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This unique book closes the gap between psychology textbooks and the research that made them possible. Its journey through the “headline history” of psychology presents 40 of the most famous, most influential studies in the history of the science, and subsequent follow-up studies that expanded their findings and relevance. Readers are granted a valuable insider's look at the studies that continue to be cited most frequently, stirred up the most controversy when they were published, sparked the most subsequent related research, opened new fields of psychological exploration, and changed most dramatically man's knowledge of human behavior. Studies examined cover the following areas: biology and human behavior; perception and consciousness; learning and conditioning; intelligence, cognition, and memory; human development; emotion and motivation; personality; psychopathology; psychotherapy; and social psychology. For individuals interested in the evolution of psychological study and its impact on the field.
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Science moves through history along many routes and at many speeds. There are slow times, all too frequently, when it seems to stagnate, making little or no progress. Then there are those exciting, dynamic periods when new discoveries spark waves of dialog, attention, research, and progress. These discoveries quite literally change what we know about how the world works. The history of psychology is no different from the other sciences. There has been psychological research that has had remarkable and lasting effects on the various disciplines that comprise the science we call psychology. The findings generated from these studies have changed our knowledge of human behavior, and they have set the stage for countless subsequent projects and research programs. Even when the results of some of these pivotal studies have later been drawn into controversy and question, their effect and influence in a historical context never diminishes. They continue to be cited in new articles; they continue to be the topic of academic discussion; they continue to form the foundation for textbook chapters; and they continue to hold a special place in the minds of psychologists.
The concept for this book grew out of my many years of teaching psychology. Psychology textbooks are based on those key studies that have shaped the science of psychology over its relatively brief history. Textbooks, however, seldom give the original studies the attention they richly deserve. Usually the research processes are summarized and diluted to the point that little of the life and excitement of the discoveries remain. Sometimes the way the methods and findings are reported can even mislead the reader about the study's true impact and influence. This is in no way a criticism of the textbook writers who work under length constraints and must make many difficult choices as to what gets included and in how much detail. The situation is, however, unfortunate, since the foundation of all of psychology is research, and it is through a century of ingenious and elegant studies that our knowledge and understanding of human behavior have been expanded and refined to the level of sophistication that exists today.
This book is an attempt to fill the rather large gap between the psychology textbooks and the research that made them possible. It is a journey through the headline history of psychology. My hope is that the way the 40 chosen studies are presented will bring them back to life so that you can experience them for yourself. This book is intended for anyone who wishes a greater understanding of the true roots of psychology.
CHOOSING THE STUDIES
The studies included in this book were carefully chosen from those found in psychology texts and journals and from those suggested by leading authorities in psychology's many subfields. The number wasn't planned, but as the studies were selected, 40 seemed to be about right both from a historical point of view and in terms of length. The studies chosen are arguably the most famous, the most important, or the most influential in the history of psychology. I use the word arguably since many who read this book may wish to dispute some of the choices. One thing is sure: There is no single list of 40 studies that would satisfy everyone. However, the studies included here are the ones that continue to be cited most frequently, stirred up the most controversy when they were published, sparked the most subsequent related research, opened new fields of psychological exploration, or changed most dramatically our knowledge of human behavior. These studies are organized according to the subfield into which they best fit, including Biology and Human Behavior; Consciousness; Learning and Conditioning; Intelligence, Cognition, and Memory; Human Development; Emotion and Motivation; Personality; Psychopathology; Psychotherapy; and Social Psychology.
PRESENTING THE STUDIES
A basic format is used consistently throughout the book to promote a clear understanding of each study presented. Each chapter contains:
Often, scientists speak in languages that are not easily understood (even by other scientists!). The primary goal of this book is to make these discoveries meaningful and accessible to the reader, to allow you to experience the excitement and drama of these remarkable and important discoveries. Where possible and appropriate, the studies presented here have been simplified and edited for ease of reading and understanding. However, this has been done in such a way that the meaning and elegance of the work is preserved and the impact of the research is distilled and clarified.
