Texts with a slice of life

Social Psychology - Social Psychology
November 24, 2000

Stephen Franzoi’s Social Psychology is an extremely well - presented and structured text. In addition to excellent coverage of the classics, it contains several commendable features such as incorporating findings from recent developments and research from the evolutionary perspective. The inclusion of self-questionnaires offer students the opportunity to see and experience the questionnaires used in the research they read about. 

"Featured studies" included at the end of each chapter provide examples of real-life applications of research findings and theory. Other features of the text include quotations and the use of critical thinking questions with answers. This text is extremely readable, concisely written and well illustrated with recent examples from media and cultural events.

Robert Baron and Don Byrne's Social Psychology include s several sub-sections, such as a "Cornerstones of social psychology", which outlines classic studies alongside more recent approaches and findings. "Beyond the headlines: As social psychologists see it" focuses on the application of social psychological thinking to media and cultural issues; "Ideas to take with you" describes important concepts in social psychology; and "Social diversity: A critical analysis" considers yet more aspects of the field. Cross-cultural differences and real-life examples of inter-group behaviour are used to illustrate the theoretical points raised throughout the text.

Baron and Byrne describe the connections between different topics at the end of each chapter and refer to recent developments in applying biological research findings to social behaviour. Definitions of key terms are presented throughout each chapter. This text is particularly good at introducing the context and background research in each section.

Both texts could benefit from a broader introduction to research methodologies - in particular, a nod to more discursive approaches would provide a more balanced account of techniques. Overall, both are excellent core textbooks for the undergraduate student and lecturer.
 
Melanie Henderson is lecturer in psychology, University of Sunderland.

Social Psychology: Ninth edition

Author - Robert A. Baron and Don Byrne
ISBN - 0 205 956 2
Publisher - Allyn and Bacon
Pages - 675

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