Principles of Social Psychology
Pub Date: 2015
ISBN 13: 978-1-9461352-0-9
Publisher: University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing
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This is a very comprehensive textbook that includes not only the essential topics in social psychology (attitudes, persuasion, prosocial behavior, read more
This is a very comprehensive textbook that includes not only the essential topics in social psychology (attitudes, persuasion, prosocial behavior, prejudice), but a good overview of the history of social psychology and various theoretical perspectives. There are even sections toward the end regarding how social psych research can be applied to understand morality and improve cooperation. The only topic lacking that I normally teach in this course is political psychology (i.e. the psychology of liberalism and conservatism).
The content is accurate and unbiased. Stangor does a fine job in presenting research based evidence without an agenda, which is more than can be said for other textbook authors in this field. Of course, some may question the robustness of certain research findings (e.g., Bargh et al., 1996) given recent replication attempts, but Stangor presents the research in a highly accurate way.
This is an issue that plagues all textbooks. None are good enough (IMHO) to have strong longevity, unless they are in a Wikipedia format with editable entries. Stangor's book is like the norm--it's up to date but as new findings emerge, there will need to be some revisions. Most of the historical stuff (e.g., the Milgram studies) won't change.
The book is very clear and free of technical jargon. There is no doubt that intelligent undergraduates will be able to follow the material presented here.
There is a high level of consistency. At the beginning, Stangor frames the discussion of social psych principles in terms of the ABCs -- affect, behavior, and cognition. Then he revisits this theme throughout the text, making terms consistent and within this general framework.
Modularity is good here. There are plenty of logical sub-sections in each unit (five per chapter).
The topics are clear. Typically in a social psych course, the basics are presented first regarding social perception, context, the self/situation, etc. and then progress to more applied, specific topics such as aggression/altruism, relationships, groups, etc. This textbook follows that basic organization.
There are no interface issues.
Grammar is fine as far as I can tell.
There is a good discussion of culture throughout the book, with specific attention to how norms and trends are different across the world. There are no cultural insensitivities, nor anything offensive.
If you're thinking about adopting an open-access textbook, rest assured this book is a worthy substitute for any traditional textbook in terms of quality and comprehensiveness. Strongly recommended.
Social psychology is a vast interdisciplinary enterprise making any attempt to provide a comprehensive overview of the research a daunting task. The read more
Social psychology is a vast interdisciplinary enterprise making any attempt to provide a comprehensive overview of the research a daunting task. The author wisely identifies and takes on a small slice of the field, the interactionist perspective. The text is an interesting read, made coherent through the repetitive frame of self/other concern. For the advanced scholar the text serves the author’s desire for engaged and critical thinking when imagining alternative arguments and pieces of research to include. However, as an introduction to the subject, I found the text lacking in both depth and breadth. A claim to present a view of the discipline as seen through the eyes of a European Experimental Social Psychologist would better set the reader’s expectations. Read alongside companion texts, for example the Symbolic Interactionist Approach presented by Kent Sandstrom and his colleagues in Symbols, Selves, and Social Reality could spark critical thinking about embedded psychological versus sociological assumptions. Alternatively students might critique the view presented in this text, it’s comparative advantages and disadvantages, after a read of Social Psychology and Everyday Life by Darrin Hodgetts and his colleagues in Australia. Obviously it is easier to read and critique a text than to write one! The author(s) have provided a wonderful service by creating this text as a start to a fuller conversation. If read as a Wikipedia project the text succeeds in providing a rich and coherent spine on to which many authors could connect and expand upon presented themes. For example the important work of G. Maruyama could be tucked into the discussion of minority influence. Addressing small-group interaction in cooperative and competitive contexts allows for the inclusion of Elizabeth Cohen, Stuart Cook, Robert Slavin, Dean Tjosvold, etc. To facilitate the collaborative writing some stand-alone application chapters would allow more depth around issues of particular interest to the reader. The inclusion of both an author and subject index at the end of each chapter would greatly facilitate locating and building on existing themes and references.
No errors other than omission were noted.
This social cognitive approach to social psychology is of relevance both as an historic touchstone and a path to current work in neuroscience. As noted above the interrelated themes provided in the text’s narrative could provide a basis for elaborative writing for years to come.
The author’s style of writing makes principles of social psychology and related concepts easily accessible.
The layout of the text and conceptual framework introduced in the preface and first chapter provide a repetitive form in the provision of content that is utilized in a consistent manner. A professional in graphic design could help the author make better use of typographic conventions. Most problematic are the links. They possess quotation marks (a very odd practice) and are highlighted in “Minnesota Red,” (the same color used to highlight vocabulary terms). While the links take one to a given chart or figure, clicking vocabulary terms does nothing. Photos are linked to flicker pages but no new information is provided. In short, three separate actions are associated with one color, providing frustration for the user. Captions would be more accessible if line spacing was a bit tighter, and caption text set flush left.
The initial table of contents provides an easy reference for dividing the text. The consistent conceptual layout provides coherence even if chapters were to be shuffled.
The consistent layout, with easily identified learning objectives and introductory paragraph, text body, thinking like a social psychologist and social psychology in the public interest sections, chapter summary, key takeaways, exercises and critical thinking, and chapter references flow smoothly.
Previous reviewers have addressed this topic in some detail. I would add, while red may be the publishers branding, it is a poor choice for individuals who have issues in perceiving color. Blue rarely is such a problem and seems more appropriate for hyperlinks.
