Four High School Psychology Project Ideas

By Stephanie Torreno

In high school, you may have the opportunity to take a psychology class where you'll explore many topics, from memory and learning to mental disorders. These diverse topics can spark many interesting project ideas and demonstrate much about human behavior

Ideas for Projects

The study of psychology includes such different topics that all relate to human behavior. Whether you're taking an introductory to psychology or an advanced placement course, you will study how individuals learn and what influences cognition and memory. In topics related to social psychology, you may better understand how prejudices and stereotypes are formed and how people act and think in groups. All of these topics can become project ideas when a question is asked and research is conducted to answer that question. Below are four project ideas about these various topics and suggestions for conducting a your report.

What Factors Influence Academic Performance?

1. What is the effect of noise distraction on test scores? Your hypothesis will probably read that noise distraction will have a negative influence on test scores. Give a group of students a test, such as an SAT practice test, during two sessions. During the first session, play distracting music or a language CD. Have the students take the same test under quiet conditions. Did students score better during one session than the other?

2. Does academic achievement influence a student’s self-esteem? With the teacher’s cooperation, ask two classes to fill out the Rosenberg self-esteem scale a week before a test. Return to the classes and ask the students to retake the self-esteem scale after their tests had been returned to them. Before returning the tests to one class, though, ask the teacher to give grades one letter grade below their true grade. The other class receives their correct test scores. Did the students’ grades affect their self-esteem? Be sure to immediately inform students and give them their correct test scores after they complete the scale.

How do we Remember?

3. Does color enhance memory? Compose three lists of 12 words that are not used in daily conversation. On the first list, print the 12 words in black ink. On the second list of the same 12 words, print 11 in black ink and 1 in red ink. On the third list of the same 12 words, print 6 in black ink and 6 in red ink. Give three classes a different style of the same words on an overhead. Instruct the students to look at the lists of words for one minute each. At the end of one minute, remove the list of words and asked students to write down as many of the words as they remember. Collect the data and compute the results. Did students remember the red words better?

How Influencial are Stereotypes & Prejudices on our Judgment?

4. Cut out pictures of two models from magazines. One model should be thin and the other one should be full-figured. Write a short survey with questions such as: Which model looks healthier? Which model looks more attractive? Which model looks happier? Ask four categories of people to take the survey – male teens, female teens, males over 40, and females over 40. Collect the data and compute the results. Did the models’ weight influence participants’ answers?

In completing your project, remember to use the same language throughout your research report. When writing the results of your project, use the phrase “research shows" or “research indicates," not “research proves," since nothing is proven in psychology. Also think about other variables or factors that could have influenced your research, whether your hypothesis was supported or not.


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