Second European Edition

by Daniel Schacter, Daniel Gilbert, Daniel Wegner and Bruce Hood

The story of Psychology:
Second European Edition

For each of the authors, something important has been missing from the world of psychology: a textbook written specifically for students. This textbook was conceived to be rigorous and scientific in its approach yet also as engaging as a popular science book.

Talking about psychology from a new perspective

The author team of Psychology: Second European Edition believe psychology is interesting in large part because it offers insights into the errors of human thought and action. Some of these errors are familiar and amusing (why do we forget jokes the moment we’ve heard them?), and others are exceptional and tragic (what causes a pilot to fail to deploy his landing gear on approach?). But all of them cry out for explanation.

Human behaviour is endlessly surprising, and its surprises are what motivate us to understand the psychological complexities that produce them. Why is memory so prone to error, and what can be done to improve it? How can people discriminate against others even when they’re trying hard not to? Psychology offers the possibility of answering such questions from a scientific perspective, and it is this possibility that drew the authors to the field.

Exploring the ‘mindbugs’ approach

Every rambunctious child knows that you can learn how a toy works by breaking it. If you want to understand things so that you can eventually fix them and even build new ones, knowing how they break is invaluable. When things break, we learn about the pieces and processes that normally work together. Breakdown and error are not just about destruction and failure – they are paths to knowledge. Psychology has long followed these paths. The ‘bugs’ of the human mind reveal a great deal about its function, structure and design. For example:
  1. Freud and other pioneers studied psychological disorders not only to alleviate human misery, but because the disordered mind provides a window through which to view normal psychological functioning
  2. the social blunders of people with autism teach us how human beings usually manage to have such seamless interactions
  3. depression teaches us how most people deal so effectively with the losses and heartbreaks of everyday life
These and other examples of ‘mindbugs’ are integrated throughout in chapters throughout the book.

A modern approach to neuroscience

The brain is the basis of all psychological phenomena, and imaging technologies reveal how the brain creates the miracle of the mind. The author team’s decision to integrate neuroscience throughout the book reflects the current direction in which the field of psychology is moving. The brain is no longer just the province of specialists – the widespread use of imaging techniques has allowed a whole generation of researchers who study cognition, development, personality, emotion and social psychology to become excited about the possibility of learning how the brain and the mind are interrelated.

The authors bring this excitement and new knowledge to introductory students through vivid case illustrations, brain images and non-technical explanations.

Written to inspire, teach and respect students' intelligence

An introduction to psychology should focus on what is most important and what is most compelling. It should not be a rehashing of all things psychological. To ensure that Psychology offers the very best of psychological science, the authors formed their own contributing consultants board and expert reviewer panel in areas outside their own expertise. Each chapter has a narrative arc that tells the story of that field of psychology and provides a thematic context that will hook students from the start. In writing Psychology, the author team has made informed choices about the topic coverage, weighing classic studies and current research to produce a contemporary perspective on the field.