10 Great Psychology-Themed Gift Ideas

Are you trying to think of the perfect gift for the psychology student, mental health professional, or armchair psychologist in your life? Where should you start?

Books and magazines devoted to the mind and behavior are almost always a welcome gift, but there are plenty of other fun and educational items that might appeal to your loved one. Here are 10 great psychology gift ideas if you are shopping for someone with a passion for psychology.


A New Psychology Book

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George Rose

Purchasing a textbook for a psychology student is always a great gift idea. These books provide a foundation on the principles of psychology and often review the historical development of our current beliefs with regard to human behavior.

Start by asking which books the student might need next semester, or consider a reference manual they can use to look up some of the less commonly talked about topics. It's always a good idea to talk to your student first, as they may already have some of the best manuals.


Subscription to Psychology Today

Psychology Today is a popular magazine that delves into a very wide range of psychology topics. Psychology students and even bedside psychologists are sure to enjoy learning more about some of the hottest topics in psychology as well as current issues facing students, teachers, and therapists.

For example, what happens in the brain when a person experiences happiness or anger? What are the cognitive biases that distort our thinking and affect every decision we make? Is narcissism truly on the rise?


Psychology Quick Reference Poster

A psychology quick reference poster can give your friend or family member quick and easy access to important facts and information about psychology. This makes a great gift idea for psychology students looking for something to spice up their office or dorm room.


Porcelain Phrenology Head Statue

Phrenology was a popular subject in the 19th century that claimed to be able to determine a person's character by examining the bumps on their heads. Sure, phrenology seems silly today, but this phrenology statue is a fun piece of psychology history and a great conversation starter.

It is also a reminder that the field of psychology is changing rapidly and that the "facts" you learn today may become the phrenology of the future.


Barron's AP Psychology Flash Cards

The Barron's AP Psychology Collection of 500 flash cards is designed to help students prepare for the Advanced Placement Psychology exam. Each card contains a term used on the AP exam with the definition or explanation on the opposite side of the card. Each card has a punch-hole in one corner so that students can arrange the cards in any order they choose on the metal key-ring-style card holder that is included with the set.


Sigmund Freud Poster

The great psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud was one of the most influential yet controversial figures in the history of psychology.


Dr. Freud's Therapy Ball

Dr. Freud's therapy ball might be just the gift for a psychology student or student of life who wants to uncover the unconscious drives that influence their behaviors. This amusing toy works like a Magic 8 Ball, except with a psychoanalytic twist.

Ask your questions or share your dreams, and then give the ball a shake to get your answer. In other words, in Freudian theory, the ball works to bring your unconscious thoughts to conscious awareness. This tongue-in-cheek approach to Freudian therapy is sure to entertain.


SPSS Student Edition

SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) is a statistical software program often used by psychology and other social science students. Using this software package, students can perform a wide variety of statistical functions including frequencies, t-tests, ANOVA's, correlations, and factor analyses.

This software package would be a useful tool for any psychology student, but especially for those interested in becoming researchers or experimental psychologists.


Freudian Slippers

These amusing slippers are sure to bring humor to any psychology student. According to the product description, Freud's tongue will move when you wiggle your toes. Freudian slippers are a slightly kooky and amusing gift that are available in both men's and women's sizes. Watch out for those Freudian slips!


Laptop Computer

If you really, really want to splurge, a new laptop computer would be a very useful gift. From taking notes to writing papers to running statistical programs, a laptop will help any student stay on top of their homework and assignments.

If you decide to purchase this amazing gift, make sure to talk to your psychology student. Certainly, this will lower the surprise factor, but it's better than having the surprise be a computer that's incompatible with their studies.

Some colleges are more PC friendly and other more Mac friendly, and even within a college this can vary based on the field of study. There are other features as well for which knowing their preferences are important.

Does your student want a touchscreen? What about graphics? Knowing the answers to these questions, a laptop can be an amazing gift that will be cherished for a long time.

A Word From Verywell

We've listed a handful of ideas for your psychology student or mental health fanatic, but there are many more. Nearly anything can be given with a psychology twist if it has to do with people, our behaviors, and our interactions with one another.

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd
Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."