Helpful Psychology Dissertation Ideas

Are you working on a dissertation in psychology for graduate school or an undergraduate honors project? If so, you are probably overwhelmed by the sheer number of available topics. Psychology, after all, is one of the broadest academic disciplines, as it can be applied to nearly every facet of human life. Focusing in on just one research question can be highly challenging.

Don’t let the broadness of psychology get you down! Here are some sub-areas of psychology to focus on when selecting a dissertation topic. Remember, these are just a few of the numerous options!

Social Psychology

Social psychology is the study of average people in the social environment. Unlike clinical or abnormal psychology, which focus on psychological disorders and behavioral problems, social psychology is concerned with the behavior and attitudes of all people, and the effect the external social environment has on people’s thoughts and actions.

Some social psychological research topics include: persuasion, social cognition (thoughts about other people), attitude formation and change, obedience to authority, conformity, prejudice, stereotyping, relationship functioning, and organizational behavior. If you are interested in the effects of society’s expectations and of organizational rules on how people think and behave, this sub-area may be a great place to start.

Clinical Psychology/Counseling Psychology

If you are interested in behavioral disorders or abnormal psychology, clinical and counseling psychology are the areas for you to focus on. Clinical psychologists study the symptoms of psychological disorders, as well as the biological, social, developmental, and emotional roots of disorders. In addition, the field of counseling psychology includes the study of diagnostic methods and the efficacy of various treatments for psychological problems.

Within clinical psychology, there are many sub-areas to focus on. You can focus on childhood mental disorders, adolescent disorders, mood disorders, personality disorders, learning disabilities, the causes of disorders, the efficacy of various therapeutic styles, and the efficacy of various medications in treating mental illness.

Developmental Psychology

If you are interested in how people grow and develop over time, the field of developmental psychology may be the one for you. Developmental psychology is concerned with any human trait that changes or grows with age, and as a result of external circumstances. Some researchers in this field study things like language acquisition or the development of motor skills in infants; others are more focused on the social blossoming of adolscents, or the effects of aging on older adults’ wellbeing. Every age group is of interest to developmental psychologists, from infancy to old age. The effects of parenting and early childhood education on development are of particular interest to this field.

These are a mere handful of the options available when writing your psychology dissertation. For more ideas, consult the American Psychological Association or the National Institute of Mental Health.

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