Introduction to Psychology
Pub Date: 2015
ISBN 13: 9781946135131
Publisher: University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing
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The text seems fairly comprehensive in how it introduces the domains of psychology and roots them in empirical research. Several areas lack depth, which is understandable for an introductory text, but many also seem to lack cultural breadth and... read more
The text seems fairly comprehensive in how it introduces the domains of psychology and roots them in empirical research. Several areas lack depth, which is understandable for an introductory text, but many also seem to lack cultural breadth and could be strengthened by adding more contemporary perspectives. Taking “Growing and Developing” as an example, the author does not address the full bio-psycho-social nature of development across the life course, skips over middle childhood, and misses key theories such as Brofenbrenner’s ecological systems theory and Carstensen’s selectivity theory in later life. The Learning Objectives in each section help to prepare students for what they will be learning, and the Key Takeaways following each section help to summarize concepts, but I find that it is really helpful for students to have a glossary of terms as well which would then be indexed at the back of the book.
I did not find inaccuracies or errors, but some cultural bias (see below under “Cultural”) and issues with relevance of the information and ample citation. For example, on page 225, the paragraph introducing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease includes only a single citation, dated 1995. There are several examples where adding citations (especially more recent ones) would enhance the credibility of the author’s content (e.g., describing structuralism on page 16; ethics in section 2.1; neuroplasticity on page 88; stimulants in section 5.2; psychotherapy in section 13.4).
Some of the references are out of date (e.g., the references in section 6.5 are all from 10 years ago or earlier, with several from the 1990s). Videos that are accessed through hyperlinked text may have been taken down (e.g., the “Stepping Reflex” video on page 220).
The writing seems to be at an appropriate level and not too heavy in jargon/technical language for an introductory course. I felt that some of the text boxes dropped into the chapters were not contextualized sufficiently, however. For example, the “War of the Ghosts” example on page 23 is used to illustrate Bartlett’s research on the cognitive and social processes of remembering. The story itself is confusing, however, and inserting it into the text doesn’t seem to help accomplish the author’s goal. Also, in the beginning of Chapter 6, “The Repository for Germinal Choice” is used to present the classic “nature versus nurture” argument, but it seems like an odd choice given the problematic nature of the story itself: essentially, the efforts of an American millionaire to create a more superior human race. Using a critical lens, a student would be able to detect the outrageously unethical rationale for this millionaire’s “experiment,” but that point should be highlighted more clearly and it seems like a more appropriate example could have been used in the first place.
The text is fairly consistent in terms of organization and framework. I had a hard time understanding why some of the chapter summaries were not at the ends of the chapters (e.g., Chapters 4 and 7).
I appreciate the way that the text is broken into subsections and short paragraphs without feeling disconnected or choppy. The author did a very nice job with this.
The first several chapters are presented in a logical fashion. My preference would be to have “Growing and Developing” follow Chapters 8-11, then be followed by the chapters on psychological disorders. Social cognition should also be presented earlier, perhaps after “Learning” and “Remembering and Judging.”
Depending on the format in which the book was downloaded, this book seems to have a relatively user-friendly interface. The Contents at the beginning are hyperlinked (e.g., in PDF and iBook formats), making it easy to navigate to different sections.
So far as I can tell, there are few (to no) grammatical errors.
The text relies heavily on dominant cultural perspectives and lacks emphasis on the diversity of human nature. It would be helpful to explain differences in race, ethnicity, and nationality (especially as the author uses categories such as “Jews” “East Asians” and “African Americans” for comparison) as well as differences in sex, gender, and sexual orientation, and to cite contemporary sources (e.g., a 1984 one was used on p. 371 to describe discrimination, and a 1994 one was used on p. 439 to explain sexual orientation). The author uses the outdated term “mentally retarded” or “retardation” (p. 367). They also use the binary gender schema (i.e., men versus women) and equate gender identity disorder with transsexualism without effectively explaining gender identity (i.e., transgender/non-binary gender identification are not discussed). They refer to LGBTQ individuals as “homosexuals” (p. 439) and apply a heteronormative lens in discussing sexuality. They also explain that eating disorders can lead people to be “too fat or too thin” (p. 436) which some may perceive as body shaming.
Overall, I found this to be a good text for introducing students to the vast, complex field of psychology. In the classroom I would draw attention to areas of the text that need updated/augmented and describe the most current research findings, adding cross-cultural and international perspectives. I would generally encourage students to use a critical lens while reading this text and to contribute their own personal insight/ideas particular with regard to issues such as culture, race, ethnicity, gender, age, and socioeconomic status.
A few emerging areas of psychology, such as health psychology and I/O psychology are not represented. While I/O is not currently commonplace in other introductory texts, Stress and Health typically warrants a chapter. Stress is included in the... read more
A few emerging areas of psychology, such as health psychology and I/O psychology are not represented. While I/O is not currently commonplace in other introductory texts, Stress and Health typically warrants a chapter. Stress is included in the chapter on Emotion and Motivation, which perhaps negates the need for a separate chapter (since stress is a major component of health psychology). Additionally, there is little mention of Vygotsky in Chapter 6. If that is important to an instructor, s/he will need to augment. Finally, there does seem to be a lot of attention paid to PTSD; it is significantly discussed in 3-4 chapters. This is not necessarily a critical comment, but something that stood out in my review of the text.
In the spirit of simplification and parsimony, the author omits some information that better shows the complexity and nuance of some of the phenomenon. For example, when discussing REM there is no mention of muscle paralysis that accompanies this stage of sleep. Or when explaining Ainsworth’s Strange Situation, the author states there are 4 attachment styles. While there are, only 3 of them came from Ainsworth’s initial research. Disorganized was identified later. More critically, it is evident that this edition has not been updated to reflect changes in the DSM. When moving from DSM-IV to DSM-V the Axes system was eliminated yet the text still spends ample time explaining this old diagnostic system. Relatedly, in Chapter 10 when eating disorders are explained only Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa are presented; Binge Eating Disorder is now a recognized eating disorder. There are multiple other examples that would require the instructor to update this information so that the students are learning the most accurate material.
At various places in the text the references seem outdated (e.g. Chapter 3 where most stem from the 1990s). A more egregious example is in Chapter 11 where the author cites a study from 1928 when describing the stability of personality in children. Certainly this could be effectively used from a historical perspective, but the contextual language does not suggest that is the intent of using this article. In Chapter 13, the pie chart depicting the proportion of types of therapy practiced is from 2001, making it nearly 20 years old. Finally, some more contemporary issues such as e-cigarettes and binge drinking could be incorporated in Chapter 5, along with recent legislative changes regarding recreational marijuana
Overall I think the language is clear and straightforward, with a few exceptions. For example, Chapter 4 explains how the trichromatic theory and opponent-process theory of color vision are correct, but the author could elaborate by explaining what part of the visual process each theory best explains. Additionally, some of the information in tables or figures could be better expressed. Two examples would be Marcia’s theory of identity in Chapter 6 which is presented as a table but would work better as a matrix and Figure 3.11 which demonstrates that bodily regions that require greater motor control are afforded more space on the motor cortex. The homunculus would be a better visual.
In the author’s preface there is note that each chapter begins with an ‘attention grabbing story’ yet I didn’t see one for Chapter 2. Additionally, the inclusion of video clips and other ancillary material varies across chapters, with some having a lot of embedded resources while others have relatively few.
The sections seem appropriate in length to serve as standalone ‘units’. I very much appreciate the key takeaways and critical thinking questions found at the end of each section instead of the end of the chapter. This eases the use of this text by instructors.
This text follows the general format of most introductory texts, with the exception of ending with social psychology instead of disorders and treatment. Otherwise, there were a few spots within chapters – specifically chapters 4 and 6 – where some of the information seems a bit disjointed or out of order.
