Up-to-date research and discussion

11th October 1996 at 01:00
PSYCHOLOGY FOR A-LEVEL Edited by Mike Cardwell, Liz Clarke and Claire Meldrum Collins Pounds 16.95.

Written by a panel of authors, all of whom are highly experienced teachers and examiners, Psychology for A-level offers complete coverage of the new Associated Examining Board syllabus. Every chapter is clearly structured to address each sub-area within the main topics. It will be of interest to all involved in studying or teaching this course.

The chapter on social relationships by Paul Humphreys is a comprehensive and up-to-date discussion of the field. It introduces students to the major theories of relationships and a critical evaluation of them in an accessible form. I believe that students will enjoy this chapter which includes a range of activities encouraging them to apply the theories to their own relationships and experiences.

David and Lesley Messer contribute the chapter on atypical development; an area new to the AEB syllabus. The chapter guides the reader carefully through the research, ideas and conclusions in this controversial field. It will be a great help to course tutors who might otherwise have shied away from teaching this topic due to a lack of clearly focused resources.

Although most of the revised content on divided attention and visual attention has been included in most texts for some years, the chapter by Peter Hayes gives students an informative and accessible introduction to the topic. The material on performance deficits is less familiar, but is similarly well covered and easy to follow.

Mike Cardwell writes the section on controversial issues in psychology. The chapter helps introduce students to research and ideas that should stimulate thoughtful discussion in the classroom.

Research methods are covered thoroughly. Graham Davies's contribution is useful because it removes the need for any additional text covering this area. Also, the student is given clear guidance for completing the course work element.

As a course tutor adjusting to the changes in the new syllabus, I believe this book will be valuable. Despite the variety of writers, it is coherent and uniform. The expertise of the authors is apparent in the up-to-date research quoted throughout. There is a much greater emphasis on cultural diversity in human behaviour and cultural biases within psychology than is found in many earlier texts.

Teresa Smyth is head of psychology at Palmers College, Essex

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