It’s that time of year again, when students who have only been studying psychology for a few months are asked to think of an area of research in which they are interested. And out come the titles, and questions: ‘What makes a psychopath?’ ‘Does the media cause eating disorders?’ ‘Why do more girls than boys get depressed?’ Aaargh!
Teachers sigh and raise their eyebrows, because none of these is a good question for an extended essay, though of course all are potential topics, and students’ interest in them is understandable.
This is where Psychology Sorted can help. Underneath the overview tables are links to stimulating news articles, journal discussions and TED talks that will extend the students’ thinking beyond the superficial. The hyperlinks and QR codes are included, and an hour or two of browsing can help direct students’ interests. For example, if students are interested in the area of new biological treatments for mental disorders, see this page. If they would like to research the effects of digital technology, see here, and if they are interested in strategies of acculturation and immigrants, see this section.
Even if some students are determined to stick to eating disorders, the book can give them a new approach – to opportunistic eating and obesity, for example. Preface any of these topics with ‘To what extent?’ and you get much more nuanced, in-depth and interesting questions to research:
- To what extent can neural feedback techniques treat phobias?
- To what extent can artificial intelligence enhance working memory?
- To what extent may marginalisation be responsible for terrorism?
- To what extent can brain chemical dysfunction explain overeating?
It is not that there are any ‘off-bounds’ topics; just that a new approach is needed, to get your students out of the trees and on the sunlit route to extended essay success!