When you teach Introduction to Psychology, do you find it difficult — much harder than teaching classes in statistics or research methods? Do you easily give a lecture on the sympathetic nervous system, a lecture on Piaget, and a lecture on social cognition, but struggle with linking these topics together for the student? Do you feel like you are presenting a laundry list of research findings rather than an integrated set of principles and knowledge? Have you wondered how to ensure your course is relevant to your students? Introduction to Psychology utilizes the dual theme of behavior and empiricism to make psychology relevant to intro students. The author wrote this book to help students organize their thinking about psychology at a conceptual level. Five or ten years from now, he does not expect his students to remember the details of most of what he teaches them. However, he does hope that they will remember that psychology matters because it helps us understand behavior and that our knowledge of psychology is based on empirical study.
The founders of sociology in the United States wanted to make a difference. A central aim of the sociologists of the Chicago school was to use sociological knowledge to achieve social reform. A related aim of sociologists like Jane Addams, W.E.B. DuBois, and Ida B. Wells-Barnett and others since was to use sociological knowledge to understand and alleviate gender, racial, and class inequality.