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Essential Psychology

Essential Psychology

Fourth Edition
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May 2024 | 792 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Essential Psychology provides a thorough and accessible introduction to the field of psychology. Written by a team of expert authors, this book warmly welcomes you to all the areas covered on British Psychological Society accredited degree courses. 

It includes chapters focused on evolution, memory, thinking and reasoning, motivation and emotion, development, and personality. New to this Fourth Edition are two chapters which focus on racism in psychology and LGBTQ+ psychology. It applies psychological theory to the real world, and includes a wealth of learning features to support your learning, including critical reflections and discussion questions that nurture creative thinking beyond the syllabus. 

This is the ideal introductory textbook for undergraduate students of psychology and those undertaking a Master's conversion course in psychology. 

SECTION A: The Foundations of Modern Psychology: What We Know About Human Beings
James Stiller and Philip Banyard
Chapter 1: Once Upon a Time … The Evolution of Human Behaviour
Sarah Buglass, Lydia Harkin, Peter Macaulay, Luke Vinter, Rosie Daly, and Noor Ali
Chapter 2: How Psychology Became a Science
Phil Banyard and Emeka Okoli
Chapter 3: Psychology, Racism and Coloniality
Mark Andrews and Lucy Justice
Chapter 4: The Replication Crisis
SECTION B: Cognitive Psychology: How We Think and Make Sense of the World
Thom Baguley, Nikolas Pautz, Harriet Smith, Lucy Justice and Duncan Guest
Chapter 5: Memory
Andrew K. Dunn, Paula C. Stacey and Kate Roberts
Chapter 6: An Introduction to Sensation, Perception and Attention
Andrew MacKenzie and Phil Banyard
Chapter 7: Learning
Gary Jones, Georgina Gous, Mark J.T. Sergeant, Antonio Castro and Angharad Williams
Chapter 8: Problem Solving and Reasoning
SECTION C: Biological Psychology: How Our Brains Affect Our Behaviour
Antonio Castro, Gary Jones, Mark J.T. Sergeant and Samuel Jones
Chapter 9: The Human Nervous System: Functional Anatomy
Lucy Webster, Rachel R. Horsley and Christine Norman
Chapter 10: Communication within the Brain
Sebastiano Costa, Joshua Baker, Preethi Premkumar, Pancy Poon and Nikki Stevenson
Chapter 11: Motivation and Emotion
SECTION D: Social Psychology: How We Interact with Each Other
Mhairi Bowe and Juliet Wakefield
Chapter 12: Behaviour within Groups
Juliet Wakefield and Mhairi Bowe
Chapter 13: Behaviour between Groups
Sebastian Teicher and Maria Kontogianni
Chapter 14: Social Judgements and Behaviour
SECTION E: Developmental Psychology: How We Grow and Change
Lucy Betts, James Stiller, Rebecca Larkin, Gareth Williams and Kate Ellis-Davies
Chapter 15: Development during the Early Years
James Stiller, Lucy Betts, Rebecca Larkin, Gareth Williams and Emma Aquadro
Chapter 16: Development during the School Years
Lai-Sang Iao, Matthew K. Belmonte, Gayle Dillon, Andrew Grayson and Susannah Lamb
Chapter 17: Atypical Child Development
Olatz Lopez-Fernandez, Rebecca Stack, Suvo Mitra and Louise A. Brown Nicholls
Chapter 18: Adulthood to Ageing
SECTION F: The Psychology of Individual Differences: How We Know and Measure Our Individuality
David J. Wilde, Nadja Heym, Loren Abell, Glenn A. Williams, and Emanuele Fino
Chapter 19: Personality
Sarah McDonald, Palwinder Athwal-Kooner, Karen Slade and Michael Underwood
Chapter 20: Psychopathology
Mollie Baldwin, Liam Cahill, Sally Evans, Anthony J. Gifford, Bryony Harper, Bethany A. Jones, Mohammad Malik, Daragh T. McDermott, Chase Staras, and Belinda Winder
Chapter 21: LGBTQ+ Psychology
Jill Arnold, Ben Oldfield and Filipa Da Costa Rico Calado
Chapter 22: Self
SECTION G: Applied Psychology: How We Use Psychology
Karen Slade, Palwinder Athwal-Kooner, Sarah McDonald and Simon Scott
Chapter 23: Psychological Interventions
Kristina Newman, Rebecca Stack, Mike Rennoldson, Eva Zysk, Eva Sundin and Preethi Premkumar
Chapter 24: Health Psychology
Rebecca Lievesley, Sebastian Teicher, Lorraine Smith and Ellie Woodward
Chapter 25: Forensic Psychology
Jens Roeser, Clare Wood, and Hannah Phelan
Chapter 26: Language and Literacy


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Instructor resources (log-in required)

Teaching guide: outlines the key learning objectives covered in each chapter and provide you with suggested activities and examples to use in class or for assignments.

Testbanks containing questions related to the key concepts in each chapter can be downloaded and used in class, as homework or exams.

Learning cartridges containing many of the fantastic resources featured on the companion website are available for you to upload into your university’s learning management system, allowing you to easily share the materials you feel are most relevant to your students.

Praise for previous editions

"My favourite core psychology textbook is now even better. It is fresh and contemporary yet mindful of historical and critical issues that continue to shape how psychology is understood and practiced. Nobody embarking on their undergraduate psychology journey could wish for a trustier companion." - Dr Andrew Hart, University of Bradford

"Essential Psychology is the perfect companion for those wishing to develop their understanding of psychology. The material is very clearly laid out and students will find it interesting to read. Each chapter has discussion questions for students to explore and suggestions for further reading." - Frank Carter, Lecturer at South Eastern Regional College - SERC

"I particularly like the active learning approach. The exercises help students to link their own experiences to the topics, providing an excellent framework for class discussions. The definitions of technical language and chapter summaries equip students with the tools to apply theoretical knowledge to everyday situations." - Michele Ponting, Access and Accreditation Manager, Portslade Aldridge Community Academy

"As suggested by the title, this text captures the essential subject areas needed for student studies. I found it easy to read through, as it is written in plain language, without an overload of jargon. I was particularly interested in Chapter 24 on the application to mental health, as this is my specialism." - Neil Robdale, Wrexham Glyndwr University

"This is a very informative and up-to-date textbook. The authors make the complex concepts become a lot easier to digest. This book is great for those who want to grasp fundamental knowledge in the field of contemporary Psychology." - Miss Jaruwan Sakulku, Sirindhorn International Institute of Technology

Praise for previous editions

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