Discover Psychology 2.0: A Brief Introductory Text
Ed Diener, University of Utah
Copyright Year: 2015
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For an introductory level book, this text does a good job of covering topics that are needed for students to progress into higher levels of psychology. The textbook provides enough information for students to become familiar with a topic but... read more
For an introductory level book, this text does a good job of covering topics that are needed for students to progress into higher levels of psychology. The textbook provides enough information for students to become familiar with a topic but leaves room for instructor's to provide supplemental learning.
From my review, it looks accurate. The information in the text is fairly up to date and relevant.
I like the book has included recent articles and discusses technology being used in the field today.
Some parts might be hard for first-year students to understand but I think it is easy-to-follow for the most part. I like that the authors included definitions along the way that pop us if a student clicks on the word.
There is a consistent pattern to how information is presented. Sequencing of the book follows most General Psychology patterns.
I see that there is a system of organization in place but it could be improved. The table of contents don't really break down the contents within the chapter. There is a search feature but if students don't know what keywords to use, they won't be able to get to the information they need.
I like the organization of the chapters (the sequencing). Furthermore, I like that any topic I am not using in class can be removed to help keep the content concise.
Not a fan of the interface. There is a lot of scrolling and going back and forth between sections. A lot of text in many areas. Could be broken up better with pictures. Also, the few images that are included aren't always clear.
I do not see any grammar errors.
They are intertwined with the chapters. The authors do a decent job of trying to include diverse topics and pictures.
Great for a brief introductory class!
It is difficult if not impossible to discuss comprehensiveness in an Introduction to Psychology book due to the fact that you cannot cover everything in this course and everyone has a different opinion as to what are the important topics to cover.... read more
It is difficult if not impossible to discuss comprehensiveness in an Introduction to Psychology book due to the fact that you cannot cover everything in this course and everyone has a different opinion as to what are the important topics to cover. Having said that feel free to take this comment with a grain of salt. In that Cognitive Development in Childhood module, the introductory paragraph states that some important theories are Piaget, Vygotsky, and Information Processing Theory (IPT). However, the module then only goes on to explain Piaget's theory. I would have like to see a page on Vygotsky and a page on IPT.
I did not review every chapter but the three chapters I read were detailed and accurate.
Around 20 references were used per module. Some of those references were based on historical studies and others were as recent as 2011. I only looked at the references of 5-6 modules but of those, I did not see any very recent citations (within the last five years).
I was pleasantly surprised how understandable the Conditioning and Learning Module was. I think of this area of Psychology as particularly challenging for students but the use of real life examples throughout the module makes clear not only the concepts but also the relevance of the material. Similarly, I read the Brain and Nervous System module and it was one of the easier and more understandable modules on this topic that I have read.
The structure and the tone of the modules is very similar across the three modules I read.
While there are multiple modules per book unit (or chapter), the modules are self-contained so it would be very easy to not include one or to pick and chose which modules you did want to assign. The Cognitive Development in Childhood module seemed like a rather specific module for an Intro Psychology textbook.
The modules are ordered in a manner similar to most Introductory Psychology courses but of course an instructor could assign them in any order they wish or even add or not include other modules.
It was very easy to navigate.
While I was not reading for grammatical errors, I certainly did not see any glaring ones either.
Some of of the modules had cross-cultural references and others did not. The images were definitely inclusive of a variety of races.
I would seriously consider adopting this book.
This compilation includes 36 modules specifically chosen to represent general psychology. Noba modules are set up to be flexible, so instructors are able to take some out, edit them, and add more content from over 103 modules in the Noba... read more
This compilation includes 36 modules specifically chosen to represent general psychology. Noba modules are set up to be flexible, so instructors are able to take some out, edit them, and add more content from over 103 modules in the Noba Psychology collection. I am currently (spring 2019) teaching Social Psychology from the Noba collection, Together: The science of social psychology, and some of my observations in this review will be based on my experience with it so far. As far as feasibility, I do not think 36 modules could be covered in a 15-week semester, especially not if there also needs to be instruction in research, writing, or other skills, so most instructors would probably choose not to use the entire collection. The social psychology collection is 27 modules, out of which I am covering 18 (with a couple modules swapped). I have made other modules options for students to cover in group presentations. That way they still have exposure to as much of the material as possible. To assess comprehensiveness, I will use recommendation #1 from the APA Board of Educational Affairs (BEA) Working Group (2014) on Strengthening the common core of the introductory psychology course. Short version: This collection covers all the bases, though may not be consistent in the cross-cutting themes and integration of levels of analysis, leaving that responsibility in the hands of the instructor. 1. Scientific Methods Foundation: The collection includes three modules on scientific inquiry in psychology (and more are available). Research examples are also included throughout most modules. 2. Cross-cutting Themes: This is where different modules may hit the mark and others may not. Since each module is written by different authors, and each module is meant to stand alone, there is no consistency of themes cutting across topics, and there is more of a bent toward silos in psychology. That said, many of the modules (covering different topics) do address such themes as cultural and social diversity, ethics, variations in human functioning, and application. Even the questions in the test bank attempt to represent different ethnic names and different sexual orientations in their example questions. 3. General Content Commonality. This collection includes, as recommended by the BEA: a. Pillar 1: Biological—Five modules under this topic, including Brain and Nervous System, Evolutionary Theories, Nature-Nurture Question, and Gender. Sensation and Perception, Consciousness, and Motivation (Drive States) are also found elsewhere in the collection. b. Pillar 2: Cognition—Three modules in the Cognition, Language, and Intelligence section. Memory (2 modules) and Perception are found elsewhere c. Pillar 3: Development—Three modules in the Developmental Psychology section, including Cognitive Development, Social and Personality Development, and Aging. Learning and Language are found elsewhere in the collection. d. Pillar 4: Social and Personality—Three modules in the Personality section and four modules in the Social Psychology section. Intelligence, Emotion, and Gender are found elsewhere in the collection. There is a module on Culture and Emotion, but no other module in this collection specific to culture. e. Pillar 5: Mental and Physical Health—Four modules on Psychological Disorders, two modules on Therapies (Orientations and Psychopharmacology), two modules on Psychological Health (the Healthy Life module includes the connection between psychological and physical health, the effects of stress, and the importance of psychology to medicine). f. Conclusion: All the identified pillars are present in this collection. It is important to note again that modules can be deleted, added, and re-arranged as desired by each instructor. 4. Integration as a cap and explicit focus—The modular set up of the Noba collection leaves this in the hands of the instructor. The APA BEA (2014) includes recommendations for connecting the pillars with the four cross-cutting themes, so if a module does not already do this (some of them do), the instructor could adjust their discussions accordingly. The BEA also includes an example integration assignment. Noba also has additional modules such as The Family, Attachment Through the Life Course, and Love, Friendship, and Social Support that could be used to help tie different areas of psychology together to explain relevant themes. A final note: As I have been adapting to Noba's Social Psychology text, I have found myself filling in many concepts that I'm used to teaching from my old textbook (Myers). This lower amount of terms may work great for instructors looking for more freedom and space for discussion and depth. However, since I'm a bit nervous about social psychology terms students might miss on the GRE Psychology test or the MCAT, I'm going to give comprehensiveness a 4 out of 5.
