Theories of personality and emotion: Good research paper topics

Personality and emotion is an area of psychological study that deals with the social behavior of individuals based on their intrapersonal factors. Personality has been defined as a pattern of behavior and goals developed over time, while emotion is an integration of feelings and wants at one particular time.

Personality and emotion offer many interesting research topics. (Credit: Sevae Unplugged)

Personality and emotion offer many interesting research topics. (Credit: Sevae Unplugged)

For your psychology class, here are some interesting research paper topics on the theories of personality and emotion.

Shyness in childhood has lasting effects

One idea for a research paper topic on emotions is to analyze the lasting effects of shyness. In the study “Self-Identified Childhood Shyness and Perceptions of Shy Children: Voices of Elementary School Teachers” by Mary Grace Lao and Tabasum Akseer, posted in International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, July 2013, the authors explain: “Coplan and Armer (2007) define shyness as an individual’s feelings of uneasiness or hesitation when faced with a novel or unfamiliar situation. Growing evidence suggests that shyness, particularly in early childhood, may pose a risk for later adjustment difficulties such as internalizing problems (e.g., anxiety, depressive symptoms), problems with peers (e.g., rejection, victimization), and school difficulties (e.g., poor academic achievement, school refusal).” The authors add that an individual’s childhood plays an important role with regards to learning and socialization in both the classroom and throughout the lifespan.

The role of personality and emotion in business negotiations

Another interesting research paper topic is to discuss the role of personality, emotions and strategic moves at work in the process of business negotiations. In fact, they can be responsible for the success or failure to reach agreement, compromise and resolution. Lawyer and psychologist Delee Fromm wrote in “Mind Games: Power, Personality and Emotion In Business Negotiation” posted in Negotiator Magazine 2006: “In some negotiations, especially in a bitter dispute, feelings may be more important than talk. Emotions on one side tend to generate emotions on the other side and this may quickly bring a negotiation to an impasse or an end. For this reason it is important to be aware not only of your own emotions but also those of the other party.”

Reversal theory and the psychology of things

Psychologists have been studying the way that inanimate objects (cars, clothes, houses, jewelry) can have opposite (or reversal) kinds of motivational and emotional impact on people, such as rewarding/punishing, promising/warning, helping (tools)/hindering (barrier) and arousing/relaxing. For example, a car is a functional object that brings us from one place to another, however, the industry of advertising and marketing tries to persuade us that an expensive car will provide more emotional satisfaction (reward) than a cheap one. Alternatively, a car that is stuck in traffic or keeps breaking down can provide an adverse emotional reaction (anger). The color, shape and cultural meanings attached to objects enlist different emotional responses from us.

Using this knowledge, Michael J. Apter in his study “Towards a Theory of Things: Reversal Theory and Design” published in Journal of Motivation, Emotion, and Personality 2014, said in his conclusion: “Understanding the motivational effects of the physical world of cars, streets, shops, office, and the like, should be an unavoidable part of reversal theory since they play such a large part in our lives.” Apter added that the theory of things can “help us to manipulate motivational states in useful and practical ways for a variety of purposes.”

Organizations studying personality and emotion:

For more sources of information, here are some research organizations studying personality and emotion:

  • Personality and Emotion Research Lab, Simon Fraser University, http://members.psyc.sfu.ca/labs/perl – studies better ways to understand the difficulties that people have in regulating or managing their emotions.
  • Center for Addictions, Personality, and Emotion Research, Department of Psychology at the University of Maryland – focuses on understanding the development of addictive behaviors, psychological conditions, mood, anxiety and personality disorders.

Check out Questia’s Personality and Emotion library for more research information. 

What are some other topics that describe ways that personality and emotions affect people psychologically?

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