No errors in grammar were noted
For a text in social psychology, the lack of sophistication regarding intersectionality is troubling. Within the social cognitive perspective chosen for review, Carolyn Sherif’s depiction of the social situation provides an historic introduction to the idea that each setting is infused with cultural meanings. While national and ethnic identities are important topics there is much more to be said about the meaning of culture.
Given the author’s affiliation with APA, I was surprised when a search for Carolyn Sherif came up empty. Her dismay over social psychology’s drift into marketing polls, paying too little attention to realistic intergroup relations, seems relevant when reflecting on current journalism and our news media. Her discussion of ethics in research, regarding the too often perceived need to deceive, would also benefit a future generation of social psychologists.
I do believe that this text covers all the major areas of social psychology, and all the content that I would teach in a related course. I even think read more
I do believe that this text covers all the major areas of social psychology, and all the content that I would teach in a related course. I even think it goes a little beyond. To my knowledge, this is the first time I have seen a text that includes a completely independent chapter on conflict and cooperation, these are usually contained within the aggression and helping chapters (which are also included). I also really like the inclusion of the section Thinking Like a Social Psychologist which I believe increases the comprehensiveness of the text. I believe that students will think more completely about the material because of the questions posed to them in this section. They will also be able to make links between course material and life events in a much easier and efficient way. I think this addition is an added bonus to the comprehensiveness!
I believe that the content of the text is accurate. I do not see any glaring misrepresentations of information. However, I would have liked to see more discussion of some of the classical research articles. For example, in the section of Attitude-behavior consistency, there is no discussion of classical articles claiming attitudes do not predict behavior (LaPiere, 1934 or Wicker, 1969). It seems like for certain sections there is a lot of historical context for the research and others are missing it. But this may be my own personal biases (in areas in which I do research and teach and I have more information). Overall, I do believe the text is written in an unbiased and accurate manner.
See above about some of the historical focus - I think this might add a little to the relevance. I also do think that because the text is written in an accurate and unbiased manner, it will stand the test of time. The content will not need to change drastically. However, the examples and current event media stories may become something that needs to be updated relatively regularly. I have found that with each passing year, students have become less and less aware of events that I consider current. Although they have basic knowledge, without additional details of the event, they may not be able to make the necessary connections. In addition, many of the hyperlinks in the text to the sites where these events are discussed may need to be updated. There are already a few (video and story) links that are no longer working. This might create a problem for the students and make the text a little less useful and relevant.
I really like the writing style of the author. The text was easy to follow and it is written at a level most students can understand.
In the preface the author mentions 2 underlying principles of Social (person and situation, and ABCs) and two human motivations (self-concern and other-concern), I really like this idea. I agree with the author that these are very important concepts in social psychology. I did notice while reading most (if not all) the chapters these 4 ideas are mentioned numerous times. I believe that having these consistent topics mentioned in every section of the book will help students make ties across topics that superficially seem like they have nothing in common. This is an innovative way to write a text in social psychology. In addition, I think there is a lot of consistency in the organization of each chapter (see comments for organization below).
I believe that this text is organized similarly to other Introduction to Social Psychology texts when it comes to chapter order and sequence. I do however, like the added information about organization in the preface. Discussing the text as organized by focus at different levels of analysis - individual, social, and group, is an asset, and allows instructors to structure the course at these levels as well. However, other than mentioning this in the preface, there is no other indication that the text is organized in this way. A table of contents or section title page might help readers make this distinction, since many instructors and students do not read the preface of a textbook. Overall, I think the modularity of this text is similar to most texts designed as an introductory text to Social Psychology..
I like that the chapters are similar in structure. Each starts with a media story or current event (although some of these are now dated and may not be relevant to students), which is followed by learning objectives for the section in the chapter. After discussing information and research on the topic of interest, each chapter ends with a section on Thinking like a Social Psychologist (and addition I really like) and then a brief chapter summary. I feel like this consistency is something students will like. It will help them find different types of information very easily once they recognize the structural organization.
There are some issues with the presentation of information. I tried to click on the very first video link in the text (Video Clip 1 on p. 3-4) and it sent me to a youtbe video error. I understand that not all videos on youtube remain for long periods of time, and this is not the fault of the author or publisher, but I wonder who, if anyone, maintains these when you use an open textbook? Are there alternative video formats that could be used. I did like the ability to hyperlink to relevant figures or tables, this was very useful. However it was confusing to me that hyperlinks and important terms (vocabulary words) are in the same color. I found myself trying to click on vocabulary words through the first two chapters to see if a definition or text box would come up with additional information. I think it would be easier to follow if these two features had different appearances. Perhaps leave the hyperlinks blue (since most people identify those in that color) and make the important terms bold? It would take care of some confusion. I would also like to see a table of contents page which includes not just chapter titles, but also subsections. That ways students could link off into their assigned reading from the table of contents. I used the bookmarks tool in adobe to do this, but students who are not tech-savy would not know about this, and I would have to spend class time teaching them to use this tool. It would just be easier if there was something there already for them.
I did not notice any grammatical errors or typos. The book seems to be relatively well written and is at a level of language that is easy to understand.
The text is culturally relevant. The pictures and images throughout the text contain people of different races and ethnic backgrounds. In addition, the text discusses research from other cultures and culture differences. The nature of social psychology takes into account social and cultural groups, so this text represents that well.
I do think the book has many strengths, and some weaknesses (as all other textbooks do), but for a free book for students, I think this is pretty good!
