barlett
Compensation's effect on risk perception in behavioral genetic research, Zachary Robert Batchelder
Bicultural competence and education among Latino, Raquel Botello Zamarron
Sources of prejudice and how they interact, Michelle L. Cushman
Acculturation, social connectedness, and subjective well-being among Chinese international students: A test of Berry's acculturation framework, Yi Du
Honor and shame in honor and dignity cultures: How can you re-affirm your own honor once it is tarnished?, Berna Gercek Swing
Personality, interests, and self-efficacy: The incremental validity of basic level constructs in discriminating among college majors and occupational aspirations, Kate Ellen Ekle Junk
Configural, holistic, and coordinate processing: The same or different?, Jonathan Taylor Kahl
The effect of self-affirmation on stigma associated with seeking psychological help, Daniel G. Lannin
Plugged in: The effects of electronic media use on attention problems, cognitive control, visual attention, and aggression, Edward Lee Swing
The Neural Correlates of Emotion Regulation, Brandy Nicole Tiernan
More than "mentally-ill": Differentiating help-seeking from mental-illness stigma in a college population, Jeritt Ross Tucker
Disordered eating and psychological help-seeking: The role of perceptions of need, LeAnn Mills Waterhouse
Let's make a deal: Exploring plea acceptance rates in the guilty and the innocent, Miko M. Wilford
How uncertain future consequences exacerbate a propensity among suspects to make short-sighted confession decisions, Yueran Yang
An Implicit approach to object valuation and psychological ownership, Kam Leung Yeung
Keep an eye on future feelings: Interpersonal affective forecasting and self-regulation, Meng Zhang
Theses/Dissertations from 2011
Students in context: Effects of psychological needs and environmental press on academic and life satisfaction, Sarah Fetter Anthoney
Religiosity and gender ideology as predictors of relationship quality: Mediating effects of relationship commitment, Karen Bittner
Effectiveness of an outreach program designed to enhance college students' help-seeking attitudes, intentions, and to reduce stigmas, Weimin Grace Blocher
Student evaluation of teaching: Individual differences and bias effects, Verena Sylvia Bonitz
Evaluation of desktop interface displays for 360-degree video, Wutthigrai Boonsuk
The influence of perceived social norms on the relationship of perceptions of sexual intent and commitment of sexual aggression, Sarah Edwards
The Influence of Corrective Feedback on Retrieval-induced Forgetting, Matthew Erdman