Psychology term paper – how to select an unusual topic?


Psychology is one of the top five most popular majors in the United States, and many, many term papers and theses have been written about psychological topics over the years, as a result. However, psychology is also one of the broadest fields in the social sciences and humanities combined-- it is the study of human thought and behavior, after all -- and so there are a plethora of topics to choose from as well.

How do you go about selecting a psychological topic to write about that is unique and interesting? Briefly, you should consider popular culture, current events, personal interest topics, and events from your personal life, and see how psychology is at play in all of these areas. These sources of inspiration should help you select an unusual and captivating topic you can easily write about.

Pop Culture

Think about your favorite films, books, and televisions shows. In every piece of culture you consume, human psychology is involved in all kinds of ways-- even if the characters portrayed are fictional! Think about a story or plotline you find interesting on your favorite show or book and ask yourself how psychology is related to what transpired. Even better, choose you favorite character and think about their unique psychological development, the effect their environment has on them, or their unique personality traits.

Current Events

Psychology also is relevant to a bevy of current events and news topics. Think about what has been on the news lately, and think about how human psychology is involved. Is there currently a political deadlock between two or more parties or factions? What psychological factors underlie this conflict? Has a trusted public figure just committed an egregious act, or done something surprising? How could psychological science explain this turn of events?

Personal Interests

A surefire way to locate a term paper topic that will snare your interest is to look at the things you already find fascinating. Are you a music buff? Think about the psychology of music consumption, or the effects music has on mood or productivity. Do you love sports? Sports psychology is a burgeoning and important field, and many studies still need to be done on the effects of certain psychological factors on sports performance. Anything that involves human behavior can be related back to psychology.

Personal Events

Many famous psychologists have been inspired by events and quandaries in their own personal lives. Individuals who are exposed to a great deal of prejudice, for example, frequently go on to study the effects of prejudice on mood, stress, and psychological health. People who grew up in poverty have gone on to study the effects of a poor upbringing on adult psychological traits. Look to your own life and see if there are any psychological questions or insights you can glean.