Introductory Psychology Textbooks: Suitable for One Semester, or Two?

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1994, Vol 39(2), 143–144. Reviews the books, Psychology: Themes and Variations (2nd ed.) by Wayne Weiten (1992); Psychology by David L. Watson (1992); and Psychology by Lester Sdorow (1990). Weiten's excellent textbook has 16 chapters. With the exception of Chapter 1, each chapter has a Featured Study. This is a capsule summary of an important experiment illustrating the topic of the chapter. Each of the chapters closes with an Application Section and includes several Concept Checks (brief quizzes that test both knowledge and the ability to apply the material in the chapter). Watson's text has 16 chapters and a statistical appendix. The sequence of topics is good, although there are two chapters each devoted to developmental psychology and social psychology. The topics of psychological research and psychology testing are incorporated into other chapters. The text is at a very basic level and might be most attractive to professors at community colleges. Sdorow's text has 18 chapters It could be used for a one- or a two-semester course. The sequence of topics is satisfactory. The best distinctive feature of the text is an emphasis on critical thinking. Each chapter ends with several pages devoted to Thinking About Psychology. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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