Forty Studies That Changed Psychology: Explorations into the History of Psycholo
For over 20 years this book has been a mainstay for many college and high school courses around the world and has been translated into six languages. The majority of the studies included in this edition are the same ones that made up a large part of the first edition. This demonstrates how these landmark studies continue today to exert their influence over psychological thought and research. These original studies and the ones that have been added or changed over the years provide a fascinating glimpse into the birth and growth of the science of psychology, and into the insights we have acquired trying to unravel the complexities of human nature.
Many studies of human behavior have made remarkable and lasting impacts on the various disciplines that comprise the vast field of psychology. The findings generated from this research have changed our knowledge of human behavior, and they have set the stage for countless subsequent projects and research programs. Even when the results of some of these pivotal studies have later been drawn into controversy and question, their effect and influence in a historical context never diminish. They continue to be cited in new articles; they continue to be the topic of academic discussion, they continue to form the foundation for hundreds of textbook chapters, and they continue to hold a special place in the minds of psychologists.
The concept for this book originated from my three decades of teaching psychology. Most psychology textbooks are based on key studies that have shaped the science of psychology over its relatively brief history. Textbooks, however, seldom give the original, core studies the attention they richly deserve. The original research processes and findings often are summarized and diluted to the point that little of the life and excitement of the discoveries remain. Sometimes, research results are reported in ways that may even mislead the reader about the study’s real impact and influence about what we know and how we know it. This is in no way a criticism of the textbook writers who work under length constraints and must make many difficult choices about what gets included and in how much detail. The situation is, however, unfortunate because the foundation of all of modern psychology is scientific research, and through over a century of ingenious and elegant studies, our knowledge and understanding of human behavior have been expanded and refined to the advanced level of sophistication that exists today.’
This book is an attempt to fill the gap between all those psychology textbooks and the research that made them possible. It is a journey through the headline history of psychology. My hope is that the way the 40 chosen studies are presented will bring every one of them back to life so that you can experience them for yourself. This book is intended for anyone, in any course, who wishes a greater understanding of the true roots of psychology.
CHOOSING THE STUDIES
The studies included in this book have been carefully chosen from those found in psychology texts and journals and from those suggested by leading authorities in the many branches of psychology. As the studies were selected, 40 seemed to be a realistic number both from a historical point of view and in terms of length. The studies chosen are arguably among the most famous, the most important, or the most influential in the history of psychology. I use the word arguably because many who read this book may wish to dispute some of the choices. One thing is sure: No single list of 40 studies would satisfy everyone. However, the studies included here stirred up a great deal of controversy when they were published, sparked the most subsequent related research, opened new fields of psychological exploration, changed dramatically our knowledge of human behavior, and continue to be cited frequently. These studies are organized by chapter according to the major psychology branches into which they best fit: The Biological Basis of Human Behavior; Consciousness and the Senses; Conditioning and Learning; Cognition, Memory, and Intelligence; Changes over the Human Lifespan; Motivation and Emotion; Personality; Psychological Disorders; Therapy; and Human Interaction and Social Behavior.
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