Some of the images seem a bit odd with respect to formatting (small, offset to the left, leaving a lot of white space to the right). Unsure if this is a pedagogical tool to allow those students who print the chapters room to annotate or if it was just a stylistic decision by the editorial team? When images aren’t small and left justified, they are very large images of prominent psychologists which I’m not sure are helpful or necessary (size, not overall inclusion). The tables are drab: black and white, small font. Students may very well skip over them.
As noted earlier, the text is very well written. The only grammar error I noted was that when discussing the work of the Harlows that the author notes they were affiliated with Wisconsin University rather than the University of Wisconsin.
I certainly didn’t find evidence of offensive language, but also thought there weren’t intentional attempts to integrate cross-cultural research. A specific example of this is when referencing the Muller-Lyre illusion noting the finding that cultures that utilize different housing structures that don’t use 90 degree angles are less likely to be susceptible to this illusion (carpentered world hypothesis) Or in Chapter 5 when discussing cocaine to note that some indigenous tribes chew on the leaves of the coca plant to maintain alertness. I think there is opportunity for the author to point out cultural differences in the presence of some of the more common psychological disorders. For instance, depression often manifests as more somatic symptoms in Asian cultures rather than sadness and despair that we tend to see in Western cultures.
Overall the key concepts are present. In its current format, instructors could augment areas that are weaker and/or pull in more contemporary examples. The greatest weaknesses are the outdated information re: psychological disorders and diagnosis and a relatively light integration of cultural differences. Graphics could be enhanced to be more engaging for students, but the text itself is well-written.
This book cover most of the topics for the introduction to Psychology course. though the topic of stress, Coping and Health Psychology. The text and easy to understand and presented in a great manner. There are 14 chapters in total giving a... read more
This book cover most of the topics for the introduction to Psychology course. though the topic of stress, Coping and Health Psychology. The text and easy to understand and presented in a great manner. There are 14 chapters in total giving a complete understanding of the introductory course for psychology.
I found this open Library Textbook to be accurate, error free apart from a few topics like Stress and Coping. Some of the terms used in chapter 12 and 13 are not in use in this present age. They can improvise some examples from Cross culture as well.
The content is good and up-to-date. As mentioned earlier a few terms need to be changed in Chapter 12 & 13 to the new terms used in DSM V. In addition they can enhance the interactive learning process of the student by adding some videos and quizzes to the book.
The content is very well written and have clarity. It present the theoretical and the applied perspective very clearly.
It maintains the consistency and the flow throughout the book.
Each chapter is broken into several different sections in a very simple and understandable manner. All the subtopics are well connected.
Organization of the text is good. Though the topic of emotions and stress can be separate. As the topic of health and stress is very important in interesting for the young population. The content table should be there in the beginning of each chapter to give the clarity to the students what the chapter will be covering.
There are some graphs and visual aids in the book. Though I will recommend the addition of a few videos and quizzes to promote the interactive learning for the students.
Grammar of the book is great.
Author was very careful and sensitive about the cultural relevance. Additions of some more cross cultural videos/example will enhance the over all perspective of these topics through the world.
Over all it seems adequate and cover most of the topics for the college level course. In addition to the content if some more cross cultural example, videos and interactive quizzes are added to it, this text book will be great for a college level course. Though most of the examples int he text are based on the american culture.
Provides comprehensive coverage read more
Provides comprehensive coverage
Content was error-free and without clear bias.
Content was relevant and appropriately updated. Text should be usable for a long period of time.
At times the tone was very academic and might limit accessibility for undergraduate non-majors, but overall, clearly written.
No problems with consistency were noted.
It seemed an instructor could pick the most important sections and exclude those that were less relevant without any problems.
Standard but appropriate organization and structure
The only drawback is the relatively limited number of photos, illustrations, tables, charts, and graphs.
No offensive or insensitive content. Clear attempts at inclusion.
I compared this textbook with the textbook I currently use, "Discovering Psychology, 7th edition," by Hockenbury, Nolan, and Hockenbury. The textbook I currently use has only 14 chapters and two Appendices. I have seen textbooks with more... read more
I compared this textbook with the textbook I currently use, "Discovering Psychology, 7th edition," by Hockenbury, Nolan, and Hockenbury. The textbook I currently use has only 14 chapters and two Appendices. I have seen textbooks with more chapters that may perhaps also be more comprehensive, but may also be overwhelming to get through in a traditional 16 week course. Therefore, I prefer the more brief or concise versions of introductory textbooks. I think this textbook is comparable in comprehensiveness to the textbook I currently use, with one major exception: "Introduction to Psychology has no separate chapter on "Stress, Health, and Coping." Although this topic is addressed in Chapter 8 with "emotion," my preference would be to have an entirely separate chapter devoted to stress (especially since combining motivation and emotion into one chapter is already a lot of material). Here are a few of my thoughts on the comprehensiveness of each chapter: Chapter 1: Missing from the "Schools of Psychology" table: Biological, Humanistic, Positive Psychology, and Evolutionary Psychology. The text I currently use discusses Structuralism and Functionalism within the section on the history of psychology, but separates out the "origins of psychology" (where Structuralism and Functionalism are discussed) from "contemporary psychology." Also, although I realize that it would be impossible to include everyone, I feel like there are too many important psychologists missing from the timeline, and the timeline should add in what some of the early theorists did. I do like how Chapters 1 and 2 give separate attention to the history of psychology and the scientific method (my current textbook combines the two). I like how this chapter differentiates between values and facts, and discusses the potential limitations of way we collect and interpret data to understand behavior in our everyday lives. Chapter 2: I would like to see a little more focus on critical thinking in this chapter, though it is briefly discussed. I would also add in why it's necessary to replicate research, and how a journal article is different than other reports of studies seen in the media. I think the table that lists the conceptual variable and the operational definition would be very useful to students. Chapter 3: I didn't see norepinehrine discussed. Plasticity is discussed, but would also like to see separate definitions of functional and structural plasticity. I also did not see Broca's and Wernicke's areas discussed. Chapter 4: I did not see a definition of "transduction." Also missing are the monocular cues of texture gradient and motion parallax, as well as any discussion on bottom-up vs. top-down processing. The "carpentered world hypothesis" could be included discussion of the effects of experience on perceptual interpretations. Chapter 5: Needs some attention to research on multi-tasking. A table with examples of circadian rhythms throughout the day would be helpful. Some concepts are discussed but terminology related to those concepts are not mentioned, such as sleep paralysis, hypnagogic hallucinations, and myoclonic jerk. Sleep-related eating disorder was also not covered. I enjoyed the information provided on the "need to escape everyday consciousness." Very interesting. Chapter 6: I would like to see some discussion on genotype vs. phenotype and epigenetics. I also didn't see research on types of temperament or theories of gender development presented. Chapter 7: Some concepts were discussed without the associated terminology (such as "biological preparedness" and the "overjustification effect"). I would also like to see discussion on "learned helplessness." Chapter 8: The "semantic network model" was discussed somewhat but not labeled as such. Chapter 9: "Thinking" was not included in this chapter (as it is in the textbook I currently use), and was addressed somewhat instead in the previous chapter, though not in a comprehensive way. I prefer "thinking" to be addressed in the same chapter as intelligence and language. Chapter 10: I did not see theories of motivation, such as instinct, drive, incentive, arousal, humanistic theories) discussed. Chapter 11: This chapter was about as comprehensive as it is in the textbook I currently use. Chapter 12 and some of 13: Needs to be updated to align with the newest edition of the DSM. Chapter 14: Sufficiently comprehensive. There was no chapter or appendix covering Industrial/Organizational Psychology.
