Inspiration & Ideas


Here are a few ideas that you could use or make your own. This isn’t an exhaustive list and there’s so many other studies that you could do. Remember that you have to follow the ethical guidelines and will have to fill in an ethical proposal form (ask your teacher about that).

I can’t take credit for this list. I’m not actually sure where it’s from, I just had it as a word document from somewhere and I give it to my students to inspire them.


  • Perception: you could use visual illusions to look at effects such as prior experience, the instructions given to people or the type of illusion used. You could also look at priming effects – do the images shown before an ambiguous image affect the interpretation of it?
  • Attention: the Stroop effect (speed and accuracy in naming ink colours where the words are colour words or control neutral words) – there are also variations on this task, e.g. a number version.
  • Memory: there is a lot of potential here, looking at eye-witness memory & leading questions, primacy/recency effects, effects of organisation, mnemonic strategies etc
  • Language: there are possibilities with language understanding, the way people recognise words and non-words here, but the theory might be a bit trickier to understand.
  • Emotion recognition in males & females

Developmental: you cannot use under 16’s as participants, so you would have to look at the effects of experience on behaviour here.

Physiological: again, this is a bit trickier without the equipment, but there are possibilities

  • Dreams: you can look at the content or pattern of dreams (dream diaries etc)
  • Sleep: patterns and effects of lack of sleep (with some ethical limits here)
  • Emotion / stress: we have ways to measure arousal/stress (Biodots) which can be used in this
  • Handedness: it is possible to study the differences between left and right handed people on different types of task

Social: ethical restrictions here again, but survey methods and observations can be used

  • Inter-group behaviours
  • Role related behaviours
  • Obedience (you can’t electrocute people though)
  • Helping behaviours e.g. help with homework for lazy or confused student
  • Effects of stereotyping (e.g. by use of vignettes or photos)
  • Conformity: do people go along with what they see or think that other people have done.

Individual differences

  • Identity: do males/females define their identity in different ways? Does it affect how people dress or behave? How do people see their group memberships as affecting their identity?
  • Personality: you can look to see if different personality types behave or think differently
  • Labelling: does the label you give someone affect the way in which other people respond to them? You would probably need to use vignettes for this.
  • Judgements based on individual, e.g. same piece attributed to male or female author – do people rate them differently?
  • Inter-personal distances


  • Links between knowledge and health related behaviour e.g. smoking, exercise
  • Image and trust in a doctor (effects of appearance)
  • Risk perception and health: how accurate are people’s perceptions of risk?
  • Memory for health related information (organisation, clarity etc)
  • Effects of health related advertising, e.g. healthy eating campaign – do students eat more fruit?
  • Personality type (type A or B) and illness

Other ideas

  • Analysis of dating adverts (evolutionary psychology) – are there gender differences in what is looked for or people’s descriptions of themselves?
  • Music beat and pulse rate/arousal or stress level (Uniview do biodots you can use as a measure of arousal)
  • Offering extrinsic vs. intrinsic rewards and their affect on performance
  • Effects of music on performance
  • Personality (e.g. introvert/extravert) and preferred sport (team vs. individual)
  • Map making and gender differences
  • Inter-personal attraction e.g. matching hypothesis.

4 Responses to “Inspiration & Ideas”

  1. m June 17, 2008 at 2:37 pm #

    HELP can’t think of work to do HELP

  2. Jamie Davies June 17, 2008 at 5:00 pm #

    Look above for inspiration.

    Maybe think about the core studies that you did in the AS course. If you liked one of them why not try to look at something similar in a different way; change the participants, the methods or look at one of the problems of the study and try to get around it.

    There’s so much that you can do.

  3. Missy November 10, 2008 at 3:51 pm #

    Hey I’m in grade 11 psychology and some of these ideas have inspired me for my psychology inquiry I will have to post the results

  4. go_shane_go December 1, 2008 at 5:24 pm #

    This is really useful!!!!

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