Fun Psychology Experiment Ideas
If you are taking a psychology class, then you might at some point be asked to either design and imaginary experiment or actually perform an experiment or study. Finding psychology experiment ideas is not necessarily difficult, but finding a good experimental or study topic that is right for your needs can be a little tough. You need to find something that meets the guidelines and, perhaps most importantly, is approved by your instructor.
Your professor or instructor is often the best person to consult for advice right from the start. In most cases, you will probably receive fairly detailed instructions about your assignment. This may include information about the sort of topic you can choose or perhaps the type of experiment or study on which you should focus.
If your instructor does not assign a specific subject area to explore, it is still a great idea to discuss your ideas and get feedback before you get too invested in your topic idea.
Most of the following ideas are easily conducted with a small group of participants, who may likely be your classmates. The idea you ultimately choose to use for your psychology experiment may depend upon the number of participants you can find, the time constraints of your project, as well and limitations in the materials available to you.
Consider these factors before deciding which psychology experiment idea might work for your project. One thing to note, many of the ideas found here are actually examples of surveys or correlational studies. For something to qualify as a true experiment, there must be manipulation of an independent variable. For many students, conducting an actual experiment may be outside the scope of their project or may not be permitted by their instructor, school, or institutional review board.
If your assignment or projects requires you to conduct a true experiment that involves controlling and manipulating an independent variable, you will need to take care to choose a topic that will work within the guidelines of your assignment.
At some point in your life, you have likely pondered why people behave in certain ways. Or wondered why certain things seem to always happen. Your own interests can be a rich source of ideas for your psychology experiments. As you are trying to come up with a topic or hypothesis, try focusing on the subjects that fascinate you the most. If you have a particular interest in a topic such as memory, attention, developmentpersonality, social behavior, or language, look for ideas that answer questions about the topic that you and others may have.
This can be a fun opportunity to investigate something that appeals to your interests. Last Updated On: January 18, If you have ever had to write a paper for one of your psychology classes, then you probably know that choosing psychology paper topics can sometimes be tricky.By Kristen Fescoe Published January The field of psychology is a very broad field comprised of many smaller specialty areas.
The 25 Most Influential Psychological Experiments in History
Each of these specialty areas has been strengthened over the years by research studies designed to prove or disprove theories and hypotheses that pique the interests of psychologists throughout the world. While each year thousands and thousands of studies are completed in the many specialty areas of psychology, there are a handful that, over the years, have had a lasting impact in the psychological community as a whole.
Some of these were dutifully conducted, keeping within the confines of ethical and practical guidelines. Others pushed the boundaries of the field and created controversies that still linger to this day.
And still others were not designed to be true psychological experiments, but ended up as beacons to the psychological community in proving or disproving theories. This is a list of the 25 most influential psychological experiments still being taught to psychology students of today. Martin Luther King Jr.
The third grade teacher developed an exercise to help her Caucasian students understand the effects of racism and prejudice. Elliott divided her class into two separate groups: blue-eyed students and brown-eyed students. On the first day, she labeled the blue-eyed group as the superior group and from that point forward they had extra privileges, leaving the brown-eyed children to represent the minority group.5 Psychology Experiments You Couldn't Do Today
She discouraged the groups from interacting and singled out individual students to stress the negative characteristics of the children in the minority group. The group of blue-eyed students performed better academically and even began bullying their brown-eyed classmates. The brown-eyed group experienced lower self-confidence and worse academic performance. The next day, she reversed the roles of the two groups and the blue-eyed students became the minority group.
At the end of the experiment, the children were so relieved that they were reported to have embraced one another and agreed that people should not be judged based on outward appearances. This exercise has since been repeated many times with similar outcomes. For more information click here.
Experiment Details: Dr. A group of participants were shown pictures with lines of various lengths and were then asked a simple question: Which line is longest? The tricky part of this study was that in each group only one person was a true participant. The others were actors with a script. Most of the actors were instructed to give the wrong answer. Strangely, the one true participant almost always agreed with the majority, even though they knew they were giving the wrong answer. The results of this study are important when we study social interactions among individuals in groups.
