Psychology: Themes and Variations 10th Edition
To the student
Welcome to your introductory psychology textbook. In most college courses, students spend more time with their textbooks than with their professors, so it helps if students like their textbooks. Making textbooks likable, however, is a tricky proposition. By its very nature, a textbook must introduce students to many complicated concepts, ideas, and theories. If it doesn’t, it isn’t much of a textbook, and instructors won’t choose to use it. Nevertheless, in writing this book I’ve tried to make it as likable as possible without compromising the academic content that your instructor demands. I’ve especially tried to keep in mind your need for a clear, well-organized presentation that makes the important material stand out and yet is interesting to read. Above all else, I hope you find this book’s content challenging to think about and easy to learn from.
Before you plunge into your first chapter, let me introduce you to the book’s key features. Becoming familiar with how the book works will help you to get more out of it.
You’re about to embark on a journey into a new domain of ideas. Your text includes some important features that are intended to highlight certain aspects of psychology’s landscape.
To help you make sense of a complex and diverse field of study, I introduce seven themes in Chapter 1 that reappear in a number of variations as we move from chapter to chapter. These unifying themes are meant to provoke thought about important issues and to highlight the connections between chapters. They are discussed at the end of each chapter in a section called “Reflecting on the Chapter’s Themes.” Icons for the specific themes covered in a chapter appear in these sections (as well as at the beginning of the chapters) to help make the book’s thematic structure more prominent.
Toward the end of each chapter, you’ll find a Personal Application section that shows how psychology is relevant to everyday life. Some of these sections provide concrete, practical advice that could be helpful to you in your educational endeavors, such as those on improving academic performance, improving everyday memory, and achieving self-control. So, you may want to jump ahead and read some of these Personal Applications early.
Critical Thinking Applications
Each Personal Application is followed by a two-page Critical Thinking Application that teaches and models basic critical thinking skills. I think you will find that these sections are refreshing and interesting. Like the Personal Applications, they are part of the text’s basic content and should be read unless you are told otherwise by your instructor. Although the “facts” of psychology will gradually change after you take this course (thanks to scientific progress), the critical thinking skills modeled in these sections should prove valuable for many years to come.
Students typically come into the introductory psychology course with a variety of misconceptions. To foster a more accurate picture of psychology, each chapter includes three or four Reality Checks, which address common misconceptions related to psychology and provide direct refutations of the misinformation. These Reality Checks are sprinkled throughout the chapters, appearing adjacent to the relevant material. Examples of popular misconceptions that are dispelled include the myth that B. F. Skinner raised his daughter in a Skinner box, which led to her becoming severely disturbed (Chapter 1); the notion that people use only 10% of their brains (Chapter 3); the assumption that people who are color blind see the world in black and white (Chapter 4); and the idea that it is dangerous to awaken someone who is sleepwalking (Chapter 5). This text feature is based on recent research suggesting that explicit repudiations of erroneous ideas reduce students’ misconceptions more effectively than the simple provision of correct information (Kowalski & Taylor, 2009). For the most part, the Reality Checks can be found in the margins of the pages, but they are a critical component of the text’s educational material.
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|March 27, 2019|
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