One of the strengths of the Noba Project collection of modules is that each chapter is written by an established expert on the specific topic. In contrast to textbooks in which every chapter is written by a generalist explaining many topics shallowly, these chapters are each based on a career of research on the specific issue. The drawback to this approach is that less topics are covered per module than in a traditional textbook chapter. So an instructor may need to fit several modules in a week in order to get the breadth desired.
The Noba collection is recent and still growing. Representatives say that the content will be kept up-to-date, though that remains to be seen. Over time, instructors would have the option to switch out older modules for newer ones if they feel certain topics have become more relevant. They can also tailor topics to be more relevant to their student population. For example, since I often have senior engineering students in my General Psychology classes, I might include The Family or The Developing Parent as an optional module since they are closer to building their own families. I could also choose to include the module on Self-Regulation to help my many freshmen reflect on how they want to build the skills and habits they need for success.
Since the modules are each written by different authors, there is no general statement that can answer this question. However, considering the large number of contributors, I am pleasantly surprised by the sense of consistency in clear, accessible writing style.
The text is module-based, and therefore different parts can be mixed in. The Discover Psychology 2.0 collection provides some order and organization. Since the modules aren’t written to build on each other, there is risk of redundancy. The organization of the modules is consistent: Introduction, Learning Objectives (according to APA guidelines), text with pictures (with sections usually not longer than 2 pages each), Conclusions, Outside Resources (mostly web links), Discussion Questions, Vocabulary, and References. This consistent framework will help students know what to expect, even as authors change.
With 36 modules in 15 units, this collection provides some structure, but can easily be organized according to what an instructor most wants to cover. The modules are written to stand alone, so reorganizing chapters will not disrupt the flow of information. Some chapters could be selected based on the instructor’s emphasis, as well. Each module is divided into sub-sections that are easy to navigate and aligned with the Learning Objectives. Since each module is written by an expert on the topic, some of them may seem overly self-referential. However, they are arguably justifiable self-references, and at least it is not one author self-citing in every chapter. For example, David Buss, a leading author on evolutionary psychology, writes mainly about work in Evolutionary Theories in Psychology, citing five of his own works, and only two sources he did not author. However, this makes sense given the narrow focus of this module. It is followed (in this collection) by The Nature-Nurture Question, which fills in more of the basics on behavioral genetics, twin studies, and heritability coefficients. Also, if an instructor wants to provide other perspectives on sexual and romantic relationships besides the evolutionary theories explained by Buss, there are other modules in the broader Noba collection that could be pulled in for that, such as Attraction and Beauty, or Positive Relationships.
Besides the topics (and BEA pillars) discussed above, this collection also includes an index at the back to help users find specific concepts. With the downloaded pdf version, it is easy to search for specific terms as well. Each module also includes its own glossary, outside resources, and references at the end. In the online version, clicking on bold vocabulary terms allows you to see the definition without losing your place. Similarly, clicking on citations produces the reference information without losing your place. Outside resource videos are sometimes embedded in the webpage. In the pdf version, clicking on the vocabulary term takes you to the glossary at the end. If an instructor chooses to add modules, these can be put together on the Noba website, re-arranged, edited, and compiled into a downloadable pdf file. Students can also easily search for the extra module in the Browse section of the Noba Project website.
