What are Common Areas of Psychology Research?

Margo Upson
Margo Upson

Research is an important part of the study of psychology. Studying how the brain works, and how that affects personality, perception, and every other part of how people live and experience their lives. Although there are many different topics to study, psychology research can be divided into three common areas.

One psychological research area is how personality develops through old age.
One psychological research area is how personality develops through old age.

Mental illnesses affect the way that a person perceives and interacts with the world around him. Psychologists study this issue, along with several others, as part of the first area of psychological research. Behavioral and evolutionary neuroscience is the branch of psychology research that deals with the biological reasons for the way people act.

This research area focuses specifically on how brain processes affect the way people function. Psychologists research phases of development from infancy through old age, causes of mental illness, along with how and why human behavior has evolved over time. Part of this research also includes looking at how the endocrine system, which regulates hormones and glands, can affect behavior.

Psychologists also research how individuals are able to learn complicated languages and how accurately people can remember long lists of words. The second area of psychological research is in cognition, development, and perception. Cognitive researchers study how people learn, store, and retrieve information. This includes language, memory, and the way people perceive their surroundings and the events in their lives. Human development, with an emphasis on mental processes and understanding, is also studied. This area of psychology research is the most well known, with studies on how people learn languages, store memories and develop abilities.

The way people act is often determined by previous experiences, their current state of mind, and the way they believe that they are supposed to act. The third main area of psychology research is personality and social psychology. One of the biggest areas of this research is on emotions, and how they can affect other cognitive processes. How people meet and relate to others is another large area of research. Personality traits and how they develop and change as people grow up, go through adulthood, and enter old age, is also studied.

The psychology research that goes on in labs, universities, and clinics around the world is very important to understanding how people function. There are hundreds of different topics for study within these three common areas that researchers can choose to dedicate their time to. This research has led to breakthroughs in medical conditions such as depression, Alzheimer's, and other mental disorders, as well as providing an in depth look at how and why people think, learn, and behave in certain ways.

Margo Upson
Margo Upson

Margo has a varied academic background, which has involved everything from psychology and culinary arts to criminal justice and education. These wide-ranging interests make her an ideal wiseGEEK writer, as she always enjoys becoming an expert on new and unfamiliar topics.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


I agree with you. I took one of those tests and it was pretty accurate.

What really interests me is the field of developmental psychology research. In development psychology research a psychologist might want to explore parenting styles with respect to their children’s academic and social behavior when they grow up.

This child psychology research will look at various parenting styles such as the indulgent parent vs. the authoritarian parent.

It also looks at levels of parental involvement in school to determine which children will most likely achieve success and which children with have higher levels of self esteem.

For example, the indulgent parent might raise a child with high self esteem, but will not perform well in school and may underperform in their working careers because the parents are so indulgent.

These children almost lose their drive and ambition because the parents shower them with gifts.

Authoritarian parents most likely will have children that will be successful at work, but may suffer from low self esteem and even depression later in life.


Psychology research design is based on how the researcher will conduct the study. A blind study is when information is withheld from one group while a double blind study is when the information is withheld from both groups.

The psychology research methodology involves whether the research will be a qualitative analysis or a quantitative analysis. For example, the Myers- Briggs exam is a form of personality psychology research in which the employer finds out the potential employee’s workplace personality and how they would fit in the organization.

This is a form of quantitative analysis because the employer has to measure the dominant category that reveals the person’s personality. This personality test is very accurate and offers the employer a lot if insight into the potential employee.


Cognitive psychology research is a common area that deals with how their brain functions with respect to processing incoming information and learning potential.

It also measures how our thoughts contribute to our behavior and how we retain our memory and express our language skills. Researchers studying cognitive psychology research might study the link between afflictions like Multiple Sclerosis and various forms of dementia to find the common factor that causes memory loss in these two conditions.

The researcher may also study how the mind may perceive a certain picture that is open to multiple interpretations. Gestalt psychology is basically the study between the connections that various people make regarding the same picture.

One person may look at a picture and see a woman with a large hat, while another person can see the same picture and see a man with a mustache.

Post your comments
Forgot password?