The Rough Guide to Psychology Paperback – Mar 21 2011
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About the Author
Christian Jarrett is an award-winning journalist for The Psychologist journal, the flagship publication of the British Psychological Society. He has also written for New Scientist magazine and is currently a finalist in the inaugural Research Blogging Awards for Best Psychology Blog and Best Research Twitterer.
Top Customer Reviews
As a high-school student who's interested in being a psychologist, this book is very interesting and sort of gives me an idea of what I'd like to specialise in. Gives you a bit of info of the different types of psychologists.
As well as being extremely interesting, I find everyone who sees me reading this book wants to know where I got it or wants to borrow it from me after I'm done.. So very interesting for people who aren't looking to work in psychology as well, just as the title suggests.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
As a retired psychology professor I highly recommend this book. It is not "pop psych" as you find in some popular books and magazines, but research based, evidence based psychology. This is solid information presented in an easily understood and interesting format.
One of the best things about this book to me is how diverse it is, in that I mean how many ways it can be put to use. For one, it is a great intro text to those thinking about going into psychology, or those who are just interested in the subject. Two, this is the first book that truly explains "why people think and behave the way they do". This is such an enormous question, but the author answers it by covering every topic imaginable to take it on. Lastly, in an odd sort of way, in my opinion this book can be a "self-help" book, but not in the traditional sense that comes to mind. I mean in the sense of enhancing one's meta-cognition. Meta-cognition is "cognition about cognition" or "knowing about knowing". Essentially, it refers to a level of thinking that involves active control over the process of thinking that is used in learning situations. Once you are aware of the vast inner workings of your mind, you become better equipped and prepared to self-regulate when there is a need to. It is said to play an important role in many issues. For example, learning about ADHD is said to be an important component of treatment for ADHD. This is because the individual learns about the many factors that contribute to ADHD (short term memory deficits, attention span, impulsivity, etc.) Once the individual has an in-depth understanding of these factors, they are better prepared to learn cognitive strategies to regulate them and lessen the symptoms. The author covers each topic with so much breadth and meaning that he gives you the meta-cognition tools to better understand and regulate anything should you need to. A simple example in the book is when he discusses how people often lose sleep in a self-perpetuating way as sufferers grow increasingly anxious about their lack of sleep. The author mentions how some research supports worrying about not having enough sleep can be more debilitating than the lack of sleep itself. A study was cited in which researchers tricked insomniac students into thinking they'd had less sleep than they really had. This caused the students to have more negative thoughts, feel more sleepy, and perform more sleep-related monitoring (e.g. sore eyes) even though the actual quality of their sleep was the same on days they were given positive feedback. With this information, you become more aware of those anxious thoughts once you enter the bedroom, and thus in a better position to suppress them. I could go on and on about this book...it's underrated in my opinion.
I use psychological evidence and research in my writing on communication, and I have done so for well over thirty-five years. I subscribe to the magazine PSYCHOLOGY TODAY, and I read it closely every month. It is for these same reasons that I chose to read The Rough Guide to Psychology -- a truly interesting book.
One thing you will note from the title and the spelling of the word "behaviour," is that the book was written by an Englishman -- the editor of the British Psychological Society's Research Digest. Jarrett has a Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience from the University of Manchester's Institute of Science and Technology. This is important for two reasons: 1) It adds credibility to the book and what's written in it. 2) It reveals that the material is likely to be well researched, based on studies, and the evidence (studies) clearly stated. Both are true.
Jarrett states on page vi: "This book contains frequent references to experiments and case studies, and, wherever possible, names and dates are provided to help you track down the original research online." Not only does this reveal an educator's concern about his readers, but, too, it gives a hint about the nature of the book itself.
I took psychology courses in college, and this is not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill textbook. And, at the same time, it is not a book of psychobabble. It is, however, a book designed for the above-average, well-educated, intelligent, and inquisitive adult reader. With the exception of the part on "Resources," there are six: "Welcome to you," "You and me," "Same difference," "All of us, "Psychology at large," and "Psychological problems." I guarantee that there will be a number of sections that you will find that interest you, because his swath of issues and ideas is broad -- and for lay readers, such comprehensiveness is welcomed.
More than the text material itself -- which is interesting, to be sure -- I found the additional sections (colored in blue) some of the most valuable material in the book. Not only are there boxes on some of the leading psychologists (William James, Lev Vygotsky, Alfred Binet, Elizabeth Loftus, and Sigmund Freud, among others), but there are boxes, too, that offer self-help information on "Five ways to boost your brain power," "How to visit the toilet in the dark," "Six evidence-based ways to boost your happiness," "Does brain training really work?," and "Evidence-based seduction," among many, many others.
The layout, coverage of topics, writing (a very informal, comfortable style), examples, and short, pithy sections, make this book incredibly accessible and likable.