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Discovering Psychology: The Science of Mind (MindTap Course List) 4th Edition

Discovering Psychology: The Science of Mind (MindTap Course List) 4th Edition PDF

Author: John T. Cacioppo, Laura Freberg

Publisher: Cengage Learning


Publish Date: February 8, 2021

ISBN-10: 035736323X

Pages: 816

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

These unprecedented times call for an even better under-standing of the mind than ever before. In 2020, our minds have been challenged, stressed, calmed, and stressed again. There is a need, as a society, to better comprehend the heal-ing and connecting power of the mind to keep transforming adversity into an opportunity to grow stronger and healthier to- Urology MEDICINEMEDICINE cally distant yet remain emotionally connected with our friends and family—we also realized that the same situation can feel extremely Pathology friendly or extremely ostracizing—just with the power of our mind and our inner dialogue. The way we interpret a situation may drive our re- Dentistry Parasitology sponse to it—and in turn, our response to a situation may have consequences
for our mental health and well-being. The more we understand the mind, the
more we can adapt and reframe our perspectives on current and future life stressors,
develop evidence-based coping mechanisms, and improve our mental well-being. This textbook offers a rare opportunity to further discover the powerful psychological science of the mind.
In line with our first edition, this fourth edition of Discovering Psychology: The Science of Mind is a textbook that reflects Dr. John Cacioppo’s visionary mission to write a textbook as a bridge to the future. Discovering Psychology: The Science of Mind describes the psychological science of mind as a hub science—a discipline whose work provides foundational material for many other scientific fields and a wide range of applications from eating habits to real-world problem solving. Psycho-logical science is also inherently interdisciplinary, and we wanted to write a textbook that presents psychology not as a series of isolated areas of inquiry, but as an integrated, holistic science of mind. Contemporary psychological science is also a global affair, and we sought to produce a textbook that draws on evidence from diverse samples of healthy participants and patients, as well as studies of animals. These goals and our implementation of them resonated with all of us: both instructors and students using our previous editions. In honor of John, we have stayed true to his mission and have attempted to expand its implementation in this, our fourth edition.
The science of psychology developed in the 20th century as a collection of loosely organized, independent subspecialties. Now, in the second decade of the 21st century, the discipline is mov-ing rapidly toward maturity as an integrative, multidisciplinary science. Not only are psychologists forming rich collaborations with scholars in other fields, from medicine to business to education to law, but we are returning to original conceptions of psychology put forward by thinkers such as William James, who sought a complete understanding of the human mind and was not content to view psychology from narrow, isolated perspectives. We share a mutual excitement about this evolu-tion of psychological science, and we marvel at the speed at which new developments are emerging in the theory, methods, and applications of psychological science. This fourth edition is designed to capture some of the most important developments that have emerged in recent years and to reflect the power of psychological science to help us manage the types of challenges that emerged in 2020.
For many years, the introductory psychology course has served primarily as a jumping-off point for advanced courses in the field, and the textbooks prepared to support the course have reflected this goal. Each chapter in these conventional textbooks provided a capsule of stand-alone informa-tion designed to acquaint students with the terminology and hypotheses of a single psychological perspective. Human behavior is influenced by factors across multiple perspectives, however. We see our introductory textbook as providing a unique opportunity to discuss all of psychology, in one place and at one time. This approach allows us to reflect on the intersections among various perspec-tives as they inform the whole of our understanding of the human mind. Given that most students in our introductory classes will take only this one course in the field, we have a responsibility to provide a comprehen-sive structure that will support their lifelong learning and understanding of human behavior.

Our goal is to engage our students in the fascinating, integrated discipline of psycho-logical science as it exists in the 21st century, and we view the fourth edition of Discovering Psychology: The Science of Mind as another plank in the bridge toward this goal. The structure of the bridge is a traditional chapter organization. The piers on which the bridge rests are the foundational theories of the discipline developed in the late 19th, 20th, and early 21st cen-turies. The steel beams of which the bridge is composed consist of the theories and research painstakingly developed throughout the 20th century until today, and the rivets, trusses, and tie rods that hold the bridge together are integrative themes that have been reinvented in the past decade or so. Finally, the smooth roadbed that transports students across the bridge is a clear, inviting, warm, and lively writing style and visual narrative.
As active instructors in the introductory psychology classroom, we recognize the balance that busy faculty members must find between their preparation for class and their many other duties, especially while navigating an online delivery system. Our intent is to make the transi-tion to a 21st-century textbook as seamless and effortless as possible for faculty and students alike. Our discussions of complex and emerging issues, such as epigenetics, include sufficient information and explanation to provide a sense of mastery. Clear writing, frequent examples, visual narratives, and engaging pedagogy energize students and provide the support needed for success. After completing the course, students will be able to appreciate the distinction between how laypeople and psychologists think about human behavior.
As citizens of the so-called COVID era, community leaders, influencers, and college graduates will need a firm foundation in the understanding of human behavior and critical thinking to cope with stressors and confront successfully the myriad issues of social isolation, health, privacy, free will, human dignity, public policy, and well-being that might face them again in the future. This fourth edition of Discovering Psychology: The Science of Mind is de-signed to provide that foundation.

Our Integrative and Functionalist Approach

Early writings about psychology were integrated and inclusive. Diverse elements of behavior were combined into the whole. William James (1890) cautions us about the risks of missing the big picture by breaking the phenomenon of mind into little pieces. Mental life for James was not an entity that can be “chopped up in bits” (p. 233). Despite the long-lived popularity of his dominant psychology textbook, James did not prevail. Psychology soon split into camps of scholars who viewed behavior and mental life through their own single, narrow perspectives, rarely speaking with those who held different views and producing curricula and textbooks that emphasized the parts rather than the whole. There are good reasons for specialization in science, but introductory psychology provides an opportunity to put these pieces back to-gether. Doing so shows students how much our notions have changed regarding how the mind and behavior work, and how much this understanding can improve their lives.

As psychological science became increasingly siloed in the 20th century, its origins in the late 19th century as a unified whole were forgotten. In 20th-century introductory psychology textbooks, the writings and experiments of Wilhelm Wundt, Edward Titchener, and James are described as the discipline’s prehensile tail, long ago lost and interesting only from a histori-cal perspective. The organization of the study of mind into separate, disconnected chapters not only transformed the topics of psychology into islands without bridges, but actually built barriers to students’ understanding of the connectedness among them. A memory cannot be fully understood from one isolated point of view; only when the social and personality, cogni-tive, biological and evolutionary, developmental, and clinical perspectives are combined can it be thoroughly grasped. James (1890, vol. 1, p. 1) warns us that when mental phenomena are “superficially considered, their variety and complexity is such as to leave a chaotic impression on the observer.” This confusion, unfortunately, is the legacy for many of our students exposed only to outdated textbooks in psychology.

Breaking from the approach of other textbooks, we reflect throughout our text on the integrative influences of the founders in our functionalist approach to the material. We seek not only to describe behavior, but also to answer questions about why a particular behavior occurs. Viewed through this lens, behavior is neither random nor unexplainable, and it shifts into focus when we consider its goals and functions. For example, people do not just experi-ence feelings of loneliness; instead, loneliness acts as a warning signal to remind us of the importance of social connectedness.

Our book is subtitled The Science of Mind, and unlike other contem-porary texts with their occasional references to mind, the word appears in each of the chapter titles, highlighting the scientific study of the nature and behavior of the theoretical construct of the mind. Throughout the book, we emphasize the relationship between rigorous scientific methods and ob-servations, as well as the implications of these observations for competing theories about the structure and operations of the human mind.

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