I found this textbook to be accurate in comparison with the information provided in the textbook I currently use, aside from the need to update the information in Chapter 12 to reflect changes to the DSM.
For the most part, up-to-date (aside from Chapter 12), but a few more relevant examples would catch the attention of students (especially related to media use). I liked the exercises/critical thinking questions found at the end of the sections. This gives students an opportunity to find ways to make the material relevant to their own lives with personal examples.
I think that concepts were adequately defined and found the textbook easy to read.
The textbook has no consistency issues that I could find.
I found the modularity to be adequate.
For the most part, the organization/structure/flow of this text was good. I only have a few minor recommendations. Within Chapter 3, I feel like the material about how the brain is studied could be placed at the beginning of the chapter; where it is placed seems to disrupt the flow of the chapter, in my opinion. In Chapter 10, I would like to see evidence for the facial feedback hypothesis tied in with the James-Lange theory.
Most of the links to the videos provided within each chapter did not work. I love the use of videos to illustrate course material. However, links seem to change so quickly on the internet that this is a significant issue. I would recommend adding in a banner above each chapter number for visual interest.
I did not find any grammatical errors.
I feel this is an area that could be expanded, as there seemed to be very few examples that provided a cross-cultural perspective.
Overall, I think the scope of this text was adequate for an introduction to psychology course, though I'm not sure how much updating has occurred since it was distributed in 2010. I would recommend updating the links to the videos within the material and updating Chapter 12 to align with the changes in the new DSM. I would also like to see supplements (PowerPoints and test bank) created for this textbook.
The text covers many key components typically found in an introduction of psychology class. read more
The text covers many key components typically found in an introduction of psychology class.
Content is in keeping with the cannon. I observed no errors.
Content is in keeping with the traditional approach to introducing psychology to community college or undergraduate students. The format of the text allows for an introduction to a variety of domains covered in the field of psychology.
The text is written is such a manner as to reflect college-level expectations. Though it can be dry reading at times (as with most texts), it is far from boring.
This text is not only consistent, but it's progression of subjects easily build upon each other.
The text is easily divisible into sections conducive for a trimester system.
The topics provide a nice overview of the many facets of psychology and easily build on each other.
Navigation is straightforward. The images provided are relevant and are not obtrusive.
I observed no glaring grammatical issues.
I observed no areas of concern in this domain.
This book provides the content and information that many general psychology textbooks do. In comparing it with three other general psychology textbooks I have used over the years, it is equal to all of them in terms of the topics covered and the... read more
This book provides the content and information that many general psychology textbooks do. In comparing it with three other general psychology textbooks I have used over the years, it is equal to all of them in terms of the topics covered and the level of comprehensiveness.
The content appears to be accurate and error-free. There is a slight bias, as there is with most textbooks, but it in no way clouds the content or the information.
In terms of relevance, the author does a good job with providing information, resources, and citations for the pioneering works in the field. With any general psychology textbook there is a large emphasis on the historical context of the field, theorists, physiology, and behavior. I found the sections on the brain to include some of these seminal works, but very little current information and research on this important structure.
The book's clarity is strong and well-designed. It is very reader-friendly and easy to navigate. The structure of each section lends itself to a good dialogue of the material. The opening story of each chapter is an excellent way to engage students in the material in a very practical sense.
The book is consistent in both terminology and framework. The key terms are highlighted for ease of use, and the figures and tables are labeled and placed in appropriate areas of the text.
I enjoyed the chapters being broken down into different, distinct sections. While I assigned the entire chapter as reading, I planned my activities and assignments to include a graded item from each of the sections. By doing this I knew students were engaged in each of the sections, and for my planning as a professor, it worked very well.
As previously mentioned, the book is well organized, easy to use, and has a great flow to it.
For the most part the interface had no glaring issues. My only criticism of the interface was that there were no page numbers within the body of the book. When I open the book on my laptop, there are no page numbers listed even in the table of contents. When I open the text on my iPad there are numbers for the start of each chapter, but not on the individual page. This made it very difficult to help students navigate to a certain page for information. I also had student complaints about not having page numbers when needed for a citation.
If there were grammatical errors in the book they did not stand out.
There was not a strong emphasis on cultural relevance. On a positive note there were no issues with cultural insensitivity either. General psychology textbooks tend to be a bit culturally neutral, however there could be added cultural implications to the topics.
Overall this textbook is of the same caliber that most general psychology textbooks are, but it has the significant advantage of being free to the end user.
This textbook covers a large range of subjects within the field of psychology; however, some chapters were shortened and brief in their coverage, while others were thorough and extensive in depth of material. Some aspects of the material did not... read more
This textbook covers a large range of subjects within the field of psychology; however, some chapters were shortened and brief in their coverage, while others were thorough and extensive in depth of material. Some aspects of the material did not include most recent research and changes in our fields understanding (for example, the discussion around emotion, arousal and the fight/flight system did not include an introduction to trauma or how the growing body of research shows consistently the impact of early trauma on physical/biological and emotional/mental development). The questions for critical thinking facilitated active learning of what was discussed in the chapter. The progression of chapters followed a logical order from a learning and instructing point of view
The content presented and discussed was accurate; however, certain topics were much more skim in the information provided; this could be resolved through accessing additional learning materials. As a learner in an introductory course, the errors detected would likely go unnoticed. As an instructor and with more comprehensive understanding, the errors were minimally noticeable; nothing observed was falsely reported, simply lacking as comprehensive discussion as possible. The coverage on drugs and addiction was inclusive of updated research that goes against our prior understanding of the impacts of illicit drugs; I was happy to read this inclusion. The prenatal development section briefly covered environmental contributions to birth defects and harmful developmental impacts, including only a sentence or two on the damage of various substances. The discussion around whether our actions are largely due to nature or nurture did not include material around various theories of heritability, leaving the discussion to sound largely based from a personal perspective. The chapter discussing intelligence appeared slightly biased; while reviewing the differences in intelligence between men and women and different races, there was more heavy material presented to support these differences in IQ being partially based in genetics, without a discussion around how social norms and environmental factors also come into play when looking at the findings around differences between social groups and intelligence. Information around the fight or flight system and the brain processes involved in responding to threats was minimal and insufficient, again discussing differences between men and women in their biological arousal response systems, and without addressing the growing body of knowledge around activation of these processes.
Much of the information included in an introductory course is historical, and therefore relevance and longevity should not be a concern. The critical thinking questions and the boxes with real life examples are great in that they reflect updated culturally relevant examples in terms of topics, current themes around the United States political, cultural (etc) climate; however, as culture and times changes, these would be easily adaptable/changeable
This text was very clear and engaging. The layout was inviting, the use of font adjustments (italics, bold face, etc) supported focused learning and signaled when definitions/jargon were given/explored. Each chapter section starts with clear objectives for the reader, and key takeaways, followed by critical thinking questions. Each chapter concludes with a summary of key concepts covered.
The book is written in an engaging manner; difficult concepts are balanced with engaging examples from lived experience. Discussion questions are written to invoke thoughtful responses and personal engagement with the material. Even chapters that may be more challenging for students (research and statistics) are written and therefore read with ease and discussed with engaging and relevant examples.
The chapter lengths were really remarkable for what was covered; they were chunked out in a manner that were short to read and that encouraged engagement with the text. I was shocked at the depth of material and the quality of engagement for also having short and brief chapters - this I think will go a long way with students who are just being introduced to the field of psychology. There were links provided throughout the text; however, I was unsuccessful in getting these links to work and so I cannot report on the usefulness or appropriateness of these learning supplements.
