2,893 Inspirational Passion Project Ideas
Turn inspirations into your passion project.
This collection of project ideas, shared by Polygence mentors, is meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.
- Comp Sci
- Creative Writing
- Environmental Science
- Game Design
- Literature and Languages
- Organizational Leadership
- Public Health
- Social Science
- Sports Analytics
How the pandemic has affected the social lives of dogs
My own thesis revealed the possibility that dogs had a harder time understanding pointing gestures due to wearing masks. Owners have also talked about how their furry friends have more separation anxiety since the pandemic as they are used to their humans staying at home all day. It could be insightful to research dog behavior following the pandemic through surveys, which is an accessible way to complete this project. Understanding nuances of the pandemic's effects and dogs' understanding of human social cues can allow us to understand their sensitivities, trainability, and ability to emotionally support others.
Neuroscience, Psychology, Literature and Languages
Motivation to learn math
What motivates high school students to learn math? What elements could a lesson add to increase motivation? What elements will decrease it? We will design interview questions to ask 12-16 year old students what would work for them, design an intervention based on the interview responses, and test whether the intervention works.
What drives you? Informational podcast
Have you ever wondered how the people in your dream job got to where they are today, or what the most interesting, cutting-edge questions are in your favorite subject? Through this project, you can find out -- and create a resource to help others learn the same. I will guide you through designing a question to drive your podcast, designing the structure of a 3-episode series, and researching and reaching out to experts in your field of interest. Then for the fun part -- you will talk to them about what interests you. You will gain skills in qualitative research, interviewing, and audio production.
Biology, Neuroscience, Psychology
There are many different forms of neurodegenerative diseases, which are associated with various neuropathologies and distinct patterns of brain atrophy. Neurodegenerative diseases often lead to dementia syndromes, but these relationships are complicated and fascinating. Did you know that Alzheimer’s dementia is not always caused by Alzheimer’s disease? Additionally, some patients with Alzheimer’s disease develop progressive language problems (primary progressive aphasia) rather than memory problems. However, patients with aphasic dementia may suffer from other forms of neurodegenerative diseases, including FTLD-tauopathies and pathological forms of TAR DNA-binding protein 43. Research in this area could involve an exploration of the brain regions that are most affected by these different neurodegenerative diseases, how this leads to different cognitive symptoms, and how these pathologies look in photomicrographs (pictures taken with a microscope).
Neuroscience, Psychology, Cognitive
Are habitual video game players more persistent on learning tasks?
Video games require lots of persistence. You often fail and have to try again. We know from theories like Mindset Theory from Carol Dweck and Grit theory from Angela Duckworth that continued persistence after failure is an important factor in good learning outcomes. Does the persistence that video game players train and use during a game transfer to difficult learning tasks that require sustained effort? If so, can we train non-video game players to improve their academic persistence by playing video games?
Beginner to Advanced: Scientific literature review of Alzheimer's Disease
A scientific literature review is foundational to understanding of the current state of research in any given field. My professional work involves conducting literature searches for Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's disease and other CNS diseases. I am personally interested in longevity, life extension and/or healthy aging. The strategies I use can be employed for other scientific fields as well. A scientific literature review is part of the search for a current "gap in knowledge" ripe for exploration of innovative and novel ideas. Your scientific literature review could take the form of a blog article, a newsletter, a report, or a formal paper. The length and complexity will depend on your ability to read and digest scientific journal articles. Beginners will need to be guided on how to read and rapidly skim a scientific paper. What you will learn. How to: * structure and format a scientific literature review. * select criteria to narrow down your searches. * obtain keywords needed to conduct efficient and effective searches. * use specialized scientific databases, including, but not limited to: * PubMed * Google Scholar * Dimensions How to use a scientific reference manager (Zotero)
Bilingualism and cognition
How does bilingualism affect general cognition? In turn, how does cognition affect bilingualism? In this project, we will examine the intersection of bilingualism and domain-general cognitive processes such as attention, executive function, cognitive control, and memory. We will also review the similarities and differences between various types of bilinguals, such as simultaneous bilinguals vs. late learners.
Neuroscience, Linguistics, Cognitive
Neuropsychology of Traumatic Brain Injury
Just how bad is a traumatic brain injury? In this project, we can examine factors that influence poor outcomes following traumatic brain injury (and concussion) and determine the extent to which they might impair someones neuropsychological functioning. For instance, we could examine the following: (1) Concussions and cognition; (2) Moderate-Severe traumatic brain injury and cognition; (3) Psychiatric outcomes following traumatic brain injury; (4) Psychiatric determinants of post-concussive syndrome.