This text covers all of the topics covered in the other social psychology texts I have used. (Some topics, such as emotions and happiness, are not read more
This text covers all of the topics covered in the other social psychology texts I have used. (Some topics, such as emotions and happiness, are not presented in their own unique section within this text, as they are in others, but these topics are woven throughout this text in a way that works quite well to present this work and reinforce the connection between social behavior and, for example, emotion/well-being across multiple chapters.) While there is a useful glossary in this textbook, there is no index. The lack of an index at first struck me as a major limitation to the text given the frequency with which I use the indices in hard-copy textbooks. However, given that this entire book is a searchable document, I found that I was able to quickly locate specific topics and researchers. Perhaps, in an online text like this, an index may not be necessary.
I did not encounter any wholly inaccurate statements in this text. I believe that some statements could be clearer – for example one Key Takeaway on page 247 reads as follows: “People who have extremely negative attributional styles, in which they continually make external, stable, and global attributions for their behavior, are said to be experiencing learned helplessness.” I think it should be clarified that this attributional style is damaging when employed in response to negative events. This clarification is made earlier, on page 245, in the text. But, on its own, the Key Takeaway as currently written seems incomplete.
The text balances classic research and historical examples with a good deal of research that has been published in the last five years and examples related to more recent history and technology. Such recent examples will need to be updated in future editions, but no more so than any other Social Psych text I have seen.
Nearly everything in this text was quite clear. One section I found that struck me as potentially unclear was the description of how quick decisions lead to approach or avoidance on page 164: “Snake = bad ? run away; Blueberries = good ? eat” seemed to me to be missing some descriptors that would make these examples clearer.
I found terminology consistent in the text. One structural aspect of the text that I thought was slightly inconsistent was the use of embedded links: I really like how every line of the Table of Contents is a link to the appropriate portion of the text. This is very handy, but it was only serendipitously that I discovered these links. In my pdf version, these Contents links were not visually evident as they were in other locations such as the noticeable blue embedded links to videos and Figures within the text – these were great. I also think it would be handy to have links from the in-text citations to the full reference for articles at the end of the text. Finally, some links did not take me where they said they would. For example, in the preface, the links in the Social Psychology in the Public Interest description appear to be directing readers to various chapters within the text, but instead redirected me to a webpage.
The text is broken down into an appropriate number of chapters and subsections, and within each subsection, there are no excessively long blocks of unbroken text. I think it would be easier for students to search and navigate within the text if chapters were labeled with the word “Chapter” and if the chapter headings were larger and more obvious.
The text was organized quite sensibly and quite similarly to other Social Psychology texts I have taught from (e.g., Baron & Branscombe’s Social Psychology) I like the “Key Takeaways” sections at the end of each section, I think this provides good repetition for students. I also like the “Exercises and Critical Thinking” sections – I think these would work well not only for students to undertake on their own, but also for pair-and-share and group discussions in class. I really like the “Social Psychology in the Public Interest” portions of the text that explain to students how this material applies to relevant and timely topics in their lives (e.g., internet relationships, terrorism, violence prevention).
I found the text’s interface to be user-friendly in many ways: As mentioned previously, I like the imbedded video links, enabling students to just click to access resources as they read. This seems quite likely to increase the number of students who view recommended external resources compared with students reading a hard-copy textbook. I did think that some interface modifications could increase the usability: This may simply be an issue of different functionality across various pdf viewing programs and unrelated to the text itself, but I thought it would be nice to allow students to make notes right on the text itself, as in the case of the Twenty Statements Test on page 111. Some figures were quite small and difficult to read even when the book was viewed at 100% size (e.g., Figures 2.7, 6.13, 8.8). This is one great advantage of online textbooks though, it is possible to enlarge the figures and easily read them when magnified. Also, I encountered some spacing issues (e.g., page 60: no space between “prefrontal cortexthe part…”; page 169 spacing in Figure 4.3 caption.)
I encountered few grammatical errors, and those that I saw were minor (e.g., the word “are” is missing in Exercise 3 on page 504; the word “them” should be “they” in the final Key Takeaway on page 522). I was, however, a bit distracted by the formatting within the References sections: Reference formatting appears to follow APA style, other than indentation – which is different (left-justified) for first publication on most (but not all – see pages 198, 284) lists than for all subsequent publications (e.g., pages 26-28).
I found the text to be inclusive of research relevant across cultural, racial, ethnic, gender, age, and other groups. I liked that some of the critical thinking prompts asked students to reflect on issues of culture and their role both in the students’ own lives and in society (e.g., “Imagine you are a teacher in a classroom and you see that some children [are] expressing prejudice or discrimination toward other children on the basis of their race. What techniques would you use to attempt to reduce these negative behaviors?”)
After reviewing this text, I have found it to be comparable to the textbooks I have assigned to my Social Psychology students in previous semesters. I plan to adopt this open text for my own courses and will recommend it to colleagues.
The textbook is very through regarding all areas and ideas of the subject. Further, the author presents a clear pedagogical framework: the text read more
The textbook is very through regarding all areas and ideas of the subject. Further, the author presents a clear pedagogical framework: the text applies cognitive load theory, moving, as the writer tells us in the Preface that it will be, “systematically from lower to higher levels of analysis” (p. 3), which, as instructional developers and students, we know is a method that works in acquiring new information and knowledge. The writer is well grounded and has a specific focus in the subject through years of teaching and provides many supportive resources, such as real-life examples, video clips, topic summaries, and exercises, and external website URLs, to name a few. However, there is no index, nor is there a glossary. It would be useful, given the amount of terminology in this textbook, to have two sets of glossaries per chapter. One set would appear after the Key Takeaways section (which appears at the end of each topic) and could be called Key Terms, and the other set would be a Chapter Terms section at the end of the chapter, appearing directly after the Chapter Summary. Further, there would be a glossary at the end of the textbook, with page references. These terms would also be included in the index. In the Exercises and Critical Thinking sections, students are asked to define terminology, but because there is no glossary or answer key to the exercises, there is no place for students to compare their definitions with those of the author.