Chapters followed a logical progression of material and each chapter included engaging examples and prompts for future learning or current critical engagement with the material. It was easy to read, easy to follow, and easy to move between chapters. Each chapter provided useful materials in terms of definitions and clarity in previously discussed material
Display features were clear and useful. Links however, were not working for me regardless of how I tried to open them. I was excited to see the option of having youtube videos, examples of personality tests, etc; however, ultimately they were not accessible for use. I was able to highlight the text; however, in the format I was using, I was unable to highlight multiple sections; once I tried, my previous highlighted portion was removed.
This was very well written; there were no grammatical errors that I observed.
Culture in terms of inclusiveness was absent; there was not much included in terms of information that may vary between cultures. When there was discussion of differences between groups of people in regard to race, sex and gender, these differences were named and yet poorly explored; therefore, readers lost opportunities to engage the material with a global view, and potentially could have formed biased or incomplete information about various groups.
This book covers all the chapters needed to give students an understanding of psychology. The chapters are of adequate length and relates to life situations. The concepts in each chapter are explained in a way which is easier for students to... read more
This book covers all the chapters needed to give students an understanding of psychology. The chapters are of adequate length and relates to life situations. The concepts in each chapter are explained in a way which is easier for students to understand.
In this area, the book is very accurate. The content does not differ from introductory concepts in psychology.
In this area, the book is very relevant and will have longevity. The way the text is written, new information can be added with ease. Through the short chapters, there is room to expand the chapters and display the relevance of each chapter to daily life.
The book uses psychology jargon correctly and in a way in which students can gain understanding.
The consistency in this textbook is awesome. The text and concepts flow throughout each chapter.
Through the use of shorter chapters, concepts can be easily explained. Class discussions can easily be formed.
The chapters are broken down in a fashion which are easy to read and create lectures. One chapter is broken down into elements which connect to one another. There aren't any gaps in the information that is being presented.
The textbook meets this element very well. No interface issues. The images were accurate and pertained to the chapters.
The textbook did not have any grammatical errors.
The textbook incorporated various elements of cultural relevance. The examples provided enhanced the chapters.
The book covers in great detail all of the chapters that would appear in a typical introduction to psychology textbook, with the exception of a chapter on stress and coping. The book starts with an introductory chapter that includes the... read more
The book covers in great detail all of the chapters that would appear in a typical introduction to psychology textbook, with the exception of a chapter on stress and coping. The book starts with an introductory chapter that includes the definition of psychology, as well as an interestingly-written history of psychology. I appreciate that the author devotes an entire chapter (chapter two) to psychology as a science/ research methodology. The remaining 12 chapters cover psychology in the same order I do in my course – from the level of the cell (Brains, Bodies, and Behavior) to the social world (Psychology in Our Social Lives). So, with the exception of a chapter on stress and coping (which I cover in my course) the breadth of coverage is excellent, with all of the typical and expected chapters. But the depth of coverage is also excellent. Each chapter is deceivingly dense with material. Breaking each chapter into smaller “modules” and topics makes the chapters seem shorter than they actually are. In fact, I cannot say enough about the book’s organization. Each chapter consists of four to five logically-flowing sections, which, among other things, makes this textbook available as a “brief” version for those interested in less coverage. Pedagogically, the text uses some learning aids, including a list of learning objectives at the outset of each section, visual aids, including embedded videos, chapter summaries, and “Exercises and Critical Thinking” activities at the end of each section. While not entirely comprehensive, these learning aids help to support some learning goals of an introductory course.
If accuracy is defined as being free of errors in reporting, then, overall, the coverage of material in the text is accurate. There were no obvious errors that were detected. If accuracy is defined as the absence of bias, there is nothing that would likely be glaring to the typical undergraduate reading the text. The author approaches introduction to psychology from a scientific perspective, which is evident in the coverage of research (both breadth and depth). Because I teach the course from the same perspective, I appreciate this position. The author did a good job of including timely and important research.
The textbook is quite research-oriented. At an undergraduate level, a strong focus on research can be intimidating and at times, confusing and frustrating. The author balanced the amount of research, the type of research, and examples very well. The amount of coverage is appropriate for an introductory textbook. The research and examples are relevant for undergraduates taking an introductory course. It is noteworthy that the author did not shy away from including and explaining complex experimental research. The author did an excellent job of breaking down the pieces and including the relevant parts. With regard to longevity, this text could have used for several years without needing updates, but it was published six years ago and is in need of inclusion of more recent research and examples.
The book’s strength is the clarity of the writing. The author uses language and jargon that is accessible to most undergraduates. For key terms, it might be helpful to have an index or a glossary for each chapter. Each chapter starts with an example, which helps to provide relevant context for students. The author then lays the groundwork and builds upon it as the chapter unfolds. The use of excellent examples also helps to provide the context.
The book is consistent in its content, organization, and style of writing. Each chapter begins with an example that is likely to be relatable to most readers. Subsequent sections begin with student learning outcomes, which should also help to frame the material for students. The chapter summaries are also consistent from chapter to chapter.
One of the strengths of the text is its modularity. Each chapter is broken into several different sections, which could probably stand on their own (ie., an instructor could assign sections of a chapter, rather than the entire chapter). One advantage of modularity is that is allows for a customized text, where an instructor could pull various sections of the text to create a customized textbook for students. A disadvantage of modularity is that flow and connectedness is compromised. By design, this text is very modular and, although topics can build on one another, there is an intentional lack of connection between chapters. Of course, this necessary shortcoming can be resolved by instructor intervention.
The organization and flow of the text is good, with the already-noted issue of the modularity compromising the connection between chapters. The text is organized in a logical fashion, starting with analysis of behavior at the level of the cell and moving up to the final chapter, which is an analysis of behavior from a social perspective. Within each chapter, the structure and flow is also good. Each chapter/section starts with learning objectives and ends with critical thinking exercises. There are enough visuals and video links in each chapter to break up the narrative portions and reinforce the content.
I read the text as a pdf and did not attempt to download or read it on an iPad or Kindle, for example; nor did I print it. The translation of the text and visuals was good. The visuals showed up well in a pdf and the video links worked well. The bookmark feature in the pdf was also helpful and made it easy to move from section to section. A missing piece was the ability to mark up the text, takes notes, highlight, and save the place where I finished reading. These issues might be resolved if I had downloaded it to an iPad or e-reader. Because other ebooks have these features, I think students will miss this and be potentially disadvantaged.
The book is written very well. I did not notice any grammatical errors. I think I found a few typos, but nothing that disrupted or compromised the integrity of the text.
A focus on culture is not a strength of the text. While there were mentions of culture in some chapters, it was not included in every chapter despite the availability of the research. Even though the text is a bit outdated (2010), there are ample opportunities to include culture and diversity.
Text covers all the areas of Psychology for an introductory course except for Health Psychology. This is always the first chapter I teach so that students can begin to practice a more healthy lifestyle and learn how to manage stress and anxiety. ... read more
Text covers all the areas of Psychology for an introductory course except for Health Psychology. This is always the first chapter I teach so that students can begin to practice a more healthy lifestyle and learn how to manage stress and anxiety. The glossary, index, table of contents are great. I especially like the chapter openers with real world examples, key takeaways, the applications for everyday life and the empirical research examples. The text is easy to read, has relevant visuals and easy comprehension for community college level. I appreciate the references and occasional video clips. The learning objectives and summaries are concise and valuable.
Most of the content seems accurate. The chapter on Psychological Disorders needs to be upgraded to reflect the DSM V. Such terms as "mental retardation," "hypochondriasis" and "pain disorder" for example are no longer used. Autism spectrum disorder needs updating as well. The statistics graph is taken from 2001-3 and not from 2015-16. The statement that "Most Psychologists go into research" does not seem accurate. Students are exploring their career options in the fields of Social Science. The statement that "emotional IQ texts are unreliable" in summary of chapter 9 also does not seem accurate, unless unreliability is defined and also applied to intelligence IQ tests.