How does mindfulness reduce anxiety?
This research idea would allow the student to investigate some of the mechanisms through which both mindfulness and anxiety act, and draw connections between the two to determine how they interact. Through searching existing literature online in research databases, the student would learn to conduct a literature review on a given topic and identify gaps in the literature. The review could be written up and submitted for publication to a scientific high school journal.
Social, Psychology, Cognitive
Mechanisms of Touch and Perception
Although touch is one of the 5 basic senses, it is crucial to our ability to explore and navigate the world. It helps convey how much force we need to exert to hold an object without breaking it, whether an object is pleasantly warm or hot enough to burn, or if the clothing you are wearing is soft or itchy. The filtering and separation of tactile signals starts at our fingertips and continues throughout the neuraxis with the filters becoming more complex and specific as we ascend the hierarchy. We can use our understanding of how tactile signals are transformed and represented in the brain to create models that explain tactile perception and can be implemented in prosthetic devices to restore sensation in paralyzed individuals.
The Future of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence in Neuroradiology
From automated detection of intracranial hemorrhage to prognostication of stroke patient outcome, machine learning- and artificial intelligence-based tools are increasingly prevalent in neuroradiology. The question remains - how will these tools affect the future of radiology? In this project, the student will conduct a literature review recent advances in AI/ML and make their conjectures about how these tools will impact radiology workflows, patient care, and the future of the field.
Neuroscience, Comp Sci, AI/ML, Cognitive, Medicine
Research Paper- Is a hospital the only change that ill-children face?
Cognitive and behavioral effects of children hospitalized for terminal and severe illnesses- How does this affect development? How do parental figures influence these effects?
Psychiatry, Social, Public Health
Create your own play, musical, or monologue
One of the fun things about working in the arts is it is an opportunity to get creative and express your own work! Your goal would be to put together a short piece, be it a personal monologue, a musical, or a play. You can dream big, and express yourself anyway you want! Once we get some ideas flowing, we would focus on how you tell the story, what your goals are, and how to get them across to your audience. There are no limits in this type of work. We would discover together the best way forward!
Alternative therapies for Alzheimer's Disease
Improving cognitive deficits of Alzheimer's disease patients with different cognitive stimulating activities such as playing video games, board games, playing music, etc.
Music Psychology and Cognition Research Paper
How does the human brain process music? Why do so many cultures feature music so predominantly? How does music engage our perception and what does it do to us? If you're interested in the intersection of music and perception, a research project on the topic of music cognition or music psychology would speak to these fascinations. In such a project, we would work together to narrow down on a particular music topic or question (ex. What is perfect pitch? What kinds of methods do music psychologists use? How does the brain handle rhythm?) and work to create a research paper or creative project around this line of inquiry.
Music, Psychology, Arts, Social Science, Cognitive
Exploring neural activity of the neurodivergent brain: a literature review
A foray into the scientific literature of neuroimaging paradigms in neurodivergent populations. We will define a particular disorder or diagnosis of interest, review relevant literature and write a review.
Develop a Personal Mental Wellness Plan
Student will develop a personal plan for students to support and check in with themselves.
User-centered Design in Healthcare System
Have you ever wondered why healthcare apps mainly use blue as their primary color? Have you ever been frustrated with a healthcare system? How can we reduce the feeling of anxiety while waiting in an emergency room? In this project, you will learn about the scientific process, user interviews, secondary research, gather data, and present that data on multiple different forms or a research paper. More importantly, you will explore many different ways of how system design can improve or impact people's lives and use your creativity to come up with a solution.
Biology, Arts, Languages
Incarceration & LGBTQ Populations
In this project, we will work on a project to spread awareness on the realities of LGBTQ folks who are currently incarcerated. We will focus on the violence and discrimination they face, but we will also emphasize the strength and resiliency they possess. This could be done in several different ways, not limited to: building a social media account dedicated to the issue, outlining a podcast series, writing a literature review, etc.
Design an Experiment - Identity Development
Adolescents define who they are and what they value by seeing how others -- peers, teachers, parents -- act and behave. Design a psychology experiment that can answer when adolescents' own identities are more likely to be influenced by the opinions and behaviors of others.