By the time this 7th edition of Psychology: The Science of Mind and Behaviour is published, it will be 28 years since the first edition appeared (and 30 years since the contract for that first edition was signed!). Needless to say, much has changed within Psychology’ in that time, and yet some of the basic questions that researchers have been exploring — and philosophers before them – are still being asked.
Despite the advent of e-books and the evolution of electronic media in general, the task of the textbook author has remained essentially the same. Something that you, as a student having to write essays, seminar papers, and dissertations, and I, as a textbook author, have in common, is the challenge of deciding what is best to include and exclude within what are always finite resources — time, money, words, and so on.
Users of this book are (mainly) students new to Psychology, who need to know something of its past in order to appreciate w’here it is now – and where it might be going in the future. In order to make room for discussion of recent developments, I have continued what was started in the 6th edition, namely, to reduce the amount of detail when describing the older (but never redundant) material.
Also, I’ve sometimes sign-posted the reader to alternative sources of material, rather than providing a cursory summary’ of a particular stud)’ or theory. One of the features new to the 6th edition, and which has been retained in the 7th, is the ‘Meet the Researcher’ feature. While these haven’t been updated, in all cases their original contributions remain as relevant and informative as they were when they first appeared. As well as providing additional material to what’s covered in the main body of the textbook, what their contributions show is that there’s always a ‘story’ behind a theory or chosen research project. Research doesn’t appear out of nowhere and what particular Psychologists investigate isn’t a random event.
So, every time you read about a particular study, psychological concept or construct, or full-blown theory, remember that behind it are one or more human beings, each with their ‘story’ of how they came to be researching that topic rather than some other area of Psychology.
For the first time in this book, I’ve chosen to refer to the discipline of Psychology (and subdisciplines) with an upper case‘P’.This applies also ‘Psychologists’. When used as an adjective (‘psychological’), or when referring to what Psychologists actually study (various aspects of human and non-human psychology), a lower case ‘p’ is used.This isn’t just a matter of stylistic preference; distinguishing between ‘Psychology’ as a scientific discipline and ‘human psychology’’ as what Psychologists investigate highlights the unique nature of Psychology: it’s where people study themselves as people, using the same human abilities that they’ (often) are investigating. Even more importantly’, what Psychologists tell us about ourselves may actually change us, i.e. our psychology.
Part of the appeal of previous editions was that they’ catered for the needs of students on a wide range of courses, without being written specifically or exclusively for any one group. I hope — and trust — that the same can be said of this 7th edition. As before, please let me know what you think of my efforts (via the publisher) -it’s not just students who need feedback!
PART 1: THE NATURE AND SCOPE OF PSYCHOLOGY
PART 2: THE BIOLOGICAL BASIS OF BEHAVIOUR AND EXPERIENCE
PART 3: COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY
PART 4: SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY
PART 5: DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY
PART 6: INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES
PART 7: ISSUES AND DEBATES