NEW TO THE FOURTH EDITION
This fourth edition of Forty Studies contains many significant and substantive changes and additions including two important new studies and updates in all of the "Recent Applications" sections near the end of each reading, reflecting the numerous citations of each of the 40 studies in articles from professional journals during the three years since the completion of the third edition (1998-2000). The findings of over 60 new studies from those three years are briefly summarized to allow you to experience the ongoing influence of these 40 studies that changed psychology. The new studies are fully referenced at the end of each chapter along with other relevant sources. As you read through them, you will be able to appreciate the breadth and richness of the contributions still being made by the 10 studies that comprise this book.
Over the three years since completing the third edition, I have enjoyed numerous conversations with and received helpful suggestions and counsel from colleagues in many psychology subfields about potential changes in the selection of studies for this new edition. Two research areas that have been expanding in their influence over the past 20 years or so have been central to many of my communications from the field, and, consequently, have been added to this book. Interestingly, both are at the core of opposite sides of the nature-nurture debate.
One of these is an article representing the recent (and current) swing of the philosophical pendulum from the broad focus on environmental influences that dominated psychology for most of the second half of the twentieth century, to a new recognition that inherited; genetic forces appear to play a much stronger role than anyone since Sigmund Freud has contemplated. A great deal of the evidence for this new biological focus has emanated from Drs. Thomas Bouchard and David Lykken's studies of twins at the Minnesota Center for Twin and Adoption Research at the University of Minnesota. An article from 1990, providing an early summary of their surprising findings has been selected for this edition and may be found in the opening section on the biology of human behavior.
The second new study included here is from an historically pivotal body of work by Professor Harry Triandis at the University of Chicago on the influence of culture on human behavior. His work has provided social scientists with a guiding framework in which to place our increasing sensitivity to, and recognition of, the fundamental role cultural forces play in the formation of personality and social behaviors. Triandis, over the past 30 years, has developed and refined his theory suggesting that most human societies fall within one of two basic categories: collectivist cultures and individualistic cultures. It appears that this single, yet complex, theoretical model explains a great deal about how the culture in which you are raised determines, in large measure, who you are. An article from 1988 in which Triandis defined his theory and demonstrated various aspect of the collectivist-individualistic dimension in a series of three studies, has been included in the personality section of the fourth edition.
THE ETHICS OF RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN OR ANIMAL SUBJECTS
Without subjects, scientific research is virtually impossible. In physics, the subjects are subatomic particles; in botany, they are plants; in chemistry, they are the elements of the periodic table; and in psychology, the subjects are people. At times, certain research procedures or behaviors under study do not permit the use of human subjects, so animal subjects are substituted. However, the goal of animal research is to better understand humans, not the animals themselves. In the following pages, you will be reading about research involving both human and animal subjects. Some of the studies may cause you to question the ethics of the researchers in regard to the procedures used with the subjects. Usually, when painful or stressful procedures are part of a study being discussed, the question of ethics will be noted in the chapter. However, since this is such a volatile and topical issue, a brief discussion of the ethical guidelines followed by present-day psychologists is included here in preparation for some of the studies described in this book.
Research with Human Subjects
The American Psychological Association (APA) has issued strict and clear guidelines that researchers must follow when carrying out experiments involving human participants. A portion of the introduction to those guidelines reads as follows:
Psychologists respect the dignity and worth of the individual and strive for
To adhere to those principles, researchers follow certain basic rules for all studies involving human subjects:
In research involving children, parental consent is required and the same ethical guidelines apply.
As you read through the studies included in this book, you may find a few studies that appear to have violated some of these ethical principles. These studies were carried out long before formal ethical guidelines existed and could not be replicated today. The lack of guidelines, however, does not excuse past researchers for abuses. Judgment of those investigators must now be made by each of us individually and we must learn, as psychologists have, from past mistakes.
Research with Animal Subjects
One of the hottest topics of discussion in and outside of the scientific community is the question of the ethics of animal research. Animal-rights groups are growing in number and are becoming increasingly vocal and militant. There is more controversy today over animal subjects than human subjects, probably because animals cannot be protected, as humans can, with informed consent, freedom to withdraw, or debriefing. Additionally, the most radical animal rights activists take the view that all living things are ordered in value by their ability to sense pain. In this conceptualization, animals are eq...
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