Chapters can be read online or downloaded as pdf files. Also, for those students who prefer to study using paper texts, inexpensive prints of the textbook can be ordered from Noba through LuLu.com (about $19 plus shipping). Online, each chapter has an interactive table of contents (TOC), learning objectives, a list of links to interesting outside resources (occasionally with imbedded videos), discussion questions, and a glossary of terms. All of these are pedagogically useful for instructors and students. However, the second level of headings (within the text content) is not interactive, so clicking on the TOC only works for the supplementary resources, not sections of the chapter. Using a search function (online or in the pdf) makes up for that. When I first started examining Noba modules, there were occasional disruptions such as “peace & conflict” and “future—to.” However, a few months later, those are no longer apparent. This could be either because of Noba’s editing process or my browser’s updated features (I’m reading it on Google Chrome). Downloaded files (pdf) do not have an interactive TOC. Clicking vocabulary terms takes you to the glossary, though you have to scroll back up to find your place again afterward. On either the online or downloaded version, the formatting is clean, attractive, and easy to read and navigate. The online version has some nice accessibility features built in. For example, a text-to-speech function will clearly describe the pictures and tables included in the module for those who cannot see them. I also want to say a little more about supplemental resources for instructors here. For all of the modules in this collection (but not all available modules), Noba provides Instructors’ Manuals, PowerPoint presentations (which include some good activities and demonstrations, but not a lot of text for notes-hungry students, video links occasionally don’t work), test bank (about 25 MC questions per module, with available files compatible with multiple LMS platforms, e.g., Blackboard, Moodle, Brightspace, and MS Word), and Reading Anticipation Guides. I find 25 multiple choice questions limiting, since I like to have students take quizzes multiple times with questions drawn randomly from a bank of 75 or more questions as practice learning until they get the score they want. However, currently Noba partners with Cerego, an adaptive quiz platform that has students practice 20 questions per module (separate from the test bank) using a spaced practice set up (they tell students to come back in a certain number of hours to obtain mastery levels). My social psychology students are currently using this platform, and so far the feedback has been positive. Cerego has a very interactive and intuitive website and app, and it is easy for instructors to track students’ progress. I do wonder if this setup encourages students to just keep taking the Cerego quizzes and not read the text, so I still have in-class exams. A Noba representative indicated to me that they may move the adaptive quizzing into something more compatible with LMS, so I’m not sure how this will look in the future. Overall, I am happy with the supplemental sources provided. Noba is supported by the nonprofit Diener Education Fund, and has staff available to guide instructors through the Noba site, explain how to edit and save textbooks, and give access to instructor resources. The Noba website also includes Teaching Topic Essays and a blog (about 3-4 entries per month) with teaching tips and resources.
I have found some grammatical errors. If I take the time to email Noba about it, they will fix it. This is true for the text, the test bank, and the Cerego quizzes.
As mentioned above, I’ve noticed a concerted effort to use examples and names from multiple cultural and social perspectives, including in pictures and in the test bank. I have not found culturally insensitive or offensive content.
I am very grateful to the Diener Education Fund and all who have contributed to the Noba Project for their support of ground-breaking open-source educational and instructional resources in psychology. Reference: American Psychological Association. (2014). Strengthening the common core of the introductory psychology course. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, Board of Educational Affairs. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/ ed/governance/bea/intro-psych-report.pdf
As a whole the book is very comprehensive, covering all of the units you would expect in an Introductory Psychology textbook. I actually found, that given the number of modules, there is sometimes more information here than would be a print... read more
As a whole the book is very comprehensive, covering all of the units you would expect in an Introductory Psychology textbook. I actually found, that given the number of modules, there is sometimes more information here than would be a print textbook- for example, 3 of 4 sections that make up the Psychological Disorders section are quite detailed, included DSM criteria, and seem more at the level that I would cover in an upper division Abnormal Psychology class than Intro.
No issues with accuracy noted. I was glad that the personality assessment section did not include anything about the Myers-Briggs.
It's nice that each module starts with a story that connects the content to 'real life.' Most of these stories seem universal enough that they will work well now or 10 years from now, or can be easily updated if needed.
The formality of the writing varies between sections. Some of the modules are written more like a traditional textbook. other are written very casually, for example, this sentence appears in the text: "If you’re like most people, you’d choose to spend the money on yourself (duh, right?)". The casual language likely aids readability makes the text more accessible and clear to students rather than detracting from their learning.
The text is consistent in terms of terminology and framework but very inconsistent in the types of outsides sources included in the chapter and their relative usefulness. For example, some chapters include short videos that you can be assign to students or show in class. Other chapters just list websites (e.g. www.apa.org).
No issues noted with the modularity
The organization/flow is good.
An advantage of an e-book over a traditional text is that you can hover over the vocabulary and citations and easily get more information. That is a nice feature. I had difficulties when trying to use the navigation bar within modules. When I clicked any content sub-heading, it took me back to the top (Abstract). When I clicked on the ancillaries (outside resources, discussion questions, vocabulary, or reference) it jumped to the appropriate place on the page.
No grammatical issues noted
A discussion of the role of culture in the expression of mental illness is absent, or superficial at best. The Therapeutic Orientations section also represents a missed opportunity to introduce the idea of culturally-informed care or culturally adapted therapy. There are no egregiously insensitive or offensive examples noted, but this text is not particularly strong at incorporating a discussion of cultural issues into the body of the text.
This text covers the traditional topics found in an Introductory Psychology course. The learning objectives are helpful to the student as well as the instructor for course/classroom preparation. read more
This text covers the traditional topics found in an Introductory Psychology course. The learning objectives are helpful to the student as well as the instructor for course/classroom preparation.
This text appears to be accurate and using current research.
The content of this text appears to be current, but as with any text, will need updated as research advances/changes. Could pull out specific chapters for updating as needed.
I found this text to be easy to read.
I was skeptical about the text being written by various authors, but they did a good job to get an even flow from chapter to chapter.
I like how this text is structured with the modules and sections. This allows an instructor to reorganize if desired.
Good organization/structure and flow.
Perhaps by allowing the "Sections" topics to be linked (able to click on the topic and go to the information), one could navigate more easily.
I didn't see any grammatical errors.
This text appeared inclusive to a variety of backgrounds. I didn't notice anything offensive.
This text seems to be on target for an Introductory Psychology course.
This book is pretty comprehensive for being a brief introductory book. While it does not cover everything that a full book may cover, it does a great job of providing supplemental list of references (something that can be incorporated as... read more
This book is pretty comprehensive for being a brief introductory book. While it does not cover everything that a full book may cover, it does a great job of providing supplemental list of references (something that can be incorporated as assignments for students). The glossary and index section is also extremely helpful for students and can be used as a great resource as well.
The content is accurate with the current field of psychology. References and articles used are not too old (unless they are the staple studies). Being an introductory book, the book is unbiased and straight to the point.
