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Developmental Psychology Research Topics

Ideas for Experiments, Papers, and Other Projects


Developmental Psychology Topics

Check out a few of these ideas for developmental psychology projects.

Image by Sanja Gjenero

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. Here are just a few different ideas that you might want to explore:

  • 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 Begin

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 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 idea to your school's Institutional Review Board.

The Research Process

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:

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