This text is written and designed well in a format that would be easy to implement updates. I would include more female psychologists and their work. It is missing cultural diversity. I would also add some of the new movements in Psychology, such as Positive Psychology, Epigenetics, Neurogenesis, Cultural Psychology, Energy Psychology, Health Psychology and alternative treatments in Naturopathic Medicine for healing illness. The book could use more examples that are related to young people and their daily life. I appreciate the section in chapter 6 on Parenting as an example. The section on nature/nurture, free will/determinism, consciousness/unconsciousness, offers an opportunity to introduce students to a both/and as well as a paradoxical mindset rather than an either/or viewpoint.
The text is well written and in language that student's can easily understand. Technical terms are explained well and references related to content. The book does not seem overwelming which many college textbooks seem to be. Based on the amount of time given to teach an Introductory course, this book has some advantages.
Consistency and framework of the text are great. Terminology well defined and used in a consistent fashion Author's dual theme of behavior and empiricism flows well throughout his work. Structure of presenting each topic is the same in each chapter.
The sub units in the textbook make it easy to teach and to break into lesson plans. There is a smooth flow to the subject matter. It would be helpful to have a section bridging one subject to the next so that students could see the interface and relationship of each topic; very little disruption moving from one topic to the next. In some places, the font seems a bit small.
Organization, structure and topical format seems very logical and clear. Text is missing a chapter on Health and Stress Management which highly relevant to the life of a college student.
The textbook includes graphs and visuals that are appealing and easy to study. History of Psychology section has a great chart. Like the videos spotted throughout the text. I would include a chart on the various careers in Psychology since young people are exploring job options.
I could not find any grammar or spelling errors.
The author appears to be careful about cultural sensitivity. However, it lacks examples, case studies research and critical thinking exercises that would bring forth more cultural education for the reader. Young people are growing up with global consciousness and curiosity about ethnic and cultural diversity. Important to include Native American perspectives also. Some excellent video clips from around the world that pertain to every subject studied in an introductory Psychology course.
I appreciate this textbook and would consider using it at the community college level. All of the sections have clear content, great graphs and visuals, and stories pertinent to the subject matter. I would include a section on lucid dreaming in chapter 5 on consciousness. I would also include some of the research on the evolution and phenomenology of consciousness separate from the brain. Student's are fascinated by these topics and it is very relevant to their developmental processes. Integrating practices in Positive Psychology, such as meditation, mindfulness and references to this field of study would be very valuable. Kohlberg's work on Moral Development and Bronfenbrenner's Model could also be included in the chapter on developmental Psychology.
Two versions of this text were compared across formats, the open source 1.0 http://open.lib.umn.edu/intropsyc/ version as well as the updated 2.1 version, located at... read more
Two versions of this text were compared across formats, the open source 1.0 http://open.lib.umn.edu/intropsyc/ version as well as the updated 2.1 version, located at http://catalog.flatworldknowledge.com/catalog/editions/stangor_2_1-introduction-to-psychology-2-1 . As a competitor comparison, I referenced the introductory text our institution currently uses (Myers & DeWall, 2015). For those who are curious, the unattributed author is Dr. Charles Stangor, who prefaces the textbook by stating that the focus of Introduction to Psychology is on behavior and empiricism. This emphasis is further supported with chapter openers that focus specifically on real-world examples in applied domains, as well as additional exercises and critical thinking activities for readers. Generally, this text compared favorably in terms of comprehensiveness to other introduction to Psychology textbooks. Research methods, biological psychology, neuroscience, sensation and perception, consciousness, human development, learning, memory, intelligence, language, emotion, motivation, social process, personality, and psychological disorders are all represented. The represented areas of psychology all align with other introductory texts (e.g., Myers & DeWall, 2015). I did not note any major areas of psychology missing; however some other users have suggested that the social processes chapter may be more appropriate as the final chapter in the text. A test-bank, instructor manual, and lecture slides are also available with version 2.0, however I did not see these materials available with version 1.0. A table of contents is available, as is a marginal glossary for each chapter.
I did not encounter any glaring accuracy errors in theoretical or research content. As with any introductory psychological textbook, the author typically demonstrates the greatest conceptual accuracy and strength in their own content area (social psychology, in this instance). In other areas (for example, cognitive processes), I found some issues with how certain aspects were described, however these are better related to clarity than accuracy (see below).
In terms of content relevance, the author provided adequate citations of seminal studies that one would expect in an introductory textbook. I also appreciated the applications to everyday life that appeared at the end of each chapter, which also contained many recent studies to help students better understand cutting-edge work in the field.
I generally found the writing clarity to be adequate, although there were some areas that either didn’t flow as well as other introductory texts or contained a basic explanation I did not find effective. For example, as a cognitive psychologist, there were some concepts within the learning and memory chapters that I would generally explain differently to students to increase clarity. Specifically, I would suggest a cleaner distinction between cognitive processes and memory storage areas; and a better explanation of the important differences between working memory and short-term memory. Due to the nature of publication in this source, replacements of the author’s name with ‘unnamed author’ and publisher with ‘unnamed publisher’ cause some breaks in coherence for the reader.
Each chapter contains the same organization and layout: A real-world showcase of the chapter content, an application in the chapter of applications to real world problems, and a focus on empirical research studies.
Generally, later chapters that build on understanding psychological research methods can be replaced or reorganized as seen fit by the instructor. However Chapters 1-3 are better left in their original order so students can build on basic descriptions of psychological science, research methods, and biological origins of behavior. As noted earlier, some users have reported a preference for moving Chapter 11: Psychology in Our Social Lives to the end of an instructional sequence.
Chapter organization is well replicated across the textbook and appears in a similar sequence as other introductory texts. Content generally builds upon less complicated content to more complex theories and findings. As noted by the author, this text is somewhat shorter than other introductory texts, which may be of interest to instructors.
The html version of 1.0 is basic in nature but generally well organized and easy to navigate. However there is no option for a full text search within the native html environment. Several reference links did not function, suggesting that this version may need updating (see the 2.1 version mentioned earlier).
While some sentences were awkward for introductory readers, I did not find any major grammatical issues.
Apart from specifically focused content on socio-cultural issues, the focus of this text is not on specific differences between cultures; but on differences of individuals across cultures. This is generally appropriate for an introductory psychology text.
The textbook included the topics and chapters that I expect to be included in a General Psychology course. My attempt was to see this textbook from the perspective of a college freshman. Some may be psychology majors, however most will not. ... read more
The textbook included the topics and chapters that I expect to be included in a General Psychology course. My attempt was to see this textbook from the perspective of a college freshman. Some may be psychology majors, however most will not. This may be the one chance for them to understand that psychology is important and to know the value of studying and appreciating human behavior. I think this text meets that goal.
The content appears to be accurate.
The dramatic examples given to make the points known, will be remembered for a long time. Time passes quickly and with the digital speed of changing, few things can remain relevant for long periods of time. The book seems to be organized in a fashion so that the content can be updated quite easily when needed.
The text is written and arranged in a user friendly manner so that a freshman could quite easily read and comprehend the material.
The consistency of the format and layout of the chapters allows the reader to know what to expect and thus provides a level of comfort going into a chapter that might otherwise be new and difficult for the reader.
The topics can be arranged or reordered if desired by the instructor.
The topics are arranged in an appropriate order. With the instructor bridging the topics, the precise order can be reordered to the preference of the teacher or needs of the students. The order can easily be changed to match a relevant current event, [local or world] that might call a topic to be in the spotlight.