Content is up-to-date with current field of psychology.
The book is easy to follow, clear and concise. I believe students will enjoy the ease and flow of this book and the fact that it does not use terms that are not easily understood.
The book was created in a consistent manner in which the previous chapter flows into the next chapter.
Helpful in that instructors can pick and choose their modules and shape it based on the way they want to teach the course.
Book was organized in a clear manner.
No interface issues were found.
No grammatical errors were found.
The book seemed culturally appropriate. It included many examples of different cultures. I do believe the book lacked on the importance of race and culture in every aspect of psychology. The field is moving more and more towards that aspect and would have been beneficial if the book had more information, especially in the social psychology aspect.
Overall, a good book that can be appealing to students.
This text covers all topic areas that are usually taught within a brief version of an introductory psychology text. All topics include relevant authors and up-to-date empirical evidence. Learning objectives at each chapter’s intro are useful in... read more
This text covers all topic areas that are usually taught within a brief version of an introductory psychology text. All topics include relevant authors and up-to-date empirical evidence. Learning objectives at each chapter’s intro are useful in guiding student learning, as well as assisting the instructor with course preparation.
I found no errors in this text. It appears to be accurate, citing updated empirical evidence.
Content is current, but will need to be updated with advances in research (as with any textbook). A nice feature to this text is that each module can easily be updated as needed.
This text reads well and is accessible to undergraduate introductory students.
I found no inconsistencies in terms of terminology and framework. Though this text is written by various authors, it maintains a nice flow.
One of the strongest attributes of this text is its structure. The modules with sections and subsections allow the instructor to reorganize for the course as needed.
All topics are presented in a clear and logical configuration.
There is an easy-to-use search feature within the text. My one concern with the book’s interface is that the right pane of the text listing “sections” did not allow movement by clicking on the topic. A few links were active (e.g., Learning Objectives, Outside Resources, etc.). It would help immensely with readability for each link to take the student directly to the section/subsection of the text.
I found no grammatical errors.
This text does a good job of using global examples throughout.
I have confidence in this text as an appropriate resource for an introductory psychology course. I believe that the length of the modules along with use of interesting photos, graphics, and video clips would encourage student engagement. I would continue to supplement, as the students would need more information about major perspectives within the field.
I think the brain and nervous system lacked a lot of content, especially the role of neurotransmitters in everyday behavior. The developmental section skips from childhood to late adulthood. read more
I think the brain and nervous system lacked a lot of content, especially the role of neurotransmitters in everyday behavior. The developmental section skips from childhood to late adulthood.
What is presented in the text is accurate after a first reading, I did not see anything I would question or argue.
The authors do a good job of citing more recent findings and including technology into the theories. I was a little taken aback to see Ainsworth's attachment theory attributed to someone in 2008 rather than her in 1978. Since Thomas & Chess were still there for temperament and Baumrind was still there for parenting styles I am unclear why Ainsworth lost her citation?
Very text heavy without enough breaks for graphics to help break up long blocks of text.
Every chapter seems to have a constant level of content, review questions and vocabulary.
The text breaks up into reasonable chapter divisions, many of which could be switched in order to accommodate instructor preference.
In the development section it skips from childhood to older aged adults. This skips overs adolescence, early adulthood and middle adulthood.
I think many of the graphics are not really useful and some theories would benefit mote from graphics to help them stand out from the text. One example is Piaget's Cognitive Development Theory. The graphics are disjointed and not terribly useful. The theory would be more relevant in a table or complete chart.
I did not come across any grammatical or spelling errors in my read of the text.
The pictures are varied and show multiple ethnicities depicted in a variety of everyday situations. I also liked the variety of ages displayed.
This book would be adequate to give students reading selections if they had a strong, experienced lecturer who has put together a set of more comprehensive resources (PPTs, lectures or links to other resources). For a new or first time instructor I think there would be too many gaps in the content.
This is a comprehensive text covering all the major aspects of introductory psychology. All chapters are well written and provide a very effective overview and reasonable detail for each topic. The photographs and diagrams used throughout... read more
This is a comprehensive text covering all the major aspects of introductory psychology. All chapters are well written and provide a very effective overview and reasonable detail for each topic. The photographs and diagrams used throughout supplement the key material well. I particularly like the structure of each chapter. A brief introduction, a list of learning objectives and then various primary headings covering the significant aspects of the topic. Each chapter provides a relatively succinct overview of the subject but this is supplemented by an excellent list of additional references for further investigation. The glossary of vocabulary at the end of each chapter will be a further bonus to students who are unfamiliar with some of the terminology. The discussion questions should also prompt further consideration of the topic.
Content appears to be accurate throughout. Psychology texts are renown for regular updates on editions. Provided this 'open' text is able to be reviewed and updated with reasonable regularity it will be able to compete extremely well with similar commercial versions. I think it is necessary to keep in mind that this text covers a very wide range of topics, that this is an introduction to each of these topics and is intended to be supplemented by wider reading. This text serves its purpose well.
As mentioned above the text is in competition with commercial texts which are updated very regularly (probably more often than is necessary). It has strong relevance and good longevity and could be updated relatively easily. Many commercial text updates are fairly minor in any case. Also, the fact that this is an 'open' text enables the user to update the material as required.
Very good structure. Easy to read and follow. Given that numerous authors contributed to this edited volume the consistency of structure and writing style is excellent.
The book has a consistent structure throughout. This is a real plus for students and scholars. The list of vocabulary at the end of each chapter addresses any concerns that might arise as a result of unfamiliar terminology.
Chapters of this book could be withdrawn and used independently of other chapters or sections. As the text covers a wide range of psychological topics it may be desirable to only draw upon particular chapters, dependent upon the intention of the instructor and the objectives of the learning exercise. In this regard the modularity of this volume serves multiple purposes.
