Introduction to Psychology - 1st Canadian Edition

October 16, 2014 | Updated: January 20, 2020
Author: Jennifer Walinga, Royal Roads University, Charles Stangor, University of Maryland

This book is designed to help students organize their thinking about psychology at a conceptual level. The focus on behaviour and empiricism has produced a text that is better organized, has fewer chapters, and is somewhat shorter than many of the leading books. The beginning of each section includes learning objectives; throughout the body of each section are key terms in bold followed by their definitions in italics; key takeaways, and exercises and critical thinking activities end each section.

Subject Areas
Social Sciences, Psychology

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Introduction to Psychology - 1st Canadian Edition by Jennifer Walinga, Royal Roads University, Charles Stangor, University of Maryland is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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Reviews (4) Avg: 4.3 / 5

Adam Baker

Institution:Simon Fraser UniversityTitle/Position: Teacher Assistant and Research AssistantCreative Commons License

Q: The text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and provides an effective index and/or glossary

Considering this textbook is meant for a first year psychology class, it does a reasonable job reviewing the basic of psychology. As I was reviewing this textbook, I was comparing it with two first year psychology textbooks that I used in my undergraduate degree, and in some sections, mainly the basics (CNS, brain structures, etc) this textbook covered them very well.

The one section that I noticed was lacking was the brain imaging, which I believe is quite important. For example, they covered EEG, however they did not explain adequately how it works and what it is used for in detail.

It would add more strength to this text book if they expanded on how these brain imaging machines worked instead of just giving a general description.

The section on perception was quite good and comprehensive.

One aspect that I really enjoyed in this textbook was the "key takeaways" box. I have seen this is a few science textbooks, and student have always reported they were very helpful.

I believe a simple glossary would be a good idea in a textbook of this nature. Or chapter end glossary terms, which you see in many biology textbooks now.

Comprehensiveness Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: Content is accurate, error-free and unbiased

This textbook was very accurate. As mentioned in the previous section, some terms and concepts were not explained well. Mainly brain imaging. I would advise some explanation on how they work.

I could not find substantial errors in this text book. I am not sure if this applies, but some tables were not aligned correctly, making it rather difficult to read (The one on neurotransmitters)

Content Accuracy Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: Content is up-to-date, but not in a way that will quickly make the text obsolete within a short period of time. The text is written and/or arranged in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement

Drug therapies and Reducing Disorder by Changing the Social Situation can be suspect to change quite rapidly with new research coming out.

The majority of this textbook (a general overview of psychology) has not changed in the last decade, and I do not see it changing any time soon.

In fact, looking back to my first psychology text (2004), it was almost identical in the structure and concepts in the textbook.

Relevance Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is written in lucid, accessible prose, and provides adequate context for any jargon/technical terminology used

Since this is a first year textbook, clarity is not particularly an issue. This text book stays well within the limits of clarity.

However, some students may find some terminology difficult. The one issue I have with this text book is the lack of explanation and reenforcement of the terms.

A well defined glossary is a MUST for a first year text book. Also, I find 2 solutions quite helpful.

1) Have key terms highlighted and then provide a brief definition in the margins of the page it is on.

2) Another way is to have a definitions review at the end of the chapter. Essentially it lists the terms that were highlighted in the chapter, in which the student will review with the glossary.

Clarity Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework

Yes, this text book is very consistent. It flowed from the very basics, to more specific concepts in psychology.

Consistency Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within the course (i.e., enormous blocks of text without subheadings should be avoided). The text should not be overly self-referential, and should be easily reorganized and realigned with various subunits of a course without presenting much disruption to the reader.

As I mentioned in section 5 (clarity),

A well defined glossary is a MUST for a first year text book. Also, I find 2 solutions quite helpful.

1) Have key terms highlighted and then provide a brief definition in the margins of the page it is on.

2) Another way is to have a definitions review at the end of the chapter. Essentially it lists the terms that were highlighted in the chapter, in which the student will review with the glossary.

It has great visuals and breaks up the content quite nice, but is not formatted in the best way for a student to review specific concepts.

This text does not have "enormous" blocks of text. Rather, it breaks up content quite well, just not in the most efficient way.

The section on "Psychodynamic Psychology" was a little scattered.

Modularity Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion

Very logical order. In fact, this logical order is consistent with 2 1st year psychology text books I have used, which are quite common.

Organization Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is free of significant interface issues, including navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, and any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader

The bullet points are not aligned in this text when they span over 2 pages. For example, from pages 41 to 42, and also numbered bullets from 42 to 43.

Pages 24 and 335 - The tables that are made for this text are not aligned overly well as you can see by these pages for example. It appears only when the table is made for this text, and not an imported image of a table or box.

The images and other visuals are presented quite well!

Interface Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text contains no grammatical errors

Through my reading, I could not notice any noticeable errors.

Grammar Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. It should make use of examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds

This text does a fantastic job in this area.

There is no insensitive or offensive material in any way. All very common concepts and research that has been used as examples in previous psychology texts.

Cultural Relevance Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: Are there any other comments you would like to make about this book, for example, its appropriateness in a Canadian context or specific updates you think