1st Edition

Psychology in Historical Context
Theories and Debates

ISBN 9781138683853
Published June 26, 2017 by Routledge
364 Pages 29 B/W Illustrations

USD $45.95

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Book Description

Psychology, the study of mind and behaviour, has developed as a unique discipline in its brief history. Whether as it currently takes place, or how it has been conducted over the past 140 years or so since it became recognized as a separate field of study, there has been constant debate on its identity as a science.

Psychology in Historical Context: Theories and Debates examines this debate by tracing the emergence of Psychology from parent disciplines, such as philosophy and physiology, and analyzes key topics such as:

  • the nature of science, itself a much misunderstood human activity often equated with natural science;
  • the nature of the scientific method, and the relationship between data gathering and generalization;
  • the nature of certainty and objectivity, and their relevance to understanding the kind of scientific discipline Psychology is today.

This engaging overview, written by renowned author Richard Gross, is an accessible account of the main conceptual themes and historical developments. Covering the core fields of individual differences, cognitive, social, and developmental psychology, as well as evolutionary and biopsychology, it will enable readers to understand how key ideas and theories have had impacts across a range of topics. This is the only concise textbook to give students a thorough grounding in the major conceptual ideas within the field, as well as the key figures whose ideas have helped to shape it.

Table of Contents

1. Historical perspectives: Psychology as the study of…what?  2. Scientific perspectives: Psychology as the study of…how?  3. Challenging the mainstream: new paradigms for old  4. People as Psychologists: common sense Psychology  5. People as organisms: Biopsychology  6. People as environmentally controlled organisms: Behaviourism  7. People as information processors: Cognitive Psychology  8. Humans as an evolved species: Evolutionary Psychology  9. Individuals as driven by unconscious forces: Psychodynamic Psychology  10. People as self-determining organisms: Humanistic-phenomenological and Positive Psychology  11. People as diverse: group and individual differences  12. People as selves: subjectivity, individuality and social construction of identity  13. People as deviant: psychiatry and the construction of madness

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Richard Gross has been writing Psychology texts for both undergraduate and A-level students for 30 years. He has a particular interest in the philosophical aspects of Psychology, including the nature of the discipline, the free will/determinism debate, and the defining features of personhood.


‘Chapter by chapter Richard Gross illustrates and illuminates the foundations of contemporary psychology - the blind alleys, the insights, and the political and cultural biases that have given rise to where we are today in mainstream academic study.’ – Paul Gardner, School of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of St. Andrews, UK.