The layout is impressive including: the introduction with the purpose of the chapter; the learning objectives; key words highlighted; charts; videos; key takeaways; experiences and critical thinking; everyday application examples; easy to locate reference citations at the point of topic; and the summary at the end of the chapter. These all add variety, excitement, interest, and repetition of the concepts to be learned.
Everything seems to be in order.
The diversity of culture is somewhat lacking.
I liked the textbook, had fun and enjoyed the review! I think students will like it.
The text covered most expected areas that would be in an introduction to psychology text, however there was no chapter devoted to the field of industrial/organizational psychology nor an introduction to essential statistical knowledge and less... read more
The text covered most expected areas that would be in an introduction to psychology text, however there was no chapter devoted to the field of industrial/organizational psychology nor an introduction to essential statistical knowledge and less depth regarding others topics (i.e., language and intelligence combined into one chapter). In-depth information for each topic was provided and each chapter included questions that would facilitate active learning.
Information provided was generally accurate however I took issue with the overuse of the word “psychologist” in a particular chapter in that the term was applied to non-psycholoigsts. The consistent reference to research and scientific literature was helpful and would allow students understand the importance of scientific inquiry in the field. I felt that more citations were needed throughout though, given the attempt of the author to reinforce the importance of scientific literature, particularly for highly charged information (i.e., racial differences in IQ, rates of sexual minorities in the US population). In particular, an unusually low statistic of LGBTQ individuals was provided at one point and it was unclear where this information was drawn from.
Text was published in 2010 and the most recent citations are from 2011. The text did discuss temporally relevant examples such as current TV shows which would likely draw students in. I also appreciated the helpful information about how to evaluate websites which is quite relevant given that students increasingly use and will use the internet to find information. However, this text references to outdated DSM and therefor much information (particularly related to the five axis system of diagnosis and that related to autism spectrum disorder) is outdated.
Text was written at an appropriate reading level of college students and avoided the overuse of technical jargon. The writing style and reading level of this text would be accessible to most first year college students.
The text was consistent in its presentation of information regarding formatting, depth, and use of real life and research related examples.
Text was broken up into easily readable sections. Also, chapters are an appropriate length and are broken into reasonable length modules.
The text was missing a table of contents and index (in the PDF version) which made it difficult to quickly review the flow of the book or where to find information. The broad based introductions to chapters were inviting and provided an easy way to ease into a new topic area. Information flowed logically regarding the order of the topics across chapters.
Sometimes key words were italicized and sometimes phrases were - text would have benefited from a consistent use of bolding to emphasize key terms. Some tables were somewhat lackluster whereas some were more engaging (i.e., different colors). Some figure headings were not close to the actual figure in the PDF version. Pictures would have made the text more engaging. There was also a missing figure at one point. There were references to video clips however it's unclear how to access them through the PDF version.
I found minimal grammar errors however, there were several typos (i.e., existence of unneeded text, missing spaces).
My largest critique of this text is in reference to the male and Euro-centric approach the material. This is seen through examples used and pictures (i.e., figures predominantly presented images of white, male bodies). There was very little discussion of the importance of oppression, discrimination, power, and privilege related to human behavior and research. There was little to no discussion of the historical impacts of psychologists of color or women psychologists. LGBTQ individuals were referred to as "homosexuals" which is outdated and offensive to many. This text would greatly benefit from more diversity in cultural examples and discussion of how human behavior is impacted by cultural identities.
I agree with other reviewers that while the book is concise and provides a good introduction to different domains of psychology the breadth and depth of discussion on certain topics (i.e. motivation) is lacking. I am a developmental psychologist... read more
I agree with other reviewers that while the book is concise and provides a good introduction to different domains of psychology the breadth and depth of discussion on certain topics (i.e. motivation) is lacking. I am a developmental psychologist in training and will therefore focus my comments on Chapter Six (Growing and Developing). In this chapter, the author provides a review of classic theories in developmental psychology (e.g. behaviorism, psychodynamic, Piaget's cognitive development) but fails to adress some of the more modern theories (e.g. Bronfenbrenner's bioecological model). The discussion of Vygtosky's sociohistorical theory also lacks depth. I feel that an inclusion of current criticisms (e.g. most pariticipants in developmental research are White) and progress in the field of development psychology (e.g. multidisciplinary in nature) helps to challenge students to go beyond the basic knowledge and think critically about issues in psychology.
The content is accurate and for the most part unbiased. However, as mentioned previously, the failure to include examples from a diverse cultural context and/or to use only examples from one particular cultural context can be misleading.
For the book to be relevant, examples must be up-to-date and meaningful to students. I find the many examples in this book interesting but from students' point of view, the examples may not be as appealing. For example, there are few examples of relevant issues such as the use of mobile devices or social media throughout the chapters. However, for instructors who adopt the book, I do see the updates relatively easy and straightforward to implement.
The written text is lucid and easy to understand. The flow from paragraph to paragraph is clear and intuitive.
The text is internally consistent.
The book is well organized and does not overwhelm the readers with enormous blocks of text. The key takeaways are useful for students to review important concepts in each section. The exercises and critical thinking are to some extent helpful to build on the concepts learned. I also like some of the opening vignette (e.g. the case of PTSD in Chapter 7). However, I also agree with other reviewers that the modularity lacks transition between chapters and can send the unintended message that the different disciplines in psychology are compartmentalized instead of intertwined.
The chapters are well organized. Depending on the discipline of the instructor who adopts the text, the order of the textbook can be moved around. The graphs, images, diagrams, and illustrations are helpful to clarify difficult concepts (e.g. IV and DV; assimilation vs. accommodation). Although the video clips are classics in any introduction to psychology courses and the inclusion of them a bonus, more recent video clips should be incorporated to improve the engagment of students.
Other than some minor inconsistencies in font size with printed PDF version of the text, the text is easy to navigate and features are helpful.
No grammatical errors.
The examples provided throughout the chapters are not culturally diverse and are therefore limited in their applicability. As previously mentioned, the introduction to Vygotsky's theory in Chapter Six (Growing and Developing) is brief and does not include a discussion on the cultural component of human development. The lack of emphasis on the cultural nature of human development is problematic especially in the United States when ethnic diversity is on the rise.
In the author’s preface, he states that the typical length of introductory psychology textbooks serves as a detriment to student learning. Consistent with his concern, his text is not as comprehensive as others I have used to teach introductory... read more
In the author’s preface, he states that the typical length of introductory psychology textbooks serves as a detriment to student learning. Consistent with his concern, his text is not as comprehensive as others I have used to teach introductory psychology. Whereas a typical text in this area might include 16 to 18 chapters, his text has only 14 – specifically, it is missing a separate chapter on Stress, Health, and Coping (stress receives some coverage in Ch. 10 but other topics in that chapter on Emotion and Motivation are not covered as a result). Many of his chapters are also shorter in length and contain less content than the texts I would typically use. Some of the chapters combine topics (e.g., Ch. 9 - Intelligence and Language) that are often treated in separate chapters in other texts. I suspect that this text may have initially been designed for use in an American one-semester introduction to psychology course. In BC, introductory psychology is offered across two semesters, often as two separate courses (e.g., Psych 101 and Psych 102). Some missing topics include an introduction to inferential statistics (Ch. 2), an in-depth discussion of the application of psychological principles to the workforce, achievement motivation (Ch. 10), etc. The text contains a Table of Contents but no Index. Although the author states (in the Preface) that the text contains a marginal glossary of key terms, I could not find such a glossary. However, when I hover my cursor over a key term, a box with the key term’s definition pops up.
