Psychology Extended Essay Topics

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme is an international education program for high schoolers. To graduate, students must complete the core curriculum area and a few extended courses including a psychology extended essay.

The psychology extended essay is a research paper focusing on a question within the field of psychology. Usually 2000-4000 words in length, this essay requires students to select a topic, conduct serious in-depth research, analyze their findings, and document their sources. The essay should demonstrate the student’s ability to think critically, challenge existing theories, and make new arguments or observations.

Ultimately, completing a successful psychology extended essay indicates that the student can develop an understanding of the fundamentals of psychology, comprehend what psychologists do, and contribute to this field while demonstrating outstanding writing skills.

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Psychology IB Extended Essay topics

Brainstorming Psychology Essay Ideas

Finding the right topic for an IB extended essay in psychology can be a challenging process. It requires you to do research and find creative ways to analyze and interpret the data. To make this task easier, it is important to brainstorm potential topics that can be explored and discussed in an Extended Essay. Here are a few steps that can help in the brainstorming process.

  • Gather Information: Before you start brainstorming, make sure that you have gathered sufficient information about the subject. Research about different psychologists, theories, and concepts related to psychology. By doing this, you will have a basic understanding of the subject before you start brainstorming.
  • Explore Different Perspectives: Brainstorming is all about exploring different perspectives. You should try to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions by looking at the problem from different angles.
  • Make Lists: Make lists of potential topics that you can write about. Don’t just focus on one idea – come up with several related topics to explore. This will help you narrow down your list of possible topics.
  • Discuss With Others: Discuss the potential topics with your friends, family, and even teachers. By talking to them and hearing their opinions, you will get new ideas that you can explore.
  • Write it Down: Once you have found a few possible topics for your essay, write them down. This will help you keep track of the ideas and ensure that none of them are forgotten.

By following the above steps, you should be able to come up with several potential topics that you can use for your IB Extended Essay in psychology. Once you have your list of topics, you can start researching and gathering evidence that can help you make your essay stand out.

  1. The impact of social media on adolescents’ self-esteem and mental health.
  2. Cognitive biases and their role in decision-making processes.
  3. The psychological effects of music therapy on stress and anxiety reduction.
  4. The role of attachment styles in romantic relationships and relationship satisfaction.
  5. The influence of color psychology on consumer behavior and marketing strategies.
  6. The psychological effects of nature exposure on stress reduction and overall well-being.
  7. The role of emotional intelligence in effective leadership and workplace success.
  8. The impact of parental styles on children’s social and emotional development.
  9. The correlation between creativity and mental health disorders in artists.
  10. The role of mindfulness meditation in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  11. The psychological impact of sleep deprivation on cognitive functioning and mood.
  12. The effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in treating various mental health disorders.
  13. The role of neuroplasticity in recovery from traumatic brain injuries.
  14. The influence of cultural factors on the perception and expression of emotions.
  15. The impact of stereotype threat on academic performance and self-concept in minority students.
  16. The psychological effects of virtual reality technology on empathy and social connection.
  17. The role of resilience in coping with adverse life events and promoting psychological well-being.
  18. The impact of video games on cognitive skills, aggression, and prosocial behavior.
  19. The influence of birth order on personality development and sibling relationships.
  20. The role of subliminal messaging in shaping attitudes and consumer behavior.

Choosing a Psychology Essay Topic

Choosing the right essay topic for your IB Extended Essay in psychology is important. You want to make sure you pick a topic that has plenty of research material available, but isn’t too broad or too narrow. To help you find the perfect essay topic, there are a few steps you can follow.

Look at the course material

Your first step should be to review the course material for your psychology course. By looking back over the lectures and reading material, you will get a better idea of the types of topics you could use for your Extended Essay. This can also help you identify any topics you may have overlooked.


Once you have reviewed the course material, it’s time to start brainstorming. Think about specific interests you have in psychology and come up with ideas related to those areas. It can also be helpful to look online at the various psychology essay topics other students have chosen and see if any ideas spark your interest.

Do Research

Before deciding on a specific topic for your Extended Essay, make sure to do some research. You want to make sure there is enough research material available so that you can effectively answer your research question and develop a strong argument. It’s also important to make sure the topic you choose hasn’t already been done too many times.

Narrow Your Topic

Once you have identified a potential topic, spend some time narrowing it down. Think about how you can take the topic and make it more specific. You don’t want to choose a topic that is too general or one that is too narrow. Remember, the goal is to find a topic you can effectively research and make a strong argument.

Choose Your Topic

Now it’s time to make your final decision. Review the topics you have narrowed down and make sure they meet all of the criteria required for the IB Extended Essay. If you feel strongly about one of the topics, then it’s likely the right choice for you. Remember to stay open-minded and consider other ideas as well.

Structuring an IB Extended Essay in Psychology

Writing a psychology extended essay can be a daunting task. Knowing how to structure your essay can be just as important as researching and writing the content. It is essential you have a clear understanding of the format and components of an extended essay before you start.