This debate still lingers and is commonly referred to as the Nature vs. Nurture Debate. Albert Bandura conducted the Bobo Doll Experiment to prove that human behavior is largely based upon social imitation rather than inherited genetic factors. Children watched their assigned video and then were sent to a room with the same doll they had seen in the video with the exception of those in the control group. What the researcher found was that children exposed to the aggressive model were more likely to exhibit aggressive behavior towards the doll themselves, while the other groups showed little imitative aggressive behavior.
For those children exposed to the aggressive model, the number of derivative physical aggressions shown by the boys was The study also showed that boys exhibited more aggression when exposed to aggressive male models than boys exposed to aggressive female models. When exposed to aggressive male models, the number of aggressive instances exhibited by boys averaged compared to Hundreds of online psychology experiments are going on at any given time, many cool and amusing to take part in.
There are drawbacks, though. By design these studies are ephemeral, disappearing from the web once a deadline is reached or enough data collected.
And they are fun! You Just Get Me is a social psychology experiment about personality impressions. Test yourself on five measure of personality based on the IPIP-NEO psychology scale presented in a bubble graph, then try to guess the qualities of other people while they guess yours check out mine.
Bad Vibes. Sound psychology experiment from Salford University to find out what makes a sound unpleasant. Fingernails on a blackboard?
8 Famous Social Psychology Experiments
Babies screaming? The site also offers a mixer to play with, and if you want to torment your friends some sounds are available as free ringtones. The Stroop Test is a well-known neuropsychological test named for John Ridley Stroop, who published on it in English in It has found many applications since. It tests how flexible and fast your thinking is, basically, and is used in situations ranging from judging the effects of oxygen depletion on Everest climbers to addiction research to blog memes.
The name of a colour is presented with the typeface in a different colour; your ability to say the colour and not the word, and how long it takes you, reveals your reaction to the interference. Rate attractiveness facial, voice, different ages, etc. In some you are shown a pair of faces and asked to choose your preference of whatever quality is being tested and in others you rate images on a scale.
The Concept of Intentional Action. Experimental philosophy asks people what they think instead of assuming they think the way the philosopher believes they do. He conducted this experiment to study perceptions of morality and intent. Data has already been published but it will stay up for you to examine your own beliefs, compare to others, and learn about the theories behind the questions.
Project Implicit. Project Implicit has been running this experiment online for ten years and collected data from 3. Basic Music Intervals.
This is my fave test on the Cognitive Fun site. It tests music cognition by having you identity piano music intervals, listening and reacting with a simple visual interface. Not sure what a music interval is? Another collection of face perception experiments. Face Transformer has you move a slider bar to morph computer-generated faces, making them attractive to you, and then morphing again to appear optimally healthy.
A fun test, but I felt it took a bit too much time. The University of Essex offers some experiments based on visual illusions. Each experiment tests you then graphs your results with overall data, with a discussion of what is being tested. Thatcher illusion. Casual Fridays at Cognitive Daily.
A popular feature of this great blog are its weekly series of online experiments. Each Friday, Greta and Dave Munger design an interactive test for their readers based on research, news, theories or plain curiosity, and the following week they write up the results. For example, to see if they could predict what readers thought after a short quiz as an unrelated web site claimed it could readers were invited to take the survey.
The next Friday they explained their methods and published graphs to deconstruct results, then invited readers to comment. The conversations in the comments can be just as provocative as the tests. Dave and Greta are on a well-deserved vacation now but will bring Casual Fridays back in September.Psychology is often a fascinating subject for high school students if teachers can connect the material in the text book to everyday human behavior.
Allowing your class to conduct several supervised experiments throughout the year will keep them interested and engaged. Active learning aids comprehension and retention of complex psychological principles. Students also enjoy discussing the meaning and significance of their research findings.
The Stroop effect is defined as the interference of the reaction time for certain tasks. One of the most widely known experiments used to demonstrate the Stroop effect is reading color names. On a sheet of paper, list five to 10 simple color names written in that actual color. For example, the word "red" would be written in red ink, and "black" in black ink.
On another sheet of paper, write five to 10 simple color names in different colors. For example, write the word "red" in blue ink, and "green" in yellow ink. To demonstrate the Stroop effect, record the time it takes test subjects to recite the color of the words.
