Why have you picked up this book? Maybe you are curious about what psychology involves. Maybe you are already studying psychology and are looking for more information. No, this is not an interrogation! It is exactly this type of curiosity about people's actions that makes psychology what it is – a wideranging and fascinating subject which gives us insight into human behaviour.
I first picked up a book on psychology, in a local library, at the age of 20 with very little idea of what psychology actually was. By the time I had read a couple of chapters I was absolutely hooked. I had learnt many facts, such as why people can be prejudiced, what attracts one person to another and that we have different types of memory. It also exploded quite a few myths about what psychology was. I was drawn in and driven to find out more. I started a psychology degree as a mature student with little idea of what I was to encounter, but in no way was I disappointed.
This book is for anyone who is curious about their own and other people's behaviour. You may be studying psychology at school or university, attending an adult education course, or just interested in what makes us tick. It is intended for you all. You do not need any previous psychology knowledge to understand or enjoy this book. If you are already studying psychology, this book will also help you to look at research papers in journals for the first time. I hope to show you that journal papers are not as inaccessible and frightening as they may first appear!
For whichever reason you chose this book, I hope that you find it informative and stimulating. My goal is to introduce you to psychology by looking at what psychology is, how it is done and reviewing a selection of the topics it covers. It gives a 'taster' of what psychology is as a whole. Chapters 1, 2 and 3 describe what psychology is, the research methods used and how psychologists report their findings. Chapters 4 to 9, each dip into one area of psychology by examining what that area involves and looking at one experiment in depth, using the original research paper. Chapter 10 focuses on the ethics of doing psychological research. The book concludes in chapter 11 by reviewing its contents and providing more information about how to continue learning about psychology and careers in psychology.