Cognitive Psychology Research Paper Topics

The field of cognitive psychology offers many good research paper topics.

Discover more about different areas of cognitive psychology. (Credit: LinkedIn)

Discover more about different areas of cognitive psychology.
(Credit: LinkedIn)

Here are some research paper topics on word games to stimulate the brain and stave off dementia, eyewitness testimony psychology and learning disabilities.

Exercise your brain

A good research paper topic on cognitive psychology is to write about the effectiveness of brain exercises. Mind puzzles that stimulate the brain are popular now, especially on the Internet with sites like Lumocity. Psychologists say that keeping the brain active with crossword puzzles, sudoku, new vocabulary words, math problems, card games and learning a new language can stave off dementia, combined with good diet, exercise, low alcohol intake and plenty of sleep. Studies have shown that three hours a week of brain games helped people with early dementia function at a higher level.

“We have also found that a good mix of [mind] exercises builds the strength and flexibility of the healthy brain, too, keeping you sharper and mentally younger whatever your age,” said Dr. Tonia Vojtkofsky, a former professor of psychology and author of Keep Your Brain Stronger For Longer, in the article, “Puzzles to Boost Your Brain & Memory” in the London Daily Mail, April 8, 2017. Vojtkofsky added, “People who continue to test their brains throughout their lives have been shown to have a lower risk of developing dementia.”

Unreliability of eyewitness memory

A fascinating topic of cognitive psychology is the unreliability of eyewitness memory. While juries place so much credence with a witness’s testimony at a trial, it is surprising and alarming how our brain does not recall memories accurately. While perjury is a crime, many witnesses unconsciously recall events, faces and facts erroneously. Most people don’t have a photographic memory, and other memories, emotions and even word association during questioning can taint recollection.

In the speech “The Problem with Eyewitness Testimony” for the Stanford Journal of Legal Studies, Barbara Tversky, Professor of Psychology, and George Fisher, Professor of Law, explained how introducing false words or memories, like seeing a stop sign or a yield sign in a traffic accident, can make witnesses remember seeing something they didn’t. They said, “Psychologists have long recognized that gap filling and reliance on assumptions are necessary to function in our society….We are constantly filling in the gaps in our recollection and interpreting things we hear. For instance, while on the subway we might hear garbled words like ‘next,’ ‘transfer,’ and ‘train.’ Building on our assumptions and knowledge, we may put together the actual statement: ‘Next stop 53rd Street, transfer available to the E train.’ Indeed, we may even remember having heard the full statement.”

Techniques for learning disabilities

Another good topic for a research paper is to discuss new techniques for teaching the increasing number of students who are being diagnosed with learning disabilities. Teachers and physicians need to accurately assess what the student’s disability is, such as developmentally disabled, dyslexia, problems with perception of space or sounds, autism, childhood disintegrative disorder, obsessive-compulsive behavior, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or other conditions.

“It is a disservice to underestimate the intelligence and potential for success of students with a learning disability and other disabilities. Learning disabilities are not indicative of low intelligence,” noted Matthew Lynch in “8 Teaching Techniques for Students With Learning Disabilities,” from Education Week July 7, 2016. Lynch suggests that teachers can encourage and teach students with learning disabilities by: using large-print versions of tests, repeating written instructions out loud, letting students take their test separately and away from distractions, and breaking down parts of a project into smaller assignments.

For more information, check out Questia’s library on Cognitive Psychology.

What are some other good topics in cognitive psychology?

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