Lives Illuminate Theories

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1979, Vol 24(2), 104–105. Reviews the book, Masters of Social Psychology: Freud, Mead, Lewin, and Skinner by James A. Schellenberg (see record 1979-07535-000). This small book rests upon a set of reasonable premises about the state of contemporary social psychology and how best to introduce it to the beginning student. A better understanding of contemporary social psychology would have been provided by indicating the major lines of thought of theorists such as Solomon Asch, Fritz Heider, or Leon Festinger, primarily because their very direct influence on ongoing research and theory could readily be demonstrated. In the final two chapters of the book, the positions of the four theoreticians are criticized, contrasted, and compared, and each is cited as the originator of a “school” of psychology that continues strongly to influence current research. For those willing to plunge a bit deeper in attempting to understand the link between major classical theories in social psychology and current research, Deutsch and Krauss's Theories in Social Psychology (1965) covers all of these positions more deeply and critically. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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