For the most part, I found the content to be accurate, error-free, and unbiased. However, I took issue with Stangor's initial presentation of the “Science” of psychology (in Chapter 1). I found his use of Dr. Phil as an example of a psychologist to be misleading. Such an example seems to contradict the author’s stated pedagogy of emphasizing psychology’s empiricism and seems to feed student misconceptions about what psychology is. He also seems to mention Freud a lot (end of section 1.1, Ch. 5) – again, not a good example of the empirical aspect of psychology. Although Stangor presents criticisms of Freud’s Psychodynamic theory in Chapter 11, he still overemphasizes this theory’s contribution to the field and glosses over the major concern of lack of falsifiability. Also, PTSD seems to be over-represented in terms of problem behaviours (two of 12 chapter openers describe cases related to PTSD; PTSD is discussed in four chapters - 7,10, 12, and 13).
Some of the content of this text is out-of-date. For example, in section 1.2, Stangor refers to APS as the American Psychological Society, as opposed to the Association of Psychological Science. The discussion on the DSM (and associated Figure 12.6, and Table 12.3) needs to be updated to the DSM-V (see also criteria for ADHD in box at beginning of Chapter 13). Also, whenever Stangor discusses the influence of nature and nurture, he tends to pit them against each other – the old “nature versus nurture” jargon (see Chapter 11 on Personality - is personality more nature or nurture?; Chapter 9 on Intelligence – is intelligence nature or nurture? ). A more contemporary viewpoint is “nature through nurture” which would be exemplified by the inclusion of a discussion on epigenetics. The text presents some recent research in the area of neuroscience – but it needs more, otherwise it risks becoming obsolete in the next few years. The text would also benefit from the inclusion of more research on the impact of technology on student behaviour (e.g., how/ why does the use of cell phones impact our driving?; are our personalities evident in our online spaces , like facebook?). If we want to show students why psychology matters, we need to present more research that is personally and contextually relevant to them (e.g., how does stress impact today’s students?). Although I appreciated the attempt to insert appropriate videos and images, I found this book’s screen display to be very text heavy and not very engaging. I currently use ebooks to teach my hybrid introductory psychology classes and I think the images used in those books are superior to Stangor’s – the images occur more frequently throughout the text, and they are more colourful and in many cases, more relevant to the student lifestyle. Also, the ebooks I use tend to be more interactive – students can actually complete an exercise on a particular concept right after they have read about it by clicking on an icon in the ebook.
The text is well-written and easy to understand. Adequate context is provided when introducing new psychological concepts and explaining them. One exception is in the box on emotional intelligence at the end of section 9.1. The terms reliability and construct validity are used without being previously discussed or defined. They are defined later in Chapter 11.
The text is mostly internally consistent. Each chapter (with the exception of Chapters 1 and 2) begins with a “chapter opener” that describes an interesting case study. Learning objectives are presented at the beginning of each section of a chapter (alth
This text could easily be subdivided into smaller reading sections – instructors could assign particular sections within a chapter. Chapters could be assigned in any order to accommodate introductory psychology courses which are typically offered as two courses. However, I think this modularity comes at a price. Psychology is a discipline where there are recurring themes. I find the lack of delineated connection between chapters disconcerting.
The topics are presented in a logical, clear fashion. The one exception is the inclusion of a discussion of social dilemmas at the end of Chapter 7 on Learning. This discussion doesn’t really fit with the rest of the chapter; a clear explanation of how/ why it fits into this chapter is missing.
The full reference for each citation in the text seems to be embedded in the body of the text throughout the whole book. I am not sure if this was some glitch in the formatting of the version of the text I downloaded but it was exceedingly disruptive to the flow of reading. I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out where the next sentence began after the reference! Also the font in a number of the Figures is too small to read (for example, Fig. 1.5, 2.2, 3.17, 4.29, 5.9, 9.4, 10.4, 10.6, 10.8, 13.7, 14.9, 14.13, 14.15). There is an issue with the formatting of Table 5.1 (the latter part of the table is cut-off).
The text contained few grammatical errors - I think I only found two typos!
The text is fairly ethnocentric. It does not include any introduction to or discussion of the differences between individualistic and collectivist cultures. Although the author provides some research on ethnic and cultural differences (e.g., discussion of stereotype threat and ethnic differences on IQ test performance in Chapter 9, etc.), I think it would benefit from the inclusion of more research findings on cultural diversity, especially given the multicultural composition of our Canadian post-secondary institutions. The following are some examples of where the discussion of cultural differences could be expanded: i) How do cultural perceptions influence the onset and prognosis of psychological disorders? (Chapter 12) ii) In Chapter 9, the author states that “Intelligence is defined by the culture in which it exists,” but there is no elaborative discussion on the meaning of intelligence in collectivist cultures. iii) At the end of Section 11.1, the author states that “there is evidence that the Big Five factors are not exactly the same across all cultures” but he doesn’t elaborate on these differences. Such a statement seems to contradict an earlier observation that “Big Five dimensions seem to be cross-cultural, because the same five factors have been identified in participants in China, Japan, Italy, Hungary, Turkey, and many other countries.” iv) Chapter 10 would benefit from the inclusion of a discussion on cross-cultural differences in the perception and expression of emotion, as well as cross-cultural differences/ similarities in happiness. For example, many argue that happiness is only important in societies that emphasize individualism. v) Likewise, Chapter 13 would benefit from an inclusion of the effect of culture on treatment outcomes. vi) Research presented on causal attributions in Chapter 14 is only true for individuals in individualistic cultures. What type of self-serving attributions do people from collectivist cultures make? What does cross-cultural research reveal about the fundamental attribution error?
This text is very American in content. No Canadian reviewers are listed. All American statistics would need to be replaced with Canadian ones (e.g., Table 12.1, Figure 13.2, etc.). Specifically, the section on ethics in Chapter 1 would need to be revised to be consistent with Canadian policies. The discussion of Bilingualism and Cognitive Development in Chapter 9 needs to be modified to include the Canadian example of French Immersion. The case at the beginning of Chapter 11 could be replaced with a Canadian twin example - there are many to choose from. Also, it would be nice to include some examples from our Aboriginal culture. This review originated in the BC Open Textbook Collection and is licensed under CC BY-ND.
When conducting this review I compared this text to four other introductory textbooks (Gerrig, Zimbardo, Desmarais, & Ivanco, 2010; Myers, 2013; Passer, Smith, Atkinson, Mitchell, & Muir, 2011; Schacter, Gilbert, & Wegner,2013). The... read more
When conducting this review I compared this text to four other introductory textbooks (Gerrig, Zimbardo, Desmarais, & Ivanco, 2010; Myers, 2013; Passer, Smith, Atkinson, Mitchell, & Muir, 2011; Schacter, Gilbert, & Wegner,2013). The Preface and Approach and Pedagogy sections of this text do a good job of declaring the focus on both human behaviour and empiricism and how this focus limits coverage of topics found in many other introductory textbooks. Limited coverage reduces number of chapters and chapter size. For example, it is customary to find an overview of all perspectives of psychology within the first chapter or two (ie. as in Myers, 2013; Passer, Smith, Atkinson, Mitchell, & Muir, 2011). Stangor provides a table (Table 1.3) of different areas of psychology in Chapter One, but does not review humanistic psychology, the biological/neuroscience perspective, and/or Gestalt Psychology as one might expect. Although humanistic psychology is covered in Chapter 11(Personality) on page 631 it comes much later in the text and is discussed in terms of personality theory development. Although Stangor on p. 23 in Chapter 1 comments on the growing number of women in psychology, he does not highlight historical contributions of women and other cultures (i.e., Margaret Washburn, Maime Phipps Clark) to the field of psychology. Similarly, in Chapter Six (Growing and Developing) there is less focus on gender development, aging well, and later adult development with no reference to systems theory/bioecological theory in development (i.e. Bronfenbrenner, 2004) (i.e., Gerrig, Zimbardo, Desmarais, & Ivanco, 2010). Generally, Stangor's text has limited coverage of health psychology, stress and well-being, motivation & achievement, and Canadian researchers. There is also limited discussion of cultural differences and similarities regarding topics and research throughout the text. On-line versions of the text as noted here http://www.saylor.org/courses/psych101/ have a nicely laid out Table of Contents, the printed version or pdf version does not. Including this in the printed copy would be helpful to students in order to navigate the material. Similarly, chapter summaries that include a list of key terms covered within a chapter have been very helpful to introductory psychology students. The insertion of key terms at the end of a chapter along with an addition of a glossary for terminology would make this text more accessible and easy to navigate.