As mentioned above, the organisation and structure are logical and presented very clearly. I like the brevity of some chapters, particularly when they are supplemented so well with further references on the topic.
I didn't identify any issues in this regard. I felt the balance between text, images, diagrams and charts was appropriate. The index is helpful but essential the tight structure largely negates an navigation difficulties the user might encounter.
Again, no issues in this regard. The entire book reads easily and was grammatically correct.
Cultural aspects of psychology are certainly very important. It is understandable that a volume of this nature could not fully explore many of the cultural factors which impact upon various psychological concepts. For its purpose this text is culturally fair and presents a balanced view.
Overall, I believe this to be a very useful open text. It has adequate coverage of a very wide range of topics and can be used by instructors in multiple ways. Students would find this easy to use, easy to read and a great source of preliminary information on numerous aspects of psychology.
AS the authors state, this book represents the core concepts common in intro courses. In this way, the textbook is comprehensive of the major topics and domains within psychology. It does a nice job of covering most topics in a brief but... read more
AS the authors state, this book represents the core concepts common in intro courses. In this way, the textbook is comprehensive of the major topics and domains within psychology. It does a nice job of covering most topics in a brief but explanatory manner. It does lack in some areas of psych such as a more detailed history as well as the applied areas of psychology but this could be supplemented by instructor resources/additions.
I did not see any major errors, typos, or fallacies. It did lack some mention of major historical figures like Freud, Ximbardo, and a few others.
The textbook appears to be up to date and will work for a few years before needed to be updated. One area that will need to be updated sooner, as with all psych textbooks, is on clinical psychology including the DSM and classification of psychological disorders.
The format of the chapters lends itself to relative clarity. Also, even though written by multiple authors, the feel and language seems to read clearly and easily for introductory students. Examples, definitions, and background articles help this as well.
The layout and formatting are consistent throughout. The usability and expectation between chapters remains constant. The tone carries throughout and the overall consistency is good.
The modularity of the textbook is extremely clear and flows well. Although the order of modules/chapters could be rearranged, overall I find the modules to be well organized.
As with most intro psych textbooks, the flow and structure are similar, easy to follow, and sound. Layout, consistency, and flow are all as they should be.
The interface was again consistent the module flow will allow a student to easily navigate between. Images and figures were easy to read and added to the topic that was being discussed.
No major grammatical errors were noticed in this textbook.
I would say that this textbook does a good job of bringing up cultural, racial, and ethnic issues in a neutral tone. Perhaps a deeper discussion of some of these topics as they relate to psychology would have been helpful, but overall it is culturally relevant.
As a brief text, this book does a good job of covering most of the major topics within psychology without overwhelming the reader. I would consider utilizing this book the next time I teach an intro psych course.
The text covers all areas that are typically taught in Introduction to Psychology in the default “Brief Introductory Text” pre-packaged version, and there are many additional modules/chapters that the instructor can choose among to create a... read more
The text covers all areas that are typically taught in Introduction to Psychology in the default “Brief Introductory Text” pre-packaged version, and there are many additional modules/chapters that the instructor can choose among to create a customized version of the text. Noba is a collection of chapters or modules that were written by different authors, many of whom are leading researchers in the field about which they write. It reads more like an edited volume or handbook of psychology than a traditional single-author textbook, which has both advantages and disadvantages. On the positive side, the perspective of domain experts provides more depth and makes it a more interesting read overall. A potential negative might be that there is less consistency of style and level of detail across chapters than in a traditional textbook, and less importance placed on providing “encyclopedic” summary coverage of the whole field. Nevertheless, the text does have adequate breadth of coverage overall, and the availability of additional modules allows the instructor to supplement any topics that they wish to cover in more detail. I would rate its comprehensiveness as more than adequate, though not as comprehensive as some of the more encyclopedic traditional textbooks.
The use of domain experts as chapter authors has a positive effect on the accuracy of the text. In my text selection process I paid particular attention to the treatment of methods and statistics. The Noba chapters did a good job of explaining concepts in an understandable way without being inaccurate about (for example) p values - a criterion that some of the other free textbooks (and some traditional textbooks) I considered failed to meet.
The modular structure of the text, with contributed chapters on various topics, lends itself to easy updating by soliciting updated or new individual chapters as needed, rather than requiring a full-scale revision of the entire text.
The writing is clear, though it may vary from chapter to chapter due to each chapter having a different author. Students generally rated the text as readable and interesting.
The consistency is adequate, though not as high as it would be for a single-author textbook.
One of the strengths of this text, there are dozens of modules that the instructor can choose among to create a customized textbook.
Easy for students to access via a browser, or to download a pdf version of the textbook. It is too bad there are not e-book versions such as mobi (Kindle) or epub available, however.
I recently switched from a traditional textbook to a customized version of the Noba text and thus far the experience has been good. Surveys of students revealed that they found it to be interesting and well-written, comparing favorably to two traditional textbooks that were used concurrently in other sections of the same class or in my previous sections of the class. The only area in which I perceive the Noba text to lag traditional textbooks currently is in the instructor test banks. I would characterize the Noba test banks as adequate, but much less extensive than those provided by commercial publishers. Overall I have been pleased with the Noba textbook and plan to continue using it.
The text covers all of the standard areas/topics typical for an introductory textbook. The subject areas are presented in a comprehensive manner without making the chapters too long. I also really enjoyed videos and suggested outside sources. The... read more
The text covers all of the standard areas/topics typical for an introductory textbook. The subject areas are presented in a comprehensive manner without making the chapters too long. I also really enjoyed videos and suggested outside sources. The book’s layout and its glossary are helpful in making the text user-friendly and easily digestible. I was a bit surprised not to see a module on the History of the field as well as a module on other subfield (e.g., Community Psychology, I/O, etc.) at least in an introductory format. I would also suggest possible inclusion of a chapter on adolescent/adulthood psychology for a more comprehensive lifespan chapter.
