DISCOVERING PSYCHOLOGY. Barbara Woods. Hodder Stoughton Pounds 14.99.
Discovering Psychology is a useful textbook for GCSE. It covers all areas of the Midland Examining Group and Northern Examinations and Assessment Board syllabuses.
Explanations of human aggression, the negative effects of overcrowding on humans and animals, and the range of theories on personality differences are well covered.
The chapter on memory clearly outlines theory and explores the applications of the research (can eyewitnesses be made more accurate or students to remember more in exams?) The author describes the structures of the human brain and provides a detailed section on the methods used to investigate its workings.
Other chapters cover methodology and ethical issues and give guidance on carrying out and writing up personal research.
The book is attractively designed with many illustrations, photographs and diagrams. My students have found it accessible and stimulating. Topics are clearly presented and organised; key terms are highlighted and chapter summaries provided.
The only real weakness is the lack of activities to engage the reader with the material.
At almost Pounds 15, Discovering Psychology is fairly expensive, but it gives students the information they need. If you're buying only one textbook, you won't go far wrong in choosing this one.
Teresa Smyth is head of psychology at Palmers College, Grays, Essex