Content appears to be mostly accurate and error-free. Reference lists are consistently and accurately formatted according to APA Style (6th ed.), as are in-text citations—kudos! I checked most of them and found very few, minor errors, other than the spacing issue that I will explain later in this review. There were some errors: for example, Hans Selye’s surname was incorrectly spelled as “Seyle” five times (on pp. 125, 126, and 128). Also, check the Rosenberg Scale on p. 182; I think it should say “average number on non-reverse items on the scale is 3 out of 4.” Also, I am fairly certain that no explanation was attached to the Research Focus sections. From the examples used throughout, I detected a certain amount of bias. The target audience for the textbook itself (not including the Preface) seems to be limited to young, North American, college students. It might be appropriate, given the subject matter, to include a more diverse audience base, such as students from other cultures and in a range of age groups. Also, there is a bias toward a positive thinking approach; there is no mention of cognitive behavioural therapy or other approaches used in psychotherapy. Holmes and Rahe’s stress scale is only one approach; others are not mentioned.
Many real-life illustrative sections (used to illustrate a concept, such as the concept of self) are provided throughout the textbook, generally at the beginning of a chapter or section. Both students and instructors can quickly find and tap into these for in-classroom or self-study. These will have to be updated periodically, although some can remain (not be replaced/swapped out). For example, the Dancing Matt Harding reference is already outdated, since Harding has released more videos since 2008. Further, it might be a good idea to use physical separation (in addition to, or perhaps instead of, the use of italic font) between the example material and the textbook commentary, particularly if any third-party material is used. Suggestion: set out some of these illustrative sections as case studies (maybe one case study per chapter) followed later in the topic by exercises and reflective questions that refer back to the case studies.
The writing is lucid and accessible, although paragraphs tend to be on the long side. They could be broken up as appropriate and more expositive subheadings could be introduced to help chunk the content (something an editor could help with). Italic font is used for several purposes: (1) for the illustrative real-life examples of concepts, (2) sometimes for key terms, and (3) for in-text definitions of these key terms. Definitions are sometimes italicized, but additional non-essential words are included (see p. 126 for an example). The Preface should include an explanation of any such font choice and the first chapter should include a reminder of what the author has decided to do in this regard and then apply the choice consistently. Context for jargon and/or technical terminology is provided, particularly by way of the illustrative examples mentioned earlier and in the self-assessment quizzes (such as the true or false quiz on p. 32).
The framework could benefit from minor changes. Font colour, when referring to a table or figure in text, could be matched when referring to the captions. In the interest of visual consistency, I recommend that the same colour be used for both the caption
The text is currently chunked into numbered topics. This is helpful to instructors who, when designing learning activities that include readings from this textbook, can refer to topic readings by number, and to students, who want to refer back to those topics. The numbering also enables reorganization/realignment of material, especially in a course that may be presented in a non-linear fashion, and it creates a sense of progression through the material. However, as mentioned in the previous section, there are large blocks of unbroken text. More subheadings are needed. Also, providing a mini-table of contents at the start of each chapter could serve as an advance organizer, a heads-up to all readers regarding what to expect in that chapter. One way to organize this in each chapter is to have the mini TOC I have suggested including, then the Learning Objectives and the real-life illustrative example for that chapter.
Information throughout is laddered appropriately, in alignment with the author’s statement in the Preface about the systematic ordering of the information. The structure of the textbook and the complexity of the ideas presented builds; the commentary is flowing and easy to understand. Even more clarity and organization could be provided by using a “roadmap” at the beginning of the textbook and at the start of each chapter to visually layout the topics and concepts covered. I would prefer to give a 4.5 in this section rather than a perfect 5, because this roadmap/visual index could really enhance the organization of the book and make its framework obvious.
There are many areas throughout the entire textbook where the space between words has been omitted (I counted around 89 in the first chapter alone); this is the spacing problem I mentioned earlier when talking about the APA citations and the job well done on those. Subheadings need to stand out from body text (see, for example, p. 93). Captions are sometimes inconsistently titled, and these need to be consistent throughout so as to avoid any confusion for readers. Also, it’s preferable not to use quotation marks around in-text references to table or figure titles. Number Key Takeaways sections to match the topic number—this would aid readers when searching for materials (especially when reading the textbook online). Number and caption ALL images/diagrams/figures/tables (example: pp. 65, 72 images have no captions). Include the figure number and title with the caption itself instead of separating it; otherwise, the caption could be confused with the body text (the commentary).
There are minor grammatical errors (for example, on p. 50, use “a(n”) in diagram.
