By Robert P. Abelson, Kurt P. Frey, Aiden P. Gregg
Experiments With People explores the fascinating subject of social psychology. It showcases 28 intriguing studies that have significantly advanced our understanding of human thought and social behavior. These studies, mostly laboratory experiments, shed light on phenomena that would otherwise remain deeply puzzling-the irrationality of everyday thinking, the cruelty and indifference of `ordinary' people, the operation of the unconscious mind, and the intimate bond between the self and others. In so doing, the book tells the inside story of how social psychological research gets done and why it matters. Each chapter focuses on the details and implications of a single study, but cites related research and real-life examples along the way. An attractive feature of the book is that all its chapters are fully self-contained, allowing them to be read in any order without loss of coherence. An introductory chapter sets the stage by providing a concise exposition of why conducting `experiments with people' is a uniquely powerful means of investigating psychological questions in a truly scientific way. For pedagogical convenience, each chapter is divided into standard subsections: Background-provides the rationale for the study; What They Did-outlines the design and procedure used; What They Found-summarizes the results obtained; So What?-articulates the significance of those results; Afterthoughts-explores the broader issues raised by the study; and Revelation-encapsulates the `take-home message' of each chapter. This paperback is ideal as a main or supplementary text for seminars and courses in social psychology, but could equally serve as a supplementary text for courses in introductory psychology or research design. Written in a lively and conversational style, Experiments With People should also appeal to anyone wishing to learn more about social issues and dynamics, or keen to gain greater insight into themselves or others.