The inclusion of video clips on concepts, research, and applicable stories enables students to see psychology as they read through each chapter online. This is an advantage over commercial texts; however, these links are not always easily accessible via the pdf, WORD, downloaded versions. The HTML zip file did have these links. Although this text has a moderate number of basic images to illustrate concepts throughout each chapter, these could be updated and increased in number to keep students engaged with the material. Many other commercial introductory texts have more realistic and colourful images to depict concepts throughout each chapter. For example, Chapter 7 (Learning) has four images including charts and graphs while other commercial introductory texts have 30 or more images on learning (i.e., Myers, 2013; Passer et al., 2011). Addition of pictures of researchers would also highlight the people contributing to psychological science. I noted some issues with image consistency within a chapter. For example, in Figure 3.6 – Cross-section of the brain is not very clear with the green space indicating the frontal lobe being very small. However, in Figure 3.10 frontal lobe location is more clear and consistent with other texts.
The lack of information on certain topics, such as epigenetics, gender development, work/achievement motivation, cultural perspectives in combination with the static vs. active phrasing of definitions can, at times, date this text. Stangor’s definition of learning “the relatively permanent change in knowledge or behaviour that is the result of experience” (p. 348) is static when according to the definition offered by Myers (2013, p. 266) “the process of acquiring new and relatively enduring information or behaviours”. The active/present tense phrasing of this definition, in my opinion, is more dynamic. Given the Houston Community College (2011)example of editing this text, updating this version by adding sections is possible.
The text is clear and easy to understand. For the topics covered, they are well explained.
The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework. Stangor indicates in the Preface that each chapter has a "chapter opener" (p.8). This is not the case and I would add this feature to Chapters 1 and 2.
The modularity of this text lends itself well to updates and edits.
Generally, Chapters 1 through 10 flow well. My preference would be to move the social psychology chapter (Stangor’s Chapter 14) to follow the personality chapter (Stangor Chapter 11), rather than having social psychology last in this text.
Although it is helpful to see italicized words in the body of the text, bolded words draw student’s attention to the importance of these concepts. Adding a bolded type face along with a list at the end of the chapter would be helpful to introductory students. In the hard copy and downloaded pfd/Word copies I noted many that the Psychology in Everyday Life sections were written in a smaller font and subsequently not as easy to read. As noted in previously, not all video links worked when reviewing the text online – if information was provided about the source in the text it was easy to look this up and review these clips. As well, this online resource could have more interactive online exercises for students throughout the text. As noted in previous answers, diagrams and figures could be improved to provide more realistic images of biological components of psychology (i.e., the neuron, brain, synapse).
Grammatical errors did not stand out as I read for content, organization, consistency et cetera. I did note spacing issues between words a few times in the text. For example, on page 30 on my hardcopy and WORD document/pdf downloaded copies the words “ofevolutionary” required a space between the words, p. 310 “usinglongitudinal” and on p. 657 “Thesocial”. These spacing issues between words seemed to be in the pdf, WORD and hard copies. Perhaps this comment is better suited in the interface answer.
For me, the text is culturally dated (ethnocentric) based on what is not discussed and some of the examples used in the text. Of the 12 chapters that have Chapter Openers, only 3 of these used examples from outside the United States. The other examples were from Canada and Australia. Highlighting research from psychologists in different countries and cultures would add to this text as would more discussion on cultural as context for behaviour. For example, Chapter 11, does not discuss in detail how collectivist cultures differ on personality research versus more individualistic cultures. Chapter 14 on group behaviour does not address how culture mediates group behaviour as discussed in many other commercial texts (i.e. Myers 2013, Gerrig et al, 2010). Today's students in British Columbia are from all over the world and I think this text could do a much better job of including cultural perspectives and examples within each chapter. Although Stangor mentions the importance of culture in Chapters, he does not extend the discussions on how & why culture is important to psychology theory and research. For example, in Chapter 12 - the social cultural influences provided are socioeconomic status, homelessness, abuse, and discrimination are all culturally specific. There is limited discussion on disorders unique to different cultures (i.e., phobias), disorders more predominantly found in certain cultures et cetera. The focus is on the American population. Commercial texts often cover the cultural variations in disorders (i.e. Gerrig et al, 2010). Based on the review I would recommend changing the White Ghost story in Chapter 1 and supplementing Canadian and more International examples in the Chapter Openers.
I believe it is important to provide an overview of all the major psychological perspectives in the first chapter or two. I would add those sections/content noted in answer to question 1 and 3 of this review. In particular additional content on student/worker motivation, health psychology and stress incorporating student examples would be useful. As noted in question 11 highlighting Canadian researchers Canadian researchers on topics discussed in text. As well, I think it would be helpful to create a student guide to the text as did Houston Community College (2011)or add student glossary, index of terms to the text. As well, the chapter summaries require more active reviews - such as multiple choice question review or something similar that has answers somewhere in the text or online where students can check their understanding of material. This review originated in the BC Open Textbook Collection and is licensed under CC BY-ND.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: Introducing Psychology
- Chapter 2: Psychological Science
- Chapter 3: Brains, Bodies, and Behavior
- Chapter 4: Sensing and Perceiving
- Chapter 5: States of Consciousness
- Chapter 6: Growing and Developing
- Chapter 7: Learning
- Chapter 8: Remembering and Judging
- Chapter 9: Intelligence and Language
- Chapter 10: Emotions and Motivations
- Chapter 11: Personality
- Chapter 12: Defining Psychological Disorders
- Chapter 13: Treating Psychological Disorders
- Chapter 14: Psychology in Our Social Lives
About the Book
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.
This book is designed to facilitate these learning outcomes, and he has used three techniques to help focus students on behavior:
Chapter Openers: Each chapter opens showcasing an interesting real world example of people who dealing with behavioral questions and who can use psychology to help them answer them. The opener is designed to draw the student into the chapter and create an interesting in learning about the topic.
Psychology in Everyday Life: Each chapter contains one or two features designed to link the principles from the chapter to real-world applications in business, environment, health, law, learning, and other relevant domains. For instance, the application in Chapter 7 on Development, ”What makes good parents“ applies the concepts of parenting styles in a mini-handbook about parenting, and the application in Chapter 3 is about the difficulties that left-handed people face performing everyday tasks in a right-handed world.
Research Foci: Introduction to Psychology emphasizes empiricism throughout, but without making it a distraction from the main story line. Each chapter presents two close-ups on research — well articulated and specific examples of research within the content area, each including a summary of the hypotheses, methods, results, and interpretations. This feature provides a continuous thread that reminds students of the importance of empirical research. The research foci also emphasize the fact that findings are not always predictable ahead of time (dispelling the myth of hindsight bias), and also help students understand how research really works. The author's focus on behavior and empiricism has produced, Introduction to Psychology, a text that is better organized, has fewer chapters, and is somewhat shorter than many of the leading books. Now, you don't have to believe us. Check the book out online or order your desk copy today.