The Stroop effect will show that it takes much longer for the brain to process colors when the ink color doesn't match that of the word. This is a very simple experiment that can be conducted with the whole class at one time. Have students hypothesize and decide if they believe that color can have an effect on memory. Compose three different lists of 12 words each that are not mentioned regularly in conversation.
Using an overhead projector, write the first list of 12 in black ink. Allow students to study the list for one minute and then attempt to recall all the words on the list. The second list will have 12 different words, 11 of them written in black ink and one in red. Have the students study the list for one minute and then attempt to recall all the words again. The last list will have six words written in black ink and six in red ink. Again, allow the students to study the words for one minute before being asked to recall them all.
Use the students' recall lists to decide whether or not color had any bearing on their ability to recall the words. Cut out two pictures of female models from a magazine. Both models should have similar expressions on their faces, but one model should be very thin while the other is curvy and full figured.
Divide the class by gender and give each student a questionnaire to answer about the models they just viewed. The questionnaire should ask questions such as: Which model is healthier?
Which model looks happier? Which model is more attractive? Which is wealthier? Discuss the results with your class and decide if weight had any bearing on the students' perception of the models. You may want to modify the activity by instructing students to find plus-models in a typical magazine. Then discuss cultural notions of femle beauty. This experiment will test whether gender has any bearing on adherence to instructions or rules.
The activity will take a bit of preparation and should last for at least two days. Place a wooden or cardboard box in a high traffic area of the school, such as a main hallway or the cafeteria. Place a large sign near the box stating very clearly, "Do Not Open. Discuss and record the results to decide whether gender plays a part in following instructions. Kara Bietz has been writing professionally since Do you need to design an experiment for a psychology assignment?
Chances are you can come up with plenty of interesting ideas on your own, but sometimes it can be helpful to explore some other ideas for inspiration. Many experimental methods courses require students to design and sometimes perform their own psychology experiments.
Finding a good experiment idea can be critical to your success, but it can be a difficult task. If you need to design an experiment for a psychology assignment, there are plenty of great places to look for inspiration. The key is to start your search early so that you have plenty of time to do background research as well as to design and perform your experiment. Explore some of the following psychology experiment ideas for inspiration, and look for ways that you can adapt these ideas for your own assignments.
Always remember to discuss your idea with your instructor before beginning your experiment, particularly if your research involves human participants. You may need to get approval from your teacher or from an institutional review board before you begin. Finding the right psychology experiment idea can be a challenge, but as you can see there are a lot of great ways to come up with inspiration. There are plenty of other ways to come up with an experiment idea if none of the above catch your attention.
One of the most effective approaches is to start by thinking about problems and situations from your own life. Think about the things that interest you. During your time in psychology classes, you have probably spent a little time wondering about the answers to various questions.
Are there any topics in particular that grab your interest? Pick two or three major areas within psychology that interest you the most, and then make a list of questions that you have about the topic. Any of these questions could potentially serve as an experiment idea. Browse through some of the experiments discussed in your book and then think of how you might devise an experiment related to some of the questions asked in your textbook. The reference section at the back of your textbook can also serve as a great source for additional reference material.
Brainstorm with classmates to gather outside ideas. Get together with a group of students in order to come up with a list of interesting ideas, subjects or questions.
Use the information you gathered during your brainstorming session to serve as a basis for your experiment topic. This is also a great way to get feedback on some of your own ideas and to determine if they are worth exploring in greater depth. You might try conducting your own version of a famous experiment or even updating a classic experiment to assess a slightly different question.
In many cases, you might not be able to exactly replicate an experiment, but you can use some of the well-known studies as a basis for inspiration. If you have a general idea about what topic you'd like to do an experiment on, then you might want to spend a little time doing a brief literature review before you start designing your experiment.
Visit your university library and find some of the best books and articles that cover your particular topic. What research has already been done in this area? Are there any major questions that still need to be answered? If all else fails, consider discussing your concerns with your instructor. Ask for pointers about what might make a good experiment topic for your specific assignment and request some assistance in coming up with a good idea. While it may seem intimidating to ask for help, your instructor should be more than happy to assist and may be able to provide helpful pointers and insights that you might not gather otherwise.