Overview of IB Extended Essay Format

The IB Extended Essay format is a standardized document that contains information related to the topic of write up. It also includes details about the essay’s structure, different sections, and their purpose. Here are the main components of the IB Extended Essay:
  • Title page
  • Abstract
  • Table of contents
  • Introduction
  • Body of the essay
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography/list of references

Title Page

The title page is the first page of your essay. All information related to the essay, including its title, author’s name and contact information, supervisor’s name and date of submission must be included here.


The abstract is a summary of the essay. It should be written in a paragraph format and should not exceed 300 words. In the abstract, you should provide a brief overview of your topic, the methodology used, results and findings, and the conclusion.

Table of Contents

A Table of Contents lists all the sections and subsections of the essay, along with their respective pages. This helps the reader navigate the paper more efficiently.


The introduction is the section where you provide background information on the subject matter and outline the aims and objectives of your essay. You should keep this section concise and focused.

Body of the Essay

The body of the essay contains your research and analysis. It is divided into sections and subsections depending on the topics you discuss. You should provide evidence to support each statement you make and explain the conclusions you draw.


The conclusion summarizes the points discussed in the body of the essay and provides an overall assessment of your research. You should also include any suggestions for further research based on your findings.

Bibliography/List of References

The bibliography or list of references section should include a comprehensive list of the sources used for your essay. It is important to ensure that all sources are properly cited in the text and in the bibliography. By familiarizing yourself with the format and components of an IB Extended Essay in Psychology, you can ensure that you produce a well-structured and informative essay.

Research Sources for Psychology IB Extended Essay

When writing an IB extended essay on psychology, research is essential in order to provide evidence to support your argument. Therefore, it is important to know the different types of acceptable sources of research. Here are the four main types of sources you should consider when researching for a psychology essay.

Books and Journals

Books and journals published by psychologists or other experts in the psychological field are highly reliable sources of information. These sources often provide more in-depth coverage than other sources, as well as more detailed information about specific topics. Additionally, books and journals often provide bibliographies that can be used to find additional resources. It is important to note, however, that not all books and journals are created equal. Be sure to evaluate the credibility of the author and publishing company before citing a book or journal in your essay.


Websites can provide additional information about psychology topics. However, it is important to remember that not all websites are reliable. Before citing a website in your essay, make sure to evaluate it in order to determine its credibility. Good indicators of a credible website include: having accurate information, being up-to-date, and having an author with relevant credentials.


Articles written by experts in their fields, such as an article written by a psychologist in a psychology magazine, can be useful sources of information. These articles often provide detailed facts and opinions that can help support your argument. As with books and journals, it is important to evaluate the reliability of an article before using it in your essay.

Interviews and Surveys

Interviews and surveys conducted with experts in the field of psychology can provide valuable personal insights. Interviews are particularly helpful if the person being interviewed has experience in the topic being discussed. Surveys can provide statistical data on a variety of topics. Be sure to cite any interviews or surveys you use in your essay to avoid plagiarism.

Using reliable sources of research is essential when writing an IB extended essay on psychology. Books and journals published by experts, carefully evaluated websites, articles written by professionals, and interviews and surveys conducted with experts can all be useful sources of information. Make sure to evaluate the credibility of each source before citing it in your essay.

Writing the Draft of Psychology Extended Essay

Writing an IB extended essay in Psychology can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not sure where to start. The key to writing a successful essay is to break it down into smaller, manageable steps.

The first step is to create a draft of your essay. This is the foundation for your essay and should include the main ideas and arguments you plan to cover. Here are some tips on how to write a strong draft of your essay:

  • Start by creating an outline that states the main points and arguments of your essay. This will help you stay focused and on track as you write.
  • Make sure to provide evidence to back up your arguments. Use reliable sources such as research papers and scholarly articles as support for your claims.
  • Write in a logical, chronological order, moving from one point to the next in a clear and organized way.
  • Be sure to give your essay a strong introduction and conclusion that summarize the main points covered.
  • Read over your draft several times and make necessary changes or additions to ensure accuracy and clarity.

Writing a successful draft of your Psychology IB extended essay does not have to be a daunting process. With a bit of planning and preparation, you can craft a well-written and thoughtful essay that meets all the criteria for success.

Revising the Psychology Extended Essay

Writing is a process that requires you to revise and refine your work. Once you have a draft of your psychology extended essay, it’s time to go back and make improvements. Revising is a great way to ensure that your essay is clear, concise, and free of errors. Here are some tips to help you revise your extended essay in psychology.

Read Your Work Out Loud

Reading your work out loud or having someone else read it can help you catch errors you may have missed when reading silently. When you read your essay out loud, pay attention to parts that don’t flow well, sentences that are too long, and words that are used too often. Having a friend or classmate read your work can provide a fresh perspective, allowing you to identify any issues you have overlooked.

Eliminate Wordiness

In longer essays, it’s easy to be wordy and use unnecessary words. Go through your essay and look for any words or phrases that can be cut out without changing the meaning of the sentence. Eliminating unnecessary words will not only make the essay easier to read but can also help you stay within the word count limit.

