The Seventh Edition of Wayne Weiten's popular text, PSYCHOLOGY: THEMES AND VARIATIONS, continues to offer students a unique survey of psychology with three distinct goals: to show both the unity and diversity of psychology's subject matter; to illuminate the process of research and its intimate link to application, and to make the text challenging to think about and easy to learn from. Weiten achieves these goals through a number of distinctive features. Integrative themes-including empiricism, theoretical diversity, sociohistorical contexts, multifactorial causation, cultural heritage, heredity and environment, and subjectivity of experience-are woven throughout the text to provide connections among the different areas of research in psychology. A unique end of chapter section, "Reflecting on the Chapter's Themes," ties together the key themes most relevant to each chapter, and shows links across chapter content. The book's dynamic, teaching-oriented illustration program further enhances these themes. Featured Studies, Personal Applications, and Critical Thinking Applications provide students with unprecedented opportunities to see research methods in action, to understand the practical side of psychology, and to develop important critical thinking skills. Weiten reinforces concepts through periodic in-chapter Concept Checks and an end of chapter practice quiz in every chapter. At the same time, he presents topics in a hierarchical manner, giving students handles they can use to prioritize concepts within the chapter.
Psychology’s methods are worth a close look for at least two reasons. First, a better appreciation of the empirical approach will enhance your understanding of the research-based information that you will be reading about in the remainder of this book. Second, familiarity with the logic of the empirical approach should improve your ability to think critically about research. This ability is important because you are exposed to research findings nearly every day. The news media constantly report on studies that yield conclusions about how you should raise your children, improve your health, and enhance your interpersonal relationships. Learning how to evaluate these reports can help you use such information wisely.
What is psychology? Your initial answer to this question is likely to bear little resemblance to the picture of psychology that will emerge as you work your way through this book. I know that when I ambled into my introductory psychology course more than 30 years ago, I had no idea what psychology involved. I was a pre-law/political science major fulfilling a general education requirement with what I thought would be my one and only psychology course. I encountered two things I didn’t expect. The first was to learn that psychology is about a great many things besides abnormal behavior and ways to win friends and influence people. I was surprised to discover that psychology is also about how people are able to perceive color, how hunger is regulated by the brain, whether chimpanzees can use language to communicate, and a multitude of other topics I’d never thought to wonder about. The second thing I didn’t expect was that I would be so completely seduced by the subject. Before long I changed majors and embarked on a career in psychology—a decision I have never regretted.