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Controversial topics in a controversial subject - well, that's a hell of a lot of controversy you're looking for. Since its inception, or rather, acceptance as a possible field of study, psychology has tread tricky water as the public opinion regarding its various assumptions, theories, and methods has always bordered on doubt mixed with fear.
If you cut a thing up, of course it will smell. Hence, nothing raises such an infernal stink at last, as human psychology.
Exactly how many times have we come face-to-face with the ugly truth that us humans are an awfully twisted lot? Countless, I would say. Consider the number of instances of rape, murder, domestic violence, child abuse, corruption, kidnapping, and terrorism (the list goes on) we come across in the news and on the Internet on a daily basis - isn't that proof enough that humanity is literally going to the dogs with each passing day? Don't these statistics make you want to throw up in revulsion (partly owing to the depraved nature of these acts and partly due to the fact that you too belong to the same Homo sapiens species as the perpetrators of these crimes)?
So, what does psychology have to do with all these? Well, pretty much everything! The chief and sole difference between a God-fearing, law-abiding, civil and socially adequate citizen and a perverted, unempathetic sociopath is psychology. Yes, it is the mind and the goings on inside it that make two people as different from each other as Mother Teresa and Adolf Hitler (there, I guess I just set the torch of controversy aflame with the mere mention of Der Führer!). Speaking of controversial topics in psychology, psychology itself resides within the obscure and uncomfortable premises of controversy as it is the only science that eludes any concrete or standard definition as its scope is ever-growing, needless to say in unexpected and inscrutable directions.
The elements that make a particular psychology topic more controversial than the rest is how recently it was added within the scope of a subject of attention, discussion, and dissection. The older a topic, the more people get used to it and the less controversy it attracts. That does not mean these new topics that garner controversy are a recently sprung malady of the human psyche. These issues were always there, just that not many people accepted their existence and fewer among the few who accepted were willing to talk about them. With the evolution of civilization and technology, it seems that the once-limited human capacity of accepting undistorted truth is increasing and the shackles of mental, social, and cultural inhibition are loosening up in favor of knowledge and discovery. Therefore, without wasting any more time, let's proceed and take a look at the contemporary controversial topics in psychology listed below. They can also be used as research paper subjects or as debate topics.
Is homosexuality a psychological condition? Should attempts be made to correct it?
Negativity surrounding homosexuality - is it justified or is it just the typical fear and disgust for the minority and lesser known public mentality?
Ethics surrounding development and administration of cognitive-enhancing drugs
Education and intelligence - when a student has difficulty learning, is it the student's fault, the teacher's fault, or is the entire teaching system inappropriate and archaic?
Negative parenting and their effects on child psychology
Child abuse - psychological profile of a typical perpetrator
Child sexual abuse - where a parent is the perpetrator
Exposure to television and their effects on the emotional and intellectual development of children
Crime as a justification for coping with past trauma - how justified is it?
Hypnotherapy and past life regression therapy - clinical hocus-pocus or science?
Parapsychology and paranormal phenomenon - are they grounded in reality?
Alternative reality - is it they who are drugged or is it us?
Social networks, online dating, and their psychological impact on teenagers
Having a child - is social pressure a more dominant determinant than individual willingness?
These are some burning issues in the field of psychology that never fail to gather controversy whenever discussions surrounding them are stirred up. These are such issues which usually attract very extreme views as most of them are based upon deep-seated individual, cultural, and moral values; understanding and interpretation of ethics; and the extent of reservation a person has regarding certain aspects and elements of life and the world. As such, these topics are ideal if you intend to write a research paper or prepare an academic presentation as you would, invariably, form an understanding, interpretation and opinion of your own regarding the issue in due course of your research. Whichever topic you select, just remember that it's all about psychology, the mind, and you need to keep your mind open while you research, if you intend to get to the absolute truth of the situation. Only an empty cup can be filled and an already full cup will not gather any additional fluid. Therefore, while you research, empty your mind of any opinion or preconceived notion that you might be having about the subject, if you wish to gather any additional information. Wish you all the best!