The content of the book appears to be accurate and free of errors and biases.
The text appears to be up-to-date. Typical for any text, some studies/examples could be more current but the necessary updates can be easily made.
The text’s voice is clear. Terminology is defined both in-text as well as in glossary.
Even though the text was written by multiple authors, there is a good flow and consistency when it comes to various modules and the transition from one module to another; this is helped by the apparent similarity in structure (e.g., sections pane on the right, learning objectives, glossary, etc.).
Having the book split into module is a plus as the chapters can easily been re-organized and modules can be added and removed per the instructor’s interest/need. The text is clearly divided into sections and subsections.
The topics in the text are presented in a clear manner and are logically nested within subunits.
Navigating the text was relatively easy. I was, however, disappointed that 1) the headers on the right pane did not get updated (i.e., highlighted) when I was scrolling the actual text and 2) that I was not able to go directly to the part of the text by clicking on the header on the right pane. None of the images/charts/graphs appeared distorted. Minor note: in the memory chapter, the image on mnemonic devices is slightly cut off.
I did not notice any major grammatical errors.
While I really enjoyed the chapter Culture and Emotion, I would have preferred the text incorporated the notion of cultural relevance throughout the text rather than in one specific chapter or sporadic examples such as on Implicit and Ambiguous Biases or on representation of women in certain professions.
I really appreciated how innovative this text was. What a great way to introduce a quality introduction of the field to the students, while helping the students avoid the high costs of a textbook.
I found the book pretty thorough. It did lack some of the bells and whistles that our current book has but could be supplemented by the instructor. It covers all the same material and in some cases adds some info. The presentation int terms of... read more
I found the book pretty thorough. It did lack some of the bells and whistles that our current book has but could be supplemented by the instructor. It covers all the same material and in some cases adds some info. The presentation int terms of chapter organization is a bit different and this would require a bit of planning. However it was pretty much the same information and easy to locate.
I haven't reviewed every chapter but I did review key concepts and found a high degree of accuracy and good detail as well.
I think the book would be relevant as long as our current texts. They update every few years and I am not sure they change too much. I would think this text would be timely and up to date for the same time period as other competing texts.
Easy to follow and well organized. Clear chapter headings, glossary, etc. Presented in a way that is accessible to college students of various levels but still challenging in content.
The chapters follow a straight forward plan and it is pretty easy to locate needed information.
I prefer our current textbook but just because I am familiar with it. I think the organizational structure of this book follows a logical progression.
It could use some better charts, graphics etc. I a bit more color, variety, etc would be nice.
Not really addressed much but neither does our current text.
This textbook (a collection of entries written by top experts in psychology and related fields) covers all major areas of behavioral science I typically include in an introductory course. The topics list is fairly simple to navigate, and the... read more
This textbook (a collection of entries written by top experts in psychology and related fields) covers all major areas of behavioral science I typically include in an introductory course. The topics list is fairly simple to navigate, and the "browse" option allows a user to locate topics and terms easily.
The content appears appropriated referenced and reflect current research and theory in the authors' areas of expertise.
The citations are current. This is an ever-changing field in some domains, but this text should be sufficiently relevant for the next few years.
The books reads well. College students should be able to comprehend the content.
There are different authors for each topic, so individual styles do come through at times. This does not, however, detract from the flow of the book.
There are clear sections and topic areas designated.
The topics can be absorbed separately or a as a whole.
I found no interface problems.
I found no grammatical errors in my reading.
Culture was include with respect in many topic areas.
This textbook appears to cover many, if not all, of the same areas that are found in traditional textbooks. For each area that is discussed, the text includes relevant authors and studies. read more
This textbook appears to cover many, if not all, of the same areas that are found in traditional textbooks. For each area that is discussed, the text includes relevant authors and studies.
This book appears to be incredibly accurate. The information presented is presented using critical thought and defended using relevant scholarly sources.
It is my opinion that this textbook is and will remain relevant to today's psychology students.
The textbook is written at a level that is very easy to understand, in my opinion. It is not too confusing or difficult to comprehend it.
The expectations I had going into each of the sections (after going through one section), were met.
I really liked how some of the more important points were highlighted on the side of the pages. It made it easy to find pertinent information I might have otherwise overlooked and it helps me to focus my learning.
The outline and structure were similar for each area.
It was incredibly easy to open and view this book from my desktop computer.
No issues that I saw.
The textbook consistently addressed issues on a global scale.
The problem with textbooks is that they can’t devote enough time and space to each sub-discipline of psychology that’s needed. With that being said, the book did a good job of including the major areas of psychology, while highlighting many... read more
The problem with textbooks is that they can’t devote enough time and space to each sub-discipline of psychology that’s needed. With that being said, the book did a good job of including the major areas of psychology, while highlighting many important subcategories of psychological inquiry (e.g., the bias, discrimination, and stereotyping section in the social psychology chapter). The textbook provides an effective glossary, which helps the reader navigate the book with ease.
I found the content to be mostly accurate and up-to-date. I did, however, have an issue with how in-groups and out-groups were defined in the social psychology chapter. The book states that showing in-group favoritism leads to outgroup bias but it is my understanding that one can favor in-groups without showing bias toward out-groups. I would like to see the authors update that section to reflect our current understanding of this social phenomenon.
One of the pros of a modulated textbook is that each module can be easily updated in a short period of time. I found the chapter on personality to be particularly relevant to today’s world with each subsection written by a leading researcher in that area. The book will stay relevant because the work of the researchers/authors was and is relevant.
