Personality is one of the most popular subjects in psychology, so it's no surprise that this broad area is rife with fascinating research topics. Are you looking for a great topic for a paper, presentation, or experiment for your personality psychology class? Here are just a few ideas that might help kick-start your imagination.
A Few Great Personality Research Topics
- How does temperament relate to creativity? Are people with certain temperaments more or less creative? For your project, you might try administering scales measuring temperament and creativity to a group of participants.
- Are certain personality traits linked to prosocial behaviors? Consider how traits such as kindness, generosity, and empathy might be associated with altruism and heroism.
- How do personality assessments compare? Consider comparing common assessments such as the Myers-Briggs Temperament Indicator, the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, and the 16PF Questionnaire.
- Do people tend to marry individuals with similar personalities?
- What impact does birth order have on personality? Are first-born children more responsible and are last-borns less responsible?
- Is there a connection between personality types and musical tastes? Do people who share certain personality traits prefer the same types of music?
- Are people who participate in athletics more likely to have certain personality characteristics? Compare the personality types of athletes versus non-athletes.
- Are individuals with high self-esteem more competitive than those with low self-esteem? Do those with high self-esteem perform better than those who are lower in self-esteem?
- Is there a correlation between personality type and the tendency to cheat on exams? Are people low in conscientiousness more likely to cheat? Are extroverts or introverts more liable to cheat?
- How do personality factors influence a person's use of social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter? Are individuals who use social media frequently more or less extroverted?
- How does Type A behavior influence success in school? Are people who exhibit Type A characteristics more likely to succeed?
- Is there a connection between a person's personality type and the kind of art they like?
- Do people tend to choose pets based on their personality types? How do the personalities of dog owners compare to those of cat owners?
Before You Begin Your Research
Once you find a suitable research topic, you might be tempted just to dive right in and get started. However, there are a few important steps you need to take first. Most importantly, be sure to run your topic idea past your instructor, particularly if you are planning to conduct an actual experiment with human participants. In most cases, you will need to gain your instructor's permission and possibly submit your plan to your school's human subjects committee to gain approval.
Getting Started With Research
Whether you are doing an experiment, writing a paper, or developing a presentation, background research should always be your next step. What research already exists on the topic? What have other researchers discovered? By spending some time reviewing the existing literature, you will be better able to develop your topic further.
Need some extra help? Be sure to check out our collection of resources below, including the steps you need to follow when performing an experiment, a guide to writing psychology papers, and advice for developing your psychology project.
1What are the Big Five traits?
The Big Five traits are neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness.
2What are psychodynamic theories?
Psychodynamic theories are based on the work of Sigmund Freud. They all emphasize unconscious motives and desires and the importance of childhood experiences in shaping personality.
3In Freud’s view, what causes anxiety?
In Freud’s view, anxiety is caused by the inability of the ego to balance adequately the demands of the id and the superego.
4Describe Maslow’s self-actualizing personality.
Self-actualizing people tend to be both aware and accepting of themselves. They are open and spontaneous. They tend to enjoy their work and typically feel they have a mission to fulfill. They have close friendships without being overly dependent on other people. They also tend to have a good sense of humor. They are more likely than other people to have peak experiences that are spiritually or emotionally satisfying.
5Is sharing a family environment likely to lead to similarities in personality? Why or why not?
Sharing a family environment is not likely to lead to similarities in personality. This is probably because parents don’t act the same way with all their children. Children’s temperaments influence how a parent behaves toward them. A child’s gender and place in a birth order can also affect how that child is treated.