If you need to design or conduct a psychology experiment, there are plenty of great ideas out there for you to explore. Consider one of the ideas offered on this list, or explore some of your own questions about the human mind and behavior.Psychology is fun for students, especially when they learn through hands-on activities, such as experiments. Teachers can find many examples of classroom activities and psychological experiments appropriate for the classroom in teachers' manuals for specific textbooks and on websites.
The "Prisoner's Dilemma Game" shows cooperation and competition.
Top 10 Online Psychology Experiments
Start by describing a situation where two arrested people are separated immediately. The arresting officers tell each prisoner that if he confesses, he will get a reduced punishment. If both prisoners confess, their punishments will be longer. If neither prisoner confesses they cooperateboth prisoners will receive short punishments. Place people into groups with three members: two game players and the middle person as scorekeeper. During ten trials, players do not speak as they give the scorekeeper a paper saying they will confess or not.
Use points in place of punishment. One possibility is when a person confesses and her partner does not, give confessor 10 points and partner minus 5. If both confess, each receives 2 points. If both cooperate neither confesseseach receives 5 points. Have paired people interview each other to find out what the other person is like. After a few moments, give them a questionnaire about the other person.
Devise a questionnaire with 10 or 12 characteristics, being sure they are positive or neutral, for example "quiet" or "talkative" or "depends on situation.
Then ask all participants to count the number of times they marked "depends on situation" for their partner and themselves. People are more likely to choose "depends on situation" for themselves than for others -- the Fundamental Attribution Error -- attributing their behavior to the situation and the behavior of other people to their personality.
You can show the ease with which in-groups and out-groups form by putting people into two groups.
The basis for inclusion in the group should be something simple such as who is wearing jeans and who is wearing other types of clothing.Do people really stop to appreciate the beauty of the world?
How can society encourage people to engage in healthy behaviors? Is there anything that can be done to bring peace to rival groups? Social psychologists have been tackling questions like these for decades, and some of the results of their experiments just might surprise you.
Why do conflicts tend to occur between different groups? According to psychologist Muzafer Sherif, intergroup conflicts tend to arise from competition for resources, stereotypes, and prejudices.
In a controversial experiment, the researchers placed 22 boys between the ages of 11 and 12 in two groups at a camp in the Robbers Cave Park in Oklahoma. The boys were separated into two groups and spent the first week of the experiment bonding with their other group members. It wasn't until the second phase of the experiment that the children learned that there was another group, at which point the experimenters placed the two groups in direct competition with each other. This led to considerable discord, as the boys clearly favored their own group members while they disparaged the members of the other group.
In the final phase, the researchers staged tasks that required the two groups to work together. These shared tasks helped the boys get to know members of the other group and eventually led to a truce between the rivals.
Inacclaimed violinist Josh Bell posed as a street musician at a busy Washington, D. Yet most people scurried on their way without stopping to listen to the music. When children would occasionally stop to listen, their parents would grab them and quickly usher them on their way. The experiment raised some interesting questions about how we not only value beauty but whether we truly stop to appreciate the remarkable works of beauty that are around us.
How can you get people to change their daily behavior and make healthier choices? In one social experiment sponsored by Volkswagen as part of their Fun Theory initiative, making even the most mundane activities fun can inspire people to change their behavior. In the experiment, a set of stairs was transformed into a giant working keyboard.
Right next to the stairs was an escalator, so people were able to choose between taking the stairs or taking the escalator. Adding an element of fun can inspire people to change their behavior and choose the healthier alternative. During the late s and early s, a psychologist named Walter Mischel led a series of experiments on delayed gratification. Mischel was interested in learning whether the ability to delay gratification might be a predictor of future life success.
In the experiments, children between the ages of 4 and 6 were placed in a room with a treat often a marshmallow or cookie. Before leaving the room, the experimenter told each child that they would receive a second treat if the first treat was still on the table after 15 minutes.
Follow-up studies conducted years later found that the children who were able to delay gratification did better in a variety of areas, including academically. Those who had been able to wait the 15 minutes for the second treat tended to have higher SAT scores and higher educational levels.
The results suggest that this ability to wait for gratification is not only an essential skill for success but also something that forms early on and lasts throughout life. If you saw someone in trouble, do you think you would try to help?