The book reads well and keeps the readers’ interest by relating current issues to psychological inquiry. The editors did a great job of eliminating unnecesary jargon and technical terminology. The text is easily digestible and written at a level that most students can read and, more importantly, comprehend. The textbook also has vocabulary words with definitions at the end of each chapter subsection, which is a handy tool for students beginning to learn and understand psychology.
I found the text to be consistent in terminology and framework, which is hard to accomplish when each chapter has different authors. With that in mind, the text does not appear disjointed or artificially constructed. The chapter layouts are consistent throughout the text adding fluidity to the developing picture of psychological science.
The strongest attribute of this textbook is that it is setup for each chapter or subsections of chapters can be easily divided into sections within that chapter or a related chapter. Because each chapter subsection has a different author, you may expect each chapter to read like a different textbook but this is not the case. Because of the how the book is organized, subunits can be reorganized and realigned without distracting the reader.
The fact that each of the chapters, and subsections, are written by authors well known in their particular area of psychology adds credibility to the textbook as a whole. The text is organized so the instructor can dissect each chapter and arrange them in the order she chooses. This type of textbook allows instructors to share certain areas of psychology that overlap with other areas of psychology. It also allows the reader to read chapters and chapter subsections out of sequence without losing flow.
I did not find any issues concerning navigation or distortion of images, charts and figures. Readers can fluidly move through the text from chapter to chapter without confusing figures and charts that seem out of place. When charts and graphs are used, they enhance the readers’ understanding rather than detracting from it.
I found no grammatical errors in the text.
I believe this textbook does a good job of using examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities and backgrounds and I did not find any language that could be considered offensive. I will say that I wanted the section on racism, biases, and stereotyping to be longer and more in-depth. The changing social and racial/ethnic make-up of the US suggests that intolerance may increase as we adjust to the changing social landscape. Biases and prejudices in conjunction with right-wing authoritarianism and social dominance orientation have always been and continue to be issues that we in the US refuse to devote serious inquiry and resources to. The 2016 presidential election is a prime example of these phenomena.
This textbook is because it has lecture slides and test bank questions that other textbooks don’t offer. As an instructor, this helps tremendously with preparation for lectures and exams. As far as comprehensibility of textbooks goes, this textbook is a good one. Students will read if the text is written in a way that they can comprehend without too much effort. This is such a textbook.
The text is a brief introduction to psychology with 15 units that cover the material traditionally targeted in intro courses. The 15 units hit on the "big" topics that are included in most introductory textbooks including: basic research methods,... read more
The text is a brief introduction to psychology with 15 units that cover the material traditionally targeted in intro courses. The 15 units hit on the "big" topics that are included in most introductory textbooks including: basic research methods, biological psychology, sensation and perception, learning, social psychology, and psychological disorders. Most of the chapters provide sufficient information on a topic; however, there are some units that could use more detail or topics. For example, the sensation and perception unit only includes modules on vision and hearing without information on smell, taste, or touch. The content on psychological disorders could also benefit from a module that includes more of an introduction to how psychological disorders are defined and diagnosed. The learning objectives listed at the beginning of each chapter would be helpful to guide students as they read the module, and they could be very useful in guiding an instructor in their course planning. However, the quality of the learning objectives vary from unit to unit, and it is obvious that they were written by different individuals. Some of the learning objectives state very specific behaviors that a student should be able to engage in following reading the module whereas other units include more general objectives that a student should "understand" some concept. The completeness of the vocabulary lists/glossary varies from unit to unit as well. Some of the terms are very clearly defined whereas others are quite poorly defined. For example, discontinuous development is defined as "discontinuous development." The discussion questions are a great feature, but the quality varies across units as well. Overall, the content appears complete and would likely function well for a introductory course that is often strapped for time, but the individual instructor may need to offer more complete definitions or more narrowly define learning objectives.
The content of the book appears accurate. I did not come across any egregious errors; however, it is impossible to be an expert on all of the modules! The text nicely covers difficult topics like gender, cultural diversity, intelligence, nature and nurture, and discrimination from an unbiased perspective. Accurate content in chapters such as these can be especially helpful for lecturing and in stimulating discussion.
The content is up-to-date (although it does appear that a version 2.0 has also been added to the book's website). The content on psychological disorders could use more information about the latest edition of the DSM. Updates to the content could be relatively easy to implement, in my opinion.
Each module is authored by a different professional, so the clarity can vary a bit from unit to unit. Overall, the text is very clearly written and accessible. Many first-year students and non-traditional students with a variety of backgrounds often take introduction to psychology, so a text that is not too advanced is a great resource to have. The units include many current examples which would help a student apply a psychological concept to their own life.
The text is consistent in framework and layout. Each module begins with an introductory paragraph and learning objectives, followed by the "meat" of the module, and ends with references/links to other sources, discussion questions, and glossary. The layout is easy to navigate and increases usability. There is little consistency in terms of terminology; however, this is somewhat common in introduction to psychology textbooks regardless of the number of authors. The text covers 15 very different topics, and there is little overlap between the units. This can make consistency difficult. Overall, the tone of the text carries nicely throughout modules even when written by different authors.
The modularity of the text is one of its best features. The 15 units are further organized into modules that are easy to navigate and easy to consume. The modules have very clear sections and flow nicely from one section to the next. I would likely reorganize the order of some of the modules for my own course, but the order of the modules makes sense.
The text is very well organized. The organization is similar to most other introductory texts that I have read/used. The topics progress in a logical fashion and the information organized into modules within each unit builds upon previous modules. The layout of each module helps with the structure and flow of the information.
Overall, the interface is highly navigable. I did have some annoyance with returning to the table of contents from modules I was reading, but it was a minimal disruption. All of the figures and images that I came across did not appear to be distorted in any way. There were some modules in which the text of a paragraph continued awkwardly after a picture, but it was only minimally distracting.