Look For Clichés

Cliches are phrases that are overused and lack originality. Even though they’re easy to write, they can make your essay sound dull and uninspired. To improve the quality of your essay, search for any cliches and replace them with more vivid and precise language.

Check For Grammar And Spelling

One of the most important aspects of revising an essay is to check for grammatical and spelling errors. While spell check can help catch some errors, it’s important to proofread your work carefully to ensure no mistakes slipped through. Additionally, take note of any incorrect comma or apostrophe usage throughout your essay.

Review Your Introduction And Conclusion

The introduction and conclusion of your essay are important elements that need to be revised. Read through both sections and make sure they accurately reflect the main ideas and points made in the essay. If needed, consider rewriting the introduction and conclusion to ensure they are as effective as possible.

Take Advantage of Feedback

Having another person review your essay can help you improve its quality. Ask someone you trust to provide feedback on your work and look at it with a critical eye. This can help you identify where changes need to be made so you can perfect your essay.

Taking the extra time to revise your extended essay in psychology can make all the difference in the quality of your work. These tips can help you make sure your essay is clear and error-free, allowing you to craft an IB extended essay that stands out from the rest.

Citing Sources in the Psychology Essay

It is important to always properly cite sources when writing an extended essay on Psychology. Citing sources shows that your work is based on the research of others and acknowledges their contributions to the field of psychology. It also allows readers to check the accuracy and validity of your work, as well as providing them with additional information about the research you are discussing.

When you cite a source, it should include the author’s name, publication date, and relevant page numbers if applicable. In addition, you should provide a brief description of the source material and its relevance to your essay topic. You should also provide a works cited list at the end of your essay. All the sources you have cited in the essay should be included in the list.

There are three main citation styles used in academic papers: APA, MLA, and Chicago. For an IB extended essay on psychology, you should use the APA citation style. This style utilizes parenthetical citations in the body of the paper and a separate reference list at the end. APA citations generally include the author’s name, year of publication, and page number if appropriate. For example: (Smith, 2020, p. 10).

It is important to make sure that you are consistent in your use of the citation style throughout your paper. If you cite sources multiple times, you should use the same citation format each time. Additionally, double-check every citation to make sure it is correct and complete. This will help ensure that your essay is both accurate and convincing.

In conclusion, it is essential to properly cite all sources when writing an Extended Essay on psychology. Doing so demonstrates that your work is based on the research of others, and it allows readers to verify the accuracy and validity of your work. It is important to use a consistent citation style throughout the paper and to double-check every citation for accuracy.

The External Assessment Process of an IB Extended Essay in Psychology

The external assessment process is a crucial part of any extended essay in psychology. This process enables those reading the essay to objectively evaluate its content and provide feedback on its contents and structure. The following criteria are used to evaluate an IB extended essay in psychology:
  • A Clear Introduction – Introduce the topic in an interesting and meaningful way.
  • Scientific Rigor – Demonstrate knowledge of the scientific research methods and cite relevant sources.
  • Analysis – Make use of analytical techniques and theories to draw conclusions from the data.
  • Discussion – Present your data in an objective manner and discuss both positive and negative results.
  • Conclusion – Summarize the main points of the essay and provide a clear conclusion.
  • Organization – Structure the essay in a logical and clear way that is easy to follow.
When writing your essay, it is important to keep these criteria in mind. Make sure that you include all of the components required for evaluation and that all of the information presented is accurate and relevant to the topic. The external assessment process is the last step in completing an IB extended essay in psychology. After the essay is evaluated and feedback is given, you can make any necessary revisions to ensure that the final product is of the highest quality. Taking the time to get feedback from an outside source can greatly improve the quality of your essay and increase your chances of receiving a high grade.


This guide has provided an overview of how to approach writing an IB Extended Essay in Psychology. To summarize, the key steps are to brainstorm potential essay topics, narrow down your focus and create an outline, research and include sources, write a draft and review it, revise and make improvements, cite your sources, and understand the external assessment process.

The extended essay process can seem overwhelming at times, but with thoughtful planning and the right resources it is achievable. Remember to start early and give yourself enough time for research and revisions. If you need additional help, there are many online resources available to assist you.

By following the steps in this guide, you should be well on your way to writing an excellent Psychology IB Extended Essay. Good luck!

Nick Radlinsky

Nick Radlinsky

Nick Radlinsky is a devoted educator, marketing specialist, and management expert with more than 15 years of experience in the education sector. After obtaining his business degree in 2016, Nick embarked on a quest to achieve his PhD, driven by his commitment to enhancing education for students worldwide. His vast experience, starting in 2008, has established him as a reputable authority in the field.

Nick's article, featured in Routledge's "Entrepreneurship in Central and Eastern Europe: Development through Internationalization," highlights his sharp insights and unwavering dedication to advancing the educational landscape. Inspired by his personal motto, "Make education better," Nick's mission is to streamline students' lives and foster efficient learning. His inventive ideas and leadership have contributed to the transformation of numerous educational experiences, distinguishing him as a true innovator in his field.

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