Forty Studies that Changed Psychology: Explorations into the History of Psychological Research

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9780131147294: Forty Studies that Changed Psychology: Explorations into the History of Psychological Research

This unique book closes the gap between psychology books and the research that made them possible. Its journey through the “headline history” of psychology presents 40 of the most famous 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 our knowledge of human behavior. For individuals with an interest in an introduction to psychology.

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Science moves through history along many routes and at many speeds. Slow times occur when the pace of scientific discovery seems to stagnate, making little or no progress. Then those exciting, dynamic periods suddenly burst upon the scientific scene; new breakthroughs spark waves of dialogue, 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 any other science. Many studies of human behavior have made remarkable and lasting impacts on the various disciplines that comprise the science of 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 remains. Sometimes, methods and findings are reported in way that 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 about what gets included and in how much detail. The situation is, however, unfortunate, because the foundation of all of psychology is research, and through a century of ingenious and elegant studies, 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 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, because many who read this book may wish to dispute some of the choices. One thing is sure: No single list of 40 studies 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 major psychology branch 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

You will find that a basic format is used consistently throughout the book to promote a clear understanding of each study presented. Each reading contains:

  1. An exact, readily available reference for where the original study can be found.
  2. A brief introduction summarizing the background in the field leading up to the study and the reasons the researcher carried out the project.
  3. The theoretical propositions or hypotheses on which the research rests.
  4. A detailed account of the experimental design and methods used to carry out the research, including, where appropriate, who the subjects were and how they were recruited; descriptions of any apparatus and materials used; and the actual procedures followed in carrying out the research.
  5. A summary of the results of the study in clear, understandable, nontechnical, nonstatistical, no jargon language.
  6. An interpretation of the meaning of the findings based on the author's own discussion in the original article.
  7. The significance of the study to the field of psychology.
  8. A brief discussion of supportive or contradictory follow-up research findings and subsequent questioning or criticism from others in the field.
  9. A sampling of recent applications and citations of the study in others' articles to demonstrate its continuing influence.
  10. References for additional and updated reading relating to the study.

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 and to allow you to experience the excitement and drama of these remarkable and important discoveries. Where possible and appropriate, I have edited and simplified some of the studies presented here for ease of reading and understanding. However, this has been done carefully, so that the meaning and elegance of the work is preserved and the impact f the research is distilled and clarified.

NEW TO THE FIFTH EDITION

This fifth edition of Forty Studies contains many significant and substantive changes and additions. You will find two important new studies about intelligence and gender. In addition, all the Recent Applications sections near the end of each reading have been updated to reflect the numerous citations of each of the 40 studies during the three years since the completion of the fourth edition (2000-2003). In that brief, three-year time span, the 40 studies discussed in this edition have been cited nearly 3,000 times! A small sampling of those articles are briefly summarized throughout this edition to allow you to experience the ongoing influence of these 40 studies that changed psychology. All newly cited studies are fully referenced at the end of each reading 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 40 studies that comprise this book.

Over the three years since completing the fourth edition, I have continued to enjoy numerous conversations with, and helpful suggestions and counsel from, colleagues in many branches of psychological research about potential changes in the selection of studies for this new edition. Two highly influential studies I have been considering for some time have been mentioned frequently by fellow researchers, so I have included them in this edition. Although they have replaced other studies in previous editions, those studies are still available in their entirety on the Prentice Hall Web site at www.prenhall.com/psychology. Each of these two newly incorporated studies, in their own significant ways, expanded our perceptions of two very basic aspects of human nature, and added to our knowledge of the complexity and diversity of the human experience.

One of the new articles represented a major shift in how we view a basic component of who we are as humans: our gender. Most of you today are familiar with the term androgyny and have at least some sense that it refers to individuals who display both masculine and feminine characteristics, attitudes, and behaviors. What you may not know is that the concept of androgyny was proposed in the early 1970s by Stanford psychologist Sandra Bem. Bem challenged the traditional view of gender that placed male and female at opposite ends of a single scale, thereby creating an "either-or" conceptualization of "healthy" gender identity based on the assumption, "If you are male you should be masculine and if you are female you should be feminine." Bern, however, saw this model as lacking in its ability to describe those people who possess more of a balance of both masculine and feminine traits. She referred to these individuals as androgynous (from "andro" meaning male, and "gyn" referring to female). Moreover, she argued that androgynous people may experience certain psychological advantages due to an enhanced ability to adapt to a greater range of life's situations than those who are either strongly masculine or strongly feminine. Bern's 1974 article, included in this edition, discusses her revolutionary theory and her development of a scale to measure gender on a two-dimensional scale, capable of tapping into masculinity, femininity, and androgyny.

The second new study incorporated into this edition represents a body of work that has transformed how we perceive another fundamental human attribute: our intelligence. Throughout the history of psychology, most social scientists and society in general saw intelligence as a single, general ability of which each of us possesses a different amount. This conceptualization of intelligence has led us to think of some people as "smarter" than others and nurtured the concept of IQ. In the early 1980s, however, Howard Gardner, of Harvard University, proposed that human intelligence is not such a unitary phenomenon, but rather consists of an amalgam of many different, specific sets of abilities, each of which may be interpreted as a "...

Review:

"I do... think that Hock has done a commendable job in this book of not only selecting appropriate studies, but providing this useful educational tool for introductory students... Hock keeps his audience interested and writes very elegantly, and yet, concisely... The idea of the book, which is to expose the novice student to the real story of research behind the introductory 'facts' is not only a worthwhile contribution to any introductory class, but an exemplary attempt to portray a more appropriate depiction of psychology to the naive student. This book is well written, engaging, easy to read, and comprehensive." — Misty Hill, Yale University

"Hock's text brings class discussions to life... Hock's writing style is very engaging. I know this, because my students praise the work, but more so because I also read it with enthusiasm... most good historians tend to be encyclopedic, Hock's casual style is a welcome change." — James A. Schirille, Wake Forest University

"The main strength is that Roger Hock summarizes, with flair and with clarity, some of the most important studies in the history of psychology." — Linda Pierce, Madonna University

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