I have also mentioned in my answer to an earlier question my impression about the apparent target audience for this textbook. Again, it feels as if, from the examples used and places mentioned when discussing a concept, that the intended audience members are predominantly North American (and possibly of European extraction), have English as a first language, are familiar with dorms and fraternities, and are young. This could also be because much of the research referred to is of North American origin. Halloween is mentioned (p. 174), as is Christmas (p. 130), but many students will not be familiar, especially not first hand, with those cultural or religious traditions. I may, however, be sensitive to this type of bias because I work at a university with many international students, and I do acknowledge that the subject of social psychology is based on North American and European research. But what do researchers in other parts of the world have to say about social psychology? Also, I assume by the places referred to (such as “Seattle,” “dorms”), the spelling (American, as opposed to Canadian or British), and other Americanisms that this textbook is US-centric, which is fine, but could pose a problem if taught in Canadian universities. Both students and instructors would expect a Canadian textbook and attach more credibility to it than to an American one, which is why there are often Canadian editions of course textbooks (at least, that’s what we use predominantly in the university where I work). Illustrative examples need to be more globally focused, too.
Provide answer keys and/or sample answers for the exercises included in the textbook. Include a glossary and index. Consider the cultural, social, environmental, and national context in which this textbook might be used. Use more informative and engaging diagrams. Update all real-life examples. Fix the spacing issues. Break up long paragraphs and use more subheadings. Use mini TOCs at the start of each chapter. Strong points are the extensive and wonderfully APA-formatted references, the comprehensiveness of the material, and the engaging and empathic writing style.
This review originated in the BC Open Textbook Collection and is licensed under CC BY-ND.
On the whole, this text covers all of the topics one would expect to see within a social psychology textbook. However, the author has made some read more
On the whole, this text covers all of the topics one would expect to see within a social psychology textbook. However, the author has made some interesting choices that reflect his pedagogical goals and biases. For example, instead of including separate applications of social psychological principles in separate modules at the end of the text (what has become a common approach in the field), he has instead integrated applications (e.g., for health, law, the environment, clinical settings, etc.) within the chapters. On the one hand this is a good idea and allows students to see some possible applications of concepts as they learn them. On the other hand it results in chapters running a bit long and students encountering additional terms and information before they have had a chance to master the basics. The text includes some good pedagogical features, including learning objectives embedded within each module within each chapter, useful exercises at the end of each module, and a section within each chapter on social psychology in the public interest (applications of social psychological principles). For the most part the organization of chapters follows a fairly standard template starting with methods and going on to social cognition, the self, attitudes, social influence, attraction, prosocial behaviour, aggression, groups, and prejudice. However, an early focus on social learning (Chapter 2) and social affect (Chapter 3) is unusual in its prominence (most social psychology textbooks do not include a separate chapter on social affect). The text does not include a table of contents or an index, both of which are highly desirable.
I did not encounter any obvious errors or problems with the accuracy of the content. Strangor supplies a (sometimes long) list of references at the end of each module within each chapter, which is helpful. Note: The text makes occasional reference to video clips (e.g., See Video Clip 1) that are not available to the reader.
Strangor balances the introduction of classic and contemporary research within each chapter. Given the hierarchical organization of the text (learning objectives within modules within chapters) updates could target specific topic areas. One quibble: Many of the examples provided are fairly outdated (e.g., a 1997 mass suicide, President Bush’s approval ratings in 2001, etc.).
The text is written accessibly. Learning objectives and chapter summaries further assist comprehension.
The text is internally consistent. Strangor follows the same pattern in every chapter which makes for a predictable and manageable format. His stated goal was to work from simpler to more complex topics and he makes an effort to build on the information p
The text is well organized into chapters and modules within each chapter. Each module includes useful exercises that help consolidate learning.
For the most part the organization of chapters follows a fairly standard template starting with methods and going on to social cognition, the self, attitudes, social influence, attraction, prosocial behaviour, aggression, groups, and prejudice. However, an early focus on social learning (Chapter 2) and especially social affect (Chapter 3) is unusual in its prominence (most social psychology textbooks do not include a separate chapter on social affect). There are also sub-topics within the text that appear to borrow heavily in content and tone from traditional chapters in an introductory psychology text (e.g., operant conditioning, eyewitness memory, Selye’s general adaptation syndrome, etc.). Given that Strangor has also authored an open introductory psychology text this is likely not a coincidence.
The charts and illustrations are clear. However, there are several oddly formatted graphs (e.g., page 256, 347, etc.) in which the bars are inexplicably clustered together towards the left end of the x-axis. Directions to view non-existent video clips should be omitted.
I did not encounter any grammatical errors but the text does need proof-reading. For example, occasionally there are sets of words printed together with no space in between.
I did not come across anything I would consider insensitive or offensive. However, as far as cultural relevance is concerned, this text is a US edition and the examples (e.g., “How the Obama campaign effectively used persuasion to defeat John McCain”) and statistics used throughout the text strongly reflect this. Some of the examples (e.g., George Bush’s approval ratings in 2001) are also a bit dated, even for a US text. A second year university student in 2013 would have been 7 years old in 2001.
This text needs significant updates to the real life examples used for their relevance within a Canadian context.
This review originated in the BC Open Textbook Collection and is licensed under CC BY-ND.
Charles Stangor, author, frames the text around the two human motivations of self-concern and other-concern then uses this frame to focus read more
Charles Stangor, author, frames the text around the two human motivations of self-concern and other-concern then uses this frame to focus discussions on a variety of individual and social dimensions including altruism, aggression, prejudice, gender differences, and cultural differences, etc. Grounding the text in the fundamental principles helps to anchor the reader in the two key concepts of social pscyh throughout their learning/reading experience which then ensures the learner consistently looks through the lens of a social psychologist, and then links their learning back to these fundamental premises. Such an approach is comprehensive yet cohesive. Providing a conceptual anchor enables the reader to diverge into multiple related concepts and contexts more freely because s/he always has a home base or reference point.
