A compact yet detailed introduction to the primary theories of psychology and the history of its development.
A crash course in the top 50 behavioural theories. The inner workings of the mind have long been a source of fascination to doctors, philosophers, and the general public alike. Back in 550 BCE, Thales of Miletus came up with an elaborate theory about how the psyche functioned, and in 600 CE the Chinese scholar Lin Xie is said to have devised the first psychological test. Nowadays, everyone likes to think they know a bit about psychology. We've all heard of Pavlov and his dog. Freud's theories on sexuality provide an excuse for endless cheeky innuendo. And a whole industry has built up around concepts of self-development and stress management. But is it really all that simple?
30-Second Psychology identifies the major strands of thinking in this fascinating field. It examines the theories of 19th-century behaviourism, where every action has a logical explanation, and how psychotherapy sought to undermine this approach. It looks at the development of humanistic psychology in the mid-20th century and the current domination of cognitivism, with its emphasis on mental structures. Along the way, we meet many of the luminaries in the field, including William James, Aaron Beck, and (of course) Sigmund Freud. What better way to get a handle on your inner demons?
Christian Jarrett is a journalist for the British Psychological Society. He has a Ph.D. in Behavioural Neuroscience from UMIST and in 2008 co-authored This Book Has Issues: Adventures in Popular Psychology. He also contributed to 30-Second Theories.
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Self-help & personal development