I did not notice any grammatical errors. Some of the learning objectives and discussion questions could be revised for clarity.
I did not find the text to be culturally insensitive or offensive. In fact, I found the information on gender and discrimination to be rather neutral. There could be more emphasis on cultural diversity especially with respect to topics like social psychology and values.
I often select a brief text to use in my introduction to psychology course because I have so many topics to cover in a 15-week semester. I think this book could accomplish many of the goals that I have for my intro course; however, I would need to supplement my lectures with more examples not provided in the text and incorporate supplementary resources like videos. In my experience, students rarely complete all of the reading for an intro course. I think that the length of the modules and clarity of the text could make the material accessible and hopefully lead to more students completing the reading assignments.
The text covers all major areas of psychology appropriate for an introductory course. However, the table of contents is organized in a way that makes it somewhat difficult to find a specific piece of information. While reviewing, I noted things... read more
The text covers all major areas of psychology appropriate for an introductory course. However, the table of contents is organized in a way that makes it somewhat difficult to find a specific piece of information. While reviewing, I noted things lacking only to find it later on in another section. Very broad categories are listed with the topical areas of the chapters within each section. I think students and instructors may have a difficult time locating specific material using the ToC.
I found the material to be accurate to the best of my knowledge. Major plus: Loftus co-wrote a chapter specific to eyewitness memory. Drawback: No mention of Zimbardo other than a suggested video clip. Major omission of Freudian and neo-Freudian theoretical perspectives in unconscious chapter. Everything else was accurate and error-free.
As with all psychology, the text will need to be updated with advances in research and to stay current with DSM. The historical aspects and overview of seminal studies are relevant and current.
I found the text easy to read and easily understood without a lot of jargon. The physio sections are slightly more advanced as a result of the content.
The writing is cohesive throughout and the authors have done a good job making it sound as one voice. However, the organization makes the text seem a little disjointed. There is no real overarching framework introduced in the first chapter, which makes the organization seem off in a few places.
The chapters are appropriate length (some may be even a bit too short), but would be manageable for a student needing a brief review. The sections are rather short and easy to break down, but within the sections, I suspect students would need a lot of underlining and highlighting, more so than a traditional text, to go back and find what they’re looking for. Some of the headings within the chapters are ambiguous which would also make it difficult to go back and find specific pieces of information.
The organization of this text is the biggest flaw, in my opinion. A lot of information is placed in broad categories that seem out of place to me. For example, I would expect research ethics to be in research; it’s in the introductory chapter. Nature-nurture and gender socialization are both under biology, and I would expect it to fall under development. Most of the information under the broad category of emotion seems to be a better fit for the social chapter. The social psyc module should be right after personality, but is second to the end. I think the text would benefit from fewer categories and combining some of the chapters together along with reorganization.
In some places, text will reference a graphic “above” when it is actually beside or below. Some of the graphics in the physio sections are too rudimentary. By this, I mean students may not be able to identify a part because the graphics in the text are not detailed enough for the specific part being labeled. It is difficult to see what is being pointed to and identified.
I saw no grammatical problems. The table of contents could be organized a little better with more specificity.
One thing I really liked was the inclusion of a chapter specific to the real-world application of research methodology. In an introductory course, many students may need to see “the point” of the course before engaging in the material, and I think the inclusion of this chapter early on does a nice job engaging readers with the “why it matters” element. I found nothing offensive or insensitive. Photos include people of a variety of races and ethnicities, but could possibly use even more diversity. The chapters could use more images or examples of real-world things that students would recognize, but it's understandable if budget for a free text does not allow for that inclusion.
Overall I like this text as a supplement to other material for a full-semester introductory psychology course. It does a nice job covering the basics of most of the relevant areas. However, aside from the organization, in my opinion a flaw of the text is the lack of introduction to major fields and orientations within psychology in the first chapter. If you asked a student using this text and only this text what behaviorism, humanism, Freudian theory, or social learning theory is, they would probably not get that from the text. There is no overview of historically significant theorists, and no overview of orientations and perspectives. The orientation informs the differences in methods, explanation for behavior, and treatment. Without this overlaying perspective, the text feels disjointed. Each chapter is good independently, but there lacks a through-line. In this way, you can tell this is written by multiple authors independent of one another. We read about parts of the brain and then don’t hear much more about how biology relates to behavior in different ways. The chapters don’t really build on one another – which is not necessarily a bad thing if it’s intended to be broken up and assigned in a different order than the one it’s presented in. But if the intended use, as it would be for me, is to introduce information and then build on that information and come back to it repeatedly to relate it to new information, this text is lacking. It’s a nice primer but would not be my choice for sole text for a course.
Table of Contents
- Intro to Psychology as a Science
- Research in Psychology
- Biology as the Basis of Behavior
- Developmental Psychology
- Sensation and Perception
- Cognition, Language & Intelligence
- Emotion and Motivation
- Psychological Disorders
- Social Psychology
- Psychological Health
About the Book
This textbook presents core concepts common to introductory courses. The 15 units cover the traditional areas of intro-to-psychology; ranging from biological aspects of psychology to psychological disorders to social psychology. This book can be modified: feel free to add or remove modules to better suit your specific needs. Each module in this book is accompanied by instructor's manual, PowerPoint presentation, test items, adaptive student quiz, and reading anticipation guide.
Please note that the publisher requires you to login to access and download the textbooks.
About the Contributors
Robert Biswas-Diener has written a number of books including Happiness: Unlocking the mysteries of psychological wealth and The Courage Quotient. He is senior editor for the free-textbook platform, Noba.
Ed Diener is a psychologist, professor, and author. Diener is a professor of psychology at the Universities of Utah and Virginia, and Joseph R. Smiley Distinguished Professor Emeritus from the University of Illinois as well as a senior scientist for the Gallup Organization.