The Rough Guide to Psychology, Paperback Book

The Rough Guide to Psychology Paperback

4 out of 5 (6 ratings)


The Rough Guide to Psychology looks at the question psychologists have been asking for over a hundred years - why are we the way we are?

It starts with you, your mind and brain, broadening out to look at your friends and other relationships, then finally on to crowds, mobs and religion.

It explores the latest research relevant to crime, schooling, sport, politics, shopping and health, and what happens when the mind goes wrong, including depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and more unusual conditions.

The Rough Guide to Psychology includes fascinating information on real-life psychology, testing your memory, intelligence, personality and much more, with advice on everything from chat-up lines to developing your creativity.

The Rough Guide to Psychology is your ultimate guide to this fascinating subject.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Rough Guides Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Psychology
  • ISBN: 9781848364608

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Showing 1 - 5 of 6 reviews.

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Review by

Psychology has been a longtime interest and frequent topic of conversation for as long as I can remember, and this book is perfect for anyone with similar interests. It covers a broad range of topics, from your own mind, to interactions with others, the world and then ends with psychological disorders, which we all probably have to one degree or another. The author does a fantastic job of keeping things interesting with quizzes, exercises and a plethora of pictures. This is a superb book for anyone wanting to delve further into the human mind.

Review by
The Rough Guide to Psychology offers a summary of the discipline of human psychology, as that field has traditionally been defined. The text is organized into six sections: (1) Welcome to You (a very brief introduction to the brain, sense organs, memories, decisions, and emotions); (2) You and Me (personal and romantic relationships); (3) Same Difference (personality; intelligence; gender; nature- nurture); (4) All of Us (prejudice and racism; beliefs and morals; crowd behavior; (5) Psychology at Large (psychology as applied to business, crime, politics, money and shopping, school, sports, health); and (6) Psychological Problems (development; depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, therapy). The text is followed by a list of references (books magazines, multimedia, and internet).Although I am quite a fan of Rough Guides, I found this one disappointing. Its coverage of traditional topics is adequate enough, and readers will find much useful information. Nevertheless, in my view the book is too limited in scope and fails to capture the full range of modern psychology. First, the book almost entirely ignores the biological basis for psychological phenomena and behavior. Structure and function of the human brain is alluded to (and very poorly) in five brief pages, and sense organs are given even less attention. We are never told what neurotransmitters are -- and how can one understand brain function and mental illnesses without them? As for functions of neurons and the various types of glial elements, readers will search in vain through text and index. With such information being a staple of any quality introductory psychology course, its absence in this book is most puzzling. Second, the major impact of neuroscience on the field of psychology never figures into this account, nor does the wealth of relevant information that has come from experimental work on brain and neural function. Third, very little information is provided on non-human animals. Nerve cells and nervous systems are nearly universal among animals, and our understanding of how they work and fail to work comes from their study in various key species. Meanwhile, most of the basic features of the human brain are shared with our primate relatives, along with most characteristic human behaviors. Even if one overlooks the important sub-discipline of animal psychology for a limited focus on humans, why would one want to ignore the insights into humans to be gained from comparative and evolutionary approaches? To put these issues in historical perspective: psychology gained autonomy as a field at great cost, by ignoring anatomy, physiology, cell biology, biochemistry, and evolution, and by ignoring the many animals who share functional and structural attributes with humans. Even for his day, Freud was scientifically outmoded, and he and his successors led the field into many a blind alley (remember the Oedipal complex and castration anxiety? Jung's "racial memory" theory? Wilhelm Reich's ridiculous "orgone boxes"?). BF Skinner's behaviorist approach was a step in the right direction, but only a small one, and one that introduced its own problems. Meanwhile, in partial reaction to past sins of racism and sexism, the reigning ideology came to be one in which nurture mattered far more than nature. And so, the physical substrate of behavior became ignored in favor of the "black - box approach," and the questionnaire -- so easy to administer and quantify! -- became a chief tool of research. Most of the studies cited in this guide come from such questionnaires. That a guide to the field in 2011 would so heavily reflect such dubious approaches presumably reflects the parochial training or traditional outlook of its author. Fortunately, there is more to modern psychology, and more to the behavior of humans and other animals, than this this guide would suggest.
Review by

What a terrifically browsable book. From anxiety to sports psychology to IQ to relationships, this book covers all aspects of psychology in a fun, easy to browse manner. The works in each chapter read like articles from Psychology Today or Scientific Amercian Mind and allow you to read straight thru or pick and choose at random. Concise yet informative and current this is a great little book.

Review by

It's always been funny to me how defensive people get when they hear psychological explanations for behavior. Guess we all crave being unique, and don't want our behavior to be so easily explained or worse yet, predicted, by anyone. However what is funny about our cultural skepticism of psychology is that in reality, we would have a hard time finding a bigger skeptic than a research psychologist! They never want to hear your instinctual explanations for behavior - they always want to know EXACTLY how you know something about behavior is true. This book will tell you exactly that - how psychologist know something about behavior is true and/or predictable. Dr. Jarrett presents the research behind the main body of work of psychology. He tells you HOW we know. He begins by describing and defining what a scientific experiment is - really just an expansion on what you learned in preparing your grade school science fair experiment, this time applied to behavior. Are you interested in how psychologists define and measure different types of intelligence? The answer is here. Do you want to know how to "boost your happiness"? The fact and experimentally proven answer is here. Are you interested in what it means to "fall in love" and specifically what happens? Here's the research. Want to know about sexual responses? Yep, it's here too. Some other interesting topics covered are crime, religion, politics (why do you vote the way you do?), shopping (why do you cave in and buy that unneeded item?). 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.

Review by

Why are the decisions we make almost certain to be biased? What is intelligence and can it really be measured accurately? How do extroversion and openness differ as personality traits? Is there any credence to the whole “left brain/right brain” way of predicting a person’s various abilities? Why do men and women process the importance of kissing differently? Why does damage to the brain affect some of our cognitive skills but not others? Why can eyewitness testimony be so unreliable? When does sadness become depression? Is it more important to have the right set of genes or the right set of friends? Naturally, the answers to these questions go a long way to telling us who we are and how we see—and fit into—the world. Such is the realm modern psychology and this book provides the reader with a thorough and engaging overview of the subject. Structured as an extended literature review aimed at the curious layman, Christian Jarrett does an excellent job of synthesizing the last 100 years of so of research across the entire field. As the editor of the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest, he is well qualified for the task and executes it in a very coherent manner.This is thought-provoking and occasionally fascinating stuff, even if most of the topics are covered at a cursory level. The book itself is like a Hop-on/Hop-off bus tour of a new city with an interesting guide. You will see all the main sights quickly, but you will also get enough information to find your way back to the places you want to spend more time exploring. I saw enough of the neurological and linguistic foundations of the subject, but I look forward to thinking about the psychology of personality measurement, crime, business practices and race relations at a deeper level. Other readers are likely to have different preferences but, as Jarrett himself might say, that is just one of the things that make us all different.

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