Stangor's examples tend to be 'negative', primarily focused on negative behaviours or influences as opposed to the positive i.e. the ways people harm each other as opposed to help. Even the introduction describes a mass suicide. Examples tend to be shock oriented, perhaps indicative of the bias that undergrads have short attention spans. A broader range of examples and affect is encouraged. In terms of accuracy, the text is well supported, cited, and explained. It appears to be error free.
Stangor is careful to provide a range of citations and references dating back to the earliest cases or theories and including the most recent commentary or developments. In this way, he illustrates the evolution of social psychology and also suggests that it is a social science under continuous development. Such an approach leaves the text open to updates while communicating the idea that a body of research is to under constant evolution and open to continuous contribution and challenge. Stangor also accomplishes the task of illustrating that concepts have originators or major theorists who shall not be discounted or considered obsolete simply because of the date beside their name but that they play a significant role in the development of a construct or insight. The text's effective use of headings enables an editor to focus on a specific area or areas for updating. The references are linked and collated, and therefore easy to expand and update. The simple and repetitive structure is comforting to the reader yet each section is complex and multifaceted enough to provide interest. At the same time, the clear structure provides editors with an easy means to update sections by providing a pattern of components to cycle through.
This text is simply organized and clearly structured providing a rhythmic organizational 'pattern' which enables easy reading and access for the student. Opening with 'Learning Objectives' and ending with 'Key Takeaways' and 'Critical Thinking Exercises' gives the text a pedagogical cohesion and focus while providing the reader with short overviews of each chapter. Some of the allusions are dated i.e. 'be a pepper!' and in order to captivate the undergrad audience, it would be important to ensure that these references are current. The Critical Thinking questions and exercises are rather simplistic and limiting asking yes/no questions at times, and suggesting rather uninspiring and one-dimensional activities i.e. read about...and compose a short report... create a presentation that summarizes. More of this kind of activity are suggested: 'Based on our discussion of resistance to persuasion, what techniques would you use to help a child resist the pressure to start smoking or using recreational drugs?' Video clips, websites, figures and links are interwoven throughout the text for interest and extension. In the Public Interest sections are relevant, applied and purposefully constructed. Easy updating possible. Chapter summaries appreciated by the reader and illustrate an effective summary section that not only highlights the key points of a chapter, but discusses the wider social and human implications for these concepts.
The internal consistency is a key strength of this text. As mentioned earlier, the structure of the book is cyclical and repetitive while sustaining complexity, interest, and variation. The structure includes multiple components, but these are repeated in
While Stangor presents a sensible ordering of concepts in his layout, he also leaves the instructor the freedom to re-order or select specific sections as standalone chapters or sub chapters. This characteristic also makes the text relevant to other contexts, courses, and disciplines. As an interdisciplinary field, Social Psych has relevance to many subject areas such as business, health, law, communication, and education. I imagine an instructor in business management feeling free to assign chapters 11 and/or 12 to illustrate the social psychological underpinnings of the organization or to explore the role of diversity and interculturalism within the workplace.
Stangor has organized the topics from lower to higher levels of analysis which provides a general enough flow without constraining the instructor to a complex obscurely linked or too intricate organizational framework. The flow of the individual chapters is also coherent. The framework for each chapter is captured in the learning objectives and introductory paragraph for ease of reading and access. The reasoning or relationships governing the organizational framework of the chapter are also described in the introductory framework. One could of course argue with Stangor's frameworks; however, this in itself may provide fodder for an engaging discussion in the class.
The figures and charts are all clear, colourful, simple, linked and well supported and/or referenced.
There appear to be no grammatical errors.
The intercultural sensitivity and awareness illustrated within this text is one of its strengths. Topics, references, issues, references, and examples are from a diverse spectrum but also attend to particular issues of diversity or interculturalism in an insightful, modern, and relevant manner. Chapter 12 of course addresses the issue of 'Stereotypes, Prejudice, and Discrimination' directly, but interculturalism is a thread woven into all of the chapters and sections. One weakness of the text is the simplistic nature of its conceptualization of 'culture' as something that is bound by national boundaries alone. Throughout the text, culture is described in terms of national or hemispheric characteristics i.e. individualistic and collectivistic, Western and East Asian. This reviewer would argue for a more sophisticated worldview and discussion of culture as extending to values, beliefs and assumptions as determined by myriad factors including but not limited to race or geography; cultural factors also include education, heritage, economics, experience, employment, history, social influencers, etc.
This book has mostly American references i.e. Obama, advertisements, cultural norms, educational systems, news stories. Canada is mentioned only 7 times compared to America/n which is mentioned 133.
This review originated in the BC Open Textbook Collection and is licensed under CC BY-ND.
