The Psychology Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained

The Psychology Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained pdfThe Psychology Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained pdf

Among all the sciences, psychology is perhaps the most mysterious to the general public, and the most prone to misconceptions. Even though its language and ideas have infiltrated everyday culture, most people have only a hazy idea of what the subject is about, and what psychologists actually do.

For some, psychology conjures up images of people in white coats, either staffing an institution for mental disorders or conducting laboratory experiments on rats. Others may imagine a man with a middle-European accent psychoanalyzing a patient on a couch or, if film scripts are to be believed, plotting to exercise some form of mind control.

Although these stereotypes are an exaggeration, some truth lies beneath them. It is perhaps the huge range of subjects that fall under the umbrella of psychology (and the bewildering array of terms beginning with the prefix “psych-“) that creates confusion over what psychology entails; psychologists themselves are unlikely to agree on a single definition of the word. “Psychology” comes from the ancient Greek psyche, meaning “soul” or “mind,” and logia, a “study” or “account,” which seems to sum up the broad scope of the subject, but today the word most accurately describes “the science of mind and behavior.”




  •  The four temperaments of personality
  •  There is a reasoning soul in this machine
  •  Dormez!
  • Concepts become forces when they resist one another
  •  Be that self which one truly is Soren Kierkegaard
  • Personality is composed of nature and nurture
  •  The laws of hysteria are universal
  •  A peculiar destruction of the internal connections of the psyche
  •  The beginnings of the mental life date from the beginnings of life
  • We know the meaning of “consciousness” so long as no one asks us to define it
  • Adolescence is a new birth
  • 24 hours after learning something, we forget two-thirds of it
  • The intelligence of an individual is not a fixed quantity
  • The unconscious sees the men behind the curtains


  • The sight of tasty food makes a hungry man’s mouth water
  • Profitless acts are stamped out
  •  Anyone, regardless of their nature, can be trained to be anything
  •  That great God-given maze which is our human world
  • Once a rat has visited our grain sack we can plan on its return
  • Nothing is more natural than for the cat to “love” the rat
  • Learning is just not possible
  • Imprinting cannot be forgotten!
  • Behavior is shaped by positive and negative reinforcement
  • Stop imagining the scene and relax


  •  The unconscious is the true psychical reality / Sigmund Freud
  •  The neurotic carries a feeling of inferiority with him constantly /Alfred Adler
  • The collective unconscious is made up of archetypes / Carl Jung
  • The struggle between the life and death instincts persists throughout life /
    Melanie Klein
  • The tyranny of the “shoulds” / Karen Homey
  • The superego becomes clear only when it confronts the ego with hostility  / Anna Freud
  • Truth can be tolerated only if you discover it yourself  / Fritz Peris
  • It is notoriously inadequate to take an adopted child into one’s home and love him / Donald Winmcott
  • The unconscious is the discourse of the Other / Jacques Lacan
  •  The good life is a process not a state of being / Carl Rogers
  • What a man can be, he must be / Abraham Maslow
  • Suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning / Viktor Frank!
  • One does not become fully human painlessly / RolloMay
  •  Rational beliefs create healthy emotional consequences / Albert Ellis
  • The family is the “factory” where people are made / Virginia Satir
  •  Turn on. tune in, drop out / Timothy Leary
  •  Insight may cause blindness / Paul Watzlawick
  •  Madness need not be all breakdown. It may also be break-through / R.D. Laing
  •  Our history does not determine our destiny / Boris Cyrulmk
  •  Only good people get depressed / Dorothy Rowe
  • Fathers are subject to a rule of silence / Quy Corneau


  • Instinct is a dynamic pattern / Wolfgang Kohler
  • Interruption of a task greatly improves its chances of being remembered / Bluma Zeigamik
  • When a baby bears footsteps, an assembly is excited / Donald Hebb
  •  Knowing is a process not a product / Jerome Bruner
  • A man with conviction is a hard man to change / Leon Fesunger
  •  The magical number 7, plus or minus 2 / George Armitage Miller
  • There’s more to the surface than meets the eye / Aaron Beck
  •  We can listen to only one voice at once / Donald Broadbent
  •  Time’s arrow is bent into a loop / Endel Tblving
  • Perception is externally guided hallucination / Roger N. Shepard
  • We are constantly on the lookout for causal connections / Daniel Kahneman
  • Events and emotion are stored in memory together / Gordon H. Bower
  • Emotions are a runaway train  / Paul Ekman
  • Ecstasy is a step into an alternative reality
  • Happy people are extremely social / Martin Seligman
  • What we believe with all our hearts is not necessarily the truth / Elizabeth Loftus
  • The seven sins of memory / Daniel Schacter
  • One is not one’s thoughts / Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • The fear is that biology will debunk all that we hold sacred / Steven Pinker
  •  Compulsive behavior rituals are attempts to control intrusive thoughts / Paul Salkovskis


  • You cannot understand a system until you try to change it/ Kurt Lewin
  • How strong is the urge toward social conformity? / Solomon Asch
  •  Life is a dramatically enacted thing /  Goffman
  •  The more you see it, the more you like it / Robert Zajonc
  •  Who likes competent women? / Janet Taylor Spenoe
  •  Flashbulb memories are fired by events of high emotionality / Roger Brown
  • The goal is not to advance knowledge, but to be in the know / Seige Moscovici
  • We are, by nature, social beings / William Olasser
  •  We believe people get what they deserve / Melvin Leinei
  • People who do crazy things are not necessarily crazy / Elliot Aronson
  •  People do what they are told to do / Stanley Milgiam
  • What happens when you put good people in an evil place? / Philip Zimbardo
  • Trauma must be understood in terms of the relationship between the individual and society /Ignacio Martin-Baro


  •  The goal of education is to create men and women who are capable of doing new things / Jean Piaget
  • We become ourselves through others / Lev Vygotsky
  • A child is not beholden to any particular parent / Bruno Bettelheim
  • Anything that grows has a ground plan / Erik Erikson
  • Early emotional bonds are an integral part of human nature / John Bowiby
  • Contact comfort is overwhelmingly important / Harry Harlow
  • We prepare children for a life about whose course we know nothing / Frangoise Dolto
  • A sensitive mother creates a secure attachment / Mary Ainsworth
  • Who teaches a child to hate and fear a member of another race? / Kenneth Clark
  • Girls get better grades than boys / Eleanor E. Maccoby
  • Most human behavior is learned through modeling / Albert Bandura
  • Morality develops in six stages / Lawrence Kohlberg
  • The language organ grows like any other body organ / Noam Chomsky
  • Autism is an extreme form of the male brain / Simon Baron-Coben


  • Name as many uses as you can think of for a toothpick / J.P. Ouilford
  •  Did Robinson Crusoe lack personality traits before the advent of Friday? / Gordon Allport
  • General intelligence consists of both fluid and crystallized intelligence / Raymond Cattell
  • There is an association between insanity and genius / Hans J. Eysenck
  •  Three key motivations drive performance / David C. McClelland
  • Emotion is an essentially unconscious process
  • Behavior without environmental cues would be absurdly chaotic /
    Walter Mischel
  • We cannot distinguish the sane from the insane in psychiatric hospitals / David Rosenhan
  • The three faces of Eve / Thigpen & Cleckley

Language: English
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