Introducing Psychology: A Graphic Guide by Nigel C. Benson takes the most interesting and relevant bits from an Intro to Psychology course and simplifies it, adding some fun graphics to boot.
Explanations are bite-sized, chapters are short and sweet, and it’s a very easy read. The content is easy to follow, and it’s simplified but doesn’t feel dumbed down.
The book begins by defining what psychology actually is. It covers some of the research methods used, and how the field came to be scientific in its approach.
It discusses some of the influential contributors to the field throughout history, including philosophers like René Descartes, who got us talking about nature vs. nurture, and John Locke, who proposed tabula rasa, the notion of being born with a blank slate. It’s stuff you may have heard of before, but I liked the simple overview.
Sex-focused Freud and his psychoanalytic theory make an appearance. The series also includes a book called Freud Wars, which I’ve since read, but that’s coming up in another review.
A wide range of theoretical perspectives are covered, such as learning theory (including behaviourism, classical conditioning, Skinner’s work on reinforcement and punishment, and Bandura’s ideas around imitation and modelling) and humanistic psychology (à la Maslow and Rogers). I’d heard of gestalt psychology, but never actually knew what it was, and the book explains that it’s the idea the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and it also incorporates our tendency to always search for meaning as well as perception and illusions. Again, it’s material you may have heard before, but I appreciated the big picture overview.
It also looks at the key areas of psychology: developmental, social, comparative, and individual differences.
It covered a lot of different topics, but there was nothing overwhelming about it, and there were no frills or unnecessary details. It’s like the Coles Notes/Cliffs Notes version of an intro to psych class.
I thought this book was interesting, informative, and fun. I like the series, and I’ve downloaded a couple more titles. Learning is fun!
Introducing Psychology: A Graphic Guide is available on Amazon (affiliate link). In Canada, at least, it’s available free through Prime Reading (even if you don’t have Kindle Unlimited).
You can find my other reviews on the MH@H book review index or on Goodreads.
6 thoughts on “Book Review: Introducing Psychology: A Graphic Guide”
I have the old edition of this, from years and years ago. They’ve re-released them in recent years in a slightly different format, but I think with the same content.
Part of my brain sees the new cover and thinks “A polar bear and a penguin on the same iceberg?! What crazy Freudian dream does that come from?!”
Haha I hadn’t paid enough attention to the cover to even notice that. I just finished another book in the series that was rocking some ‘90s technology in the illustrations.
Is Jean Piaget in the book? Just curious
Yes indeed, including the stages of cognitive development, schema theory, play theory, and moral theory. It was a lot of territory covered in one little book!
Sounds an interesting book.