I compared "Introduction to Social Psychology" openstax college TM to three exemplar textbooks that I had previously taught from. read more
I compared "Introduction to Social Psychology" openstax college TM to three exemplar textbooks that I had previously taught from. Those texts were: Robert S. Feldman (2001), Social Psychology 3rd Edition, Prentice Hall New Jersey ISBN: 0 – 13 – 027479 - 8 Alcock, J.E., Carment, D.W. & Sadava, S.W., (2005), A Textbook of Social Psychology, 6th Edition, Pearson Canada Inc., Toronto, ISBN 0 – 13 – 121741 - 0 Aronson, E., Wilson, T.D., Fehr, B. & Akert, R.M., (2013), Social Psychology, 5th Canadian Edition, Pearson Canada Inc., ISBN 978 – 0- 13 – 216539 – 6 In the 11 commentaries, I have compared the current textbook to the 3 exemplars. It is upon these comparisons that I base my comments. Chris Montoya BC Open Textbooks Review Criteria for the Saylor Textbook: Introduction to Social Psychology. Of some interest is the fact that the creator’s name was withheld on request. 1. Comprehensiveness – The text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and provides an effective index and/or glossary. Compared to the other three textbooks on social psychology that I used as templates I have concluded that the Saylor textbook covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately. However, and disturbingly, there is no real chapter index, author index with page numbers, or glossary of terms. As an educator I find this most distracting. In my younger days as a student I would run to a chapter table of contents, author index, or glossary of terms at the end of the book. It was always most helpful when the terms were associated with an exact definition, and appropriate page numbers. Often times in the text certain terms are not defined in all areas. Having a glossary really helps. Not having an excellent Subject Index in a textbook or an adequate Chapter Index (Table of Contents) I feel is a great hindrance and deficiency in the current text that I am reviewing. All three of the other exemplar texts have excellent subject indexes. As an instructor I would not use a text that lacked these essential features. I realize that this is an open online text and students can type in words they are unfamiliar with, however, it is the very fact that they are unfamiliar with these terms that concerns me. Whereas I have no problem navigating the nomological pitfalls I feel that the author is assuming a basic level of understanding that the majority of second and third year university students do not have.
2. Content Accuracy – Content, including diagrams and other supplementary material, is accurate, error-free and unbiased. The content is accurate and compelling. The author writes in an unbiased, objective, and persuasive scientific manner. The diagrams, however, are simplistic, flat, and lack color. In the exemplar texts there were an average of three colors per page. In the current text there were two. In addition, the earth tones used made the reading of what should have been interesting material bland. I find it interesting that in a social psychology textbook there are no actual photographs of people interacting. These types of actual color photographs add dimension, depth, and engage the hearts of the students. In the three other textbooks there are photographs of people interacting in all manner of social, political, emotional, and business etc. environments. By not having actual photographs of people I find that the book comes across as less interesting than its content would otherwise suggest. In addition, the author uses italicized words to highlight I find the addition of bold words embedded in the paragraphs or color words in the margins (as in the other three texts) really highlights important concepts. In general, having taught face-to-face, blended, synchronous, asynchronous, print, web, and online courses, I find that certain excellent features in standard Hard Copy Textbooks also NEED to be incorporated in online copies.
3. Relevance/Longevity – Content is up-to-date, but not in a way that will quickly make the text obsolete within a short period of time. The text is written and/or arranged in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement. I am assuming that the text has a publication date of 2013. The three other exemplar texts had references dating to within two years of their publication dates. In addition, all texts had discussed papers that were currently in press. Therefore the contents of the textbook are current and up-to-date. The text is also written in a style that will last. We see further because we stand on the shoulders of giants. This well-known quote applies to all well-written textbooks. As such, for the current textbook, necessary updates will be easy and straightforward to implement.
4. Clarity – The text is written in lucid, accessible prose, and provides adequate context for any jargon/technical terminology used. The current text is easy to follow, easy to comprehend, and is not overly burdened with jargon or dry statistics. The text, therefore, is clear, and what profs call in the area an easy read. One point: The author seems to write in an older style for instance the definition of self-concept on page 167: “The self-concept is a knowledge representation that contains knowledge about us, including our beliefs about our personality traits, physical characteristics, abilities, values, goals, and roles as well as the knowledge that we exist as individuals.” Compared to the 2013 Social Psychology Comparison Text definition: “The contents of the self; that is, our knowledge about who we are.” This simple definition appears to the side of the prose in the textbook page 124 highlighted in Bold Large Print Orange & also appears in a most excellent glossary of terms page 498. The text in the rest of the page fleshes out further meaning.
8. Interface – The text is free of significant interface issues, including navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, and any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader. I don't want to go into too much detail, however, and for example there are minor irritations in the text that concern me. For example in a finished text subheadings should not appear at the bottom of the page with no text below them. On page 66, the subheading: How Schemas Maintain Themselves... is so positioned. In addition, on page 67 under the heading research focus concerning confirmation bias, the author refers to a figure without stating the figure number. He's talking about figure 2.1 but simply says you can see in the following figure. When writing textbooks, or book chapters, or international peer-reviewed journal articles, the interface between what is written and the graphs provided is indeed critical. This pattern of not referring to graphs, charts, and tables continues throughout the textbook.
9. Grammatical Errors – The text contains no grammatical errors. None that I found, although I do not tend to spend too much time looking for grammar errors. I speed read and scan, when I did start looking … On page 629 Theblack Sheep Effect … The and black were run together… again I am sure that you have grammar editors for such mundane tasks.
10. Cultural Relevance – The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. It should make use of examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds. I am not sure… In Canada we tend not to use the terms Whites and Blacks on page 94 the author uses the following sentence: White, Black, and Hispanic or Mexican-American… The author continues using the White and Black references on the following pages, 614 616 622 628 629.., and more... In addition, we tend not to use the word Indian in Canadian literature but prefer First Nations. Starting on page 315 there are five references to “Indian” that I found. Other than these two questionable areas I found the text to be well rounded and non-offensive.
