The “Ins and Outs” of Experimental Psychology

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Abstract

Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1978, Vol 23(11), 820–821. Reviews the book, Experimental Psychology: Theory and Practice by Philip J. Dunham (1977). This book seeks to give the reader an understanding of the procedures used and the information gained in attempting to apply the scientific method to the study of behavior. The organization scheme is straight-forward: Four chapters in Part 1 cover scientific method, basic experimental techniques, control procedures, design principles, and theory construction. Next, major issues, experiments, and theories in learning, motivation, and perception–from both behavioral and physiological perspectives–are addressed in the final eight chapters (Part 2). Separate treatment is given to animal and human research in learning and motivation. Two minor flaws should be mentioned. There is a lack of references to more recent research; few post-1974 studies are included in the content-related chapters. Finally, the absence of chapter summaries and a glossary of terms is not in the students' best interest; both are helpful in consolidating information and reviewing large amounts of seemingly isolated material. Neverthless, it is more readable and scholarly than most competitors in the method content market. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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