11. Are there any other comments you would like to make about this book, for example, its appropriateness in a Canadian context or specific updates you think need to be made? … personal preference bonobo monkeys... I refer to these in my lecturers because they make love not war. The 2013 Social Psychology comparison text makes mention : )the current text does not. I find this text appropriate for 4th year University Students although I would not use it for the above listed reasons. I hope this review is useful to your work.
This review originated in the BC Open Textbook Collection and is licensed under CC BY-ND.
Table of Contents
About the Author
Chapter 1: Introducing Social Psychology
1.1 Defining Social Psychology: History and Principles
1.2 Affect, Behavior, and Cognition
1.3 Conducting Research in Social Psychology
1.4 Chapter Summary
Chapter 2: Social Learning and Social Cognition
2.1 Sources of Social Knowledge
2.2 How We Use Our Expectations
2.3 Thinking Like a Social Psychologist About Social Cognition
2.4 Chapter Summary
Chapter 3: Social Affect
3.1 Moods and Emotions in Our Social Lives
3.2 Emotions, Stress, and Well-Being
3.3 How to Feel Better: Coping With Negative Emotions
3.4 Thinking Like a Social Psychologist About Social Affect
3.5 Chapter Summary
Chapter 4: The Self
4.1 The Cognitive Self: The Self-Concept
4.2 The Feeling Self: Self-Esteem
4.3 The Social Self: The Role of the Social Situation
4.4 Thinking Like a Social Psychologist About the Self
4.5 Chapter Summary
Chapter 5: Attitudes, Behavior, and Persuasion
5.1 Exploring Attitudes
5.2 Changing Attitudes Through Persuasion
5.3 Changing Attitudes by Changing Behavior
5.4 Thinking Like a Social Psychologist About Attitudes, Behavior, and Persuasion
5.5 Chapter Summary
Chapter 6: Perceiving Others
6.1 Initial Impression Formation
6.2 Inferring Dispositions Using Causal Attribution
6.3 Individual and Cultural Differences in Person Perception
6.4 Thinking Like a Social Psychologist About Person Perception
6.5 Chapter Summary
Chapter 7: Influencing and Conforming
7.1 The Many Varieties of Conformity
7.2 Obedience, Power, and Leadership
7.3 Person, Gender, and Cultural Differences in Conformity
7.4 Thinking Like a Social Psychologist About Conformity
About the Book
Have you ever had trouble teaching the various topics of social psychology and fitting them together to form a coherent field? Unnamed Author felt like he was presenting a laundry list of ideas, research studies, and phenomena, rather than an integrated set of principles and knowledge. He wondered how his students could be expected to remember and understand the many phenomena that social psychologists study? How could they tell what was most important? It was then that he realized a fresh approach to a Social Psychology textbook was needed to structure and integrate student learning; thus, Principles of Social Psychology was born. This textbook is based on a critical thinking approach, and its aim is to get students thinking actively and conceptually – with a greater focus on the forest than the trees. Yes, there are right and wrong answers, but the answers are not the only thing. What is perhaps even more important is how students get to the answers – the thinking process itself. To help students better grasp the big picture of social psychology, and to provide you with a theme that you can use to organize your lectures, Unnamed Author’s text has a consistent pedagogy across the chapters. The presentation is organized around two underlying principles that are essential to social psychology:
Person and Situation (the classic treatment)
The ABCs of social psychology (Affect, Behavior, and Cognition)
The author believes these dimensions are fundamental, that they are extremely heuristic, and that they are what he hopes your students (and his) will learn and remember. You may find that this organization represents a more explicit representation of what you’re already doing in your lectures. Although the pedagogy is consistent, it is not constraining. You can and will use these dimensions more in some lectures than in others, and you will find them more useful for some topics than others. But they will always work for you when you are ready for them.
Perhaps most important, a focus on these dimensions helps us bridge the gap between the textbook, the real-life experiences of our students, and our class presentations. It is almost impossible to can’t cover every phenomenon in your lectures – you can naturally let the textbook fill in the details. The goal of Principles of Social Psychology is to allow you to rest assured that the text has provided your students with the foundations– the fundamental language of social psychology – from which you can build as you see fit. And when you turn to ask students to apply their learning to real life, you can know that they will be doing this as social psychologists do – using a basic underlying framework.
A note about the organization of this text: it moves systematically from lower to higher levels of analysis – a method that makes sense to students. On the other hand, Unnamed Author insists, the chapter order should not constrain you – choose a different order if you wish. Chapter 1 presents an introduction to social psychology and the research methods in social psychology, Chapter 2 presents the fundamental principles of social cognition, and Chapter 3 focuses on social affect. The remainder of the text is organized around three levels of analysis, moving systematically from the individual level (Chapters 4-6), to the level of social interaction (Chapters 7-10) to the group and cultural level (Chapters 11-13).
Rather than relying on “modules” or “appendices” of applied materials, this text integrates applied concepts into the text itself. This approach is consistent with the underlying theme that if students learn to think like social psychologists they will easily and naturally apply that knowledge to any and all applications. The following applications are woven throughout the text:
- Business and Consumer behavior
It is the "thinking like a social psychologist" theme, structured approach and new pedagogy (like research foci and Social Psychology in the Public Interest), that will make teaching and learning Social Psychology from this textbook an even more exciting and rewarding endeavor.
About the Contributors
Principles of Social Psychology in the Information Age is adapted from a work produced by a publisher who has requested that they and the original author not receive attribution. This adapted edition is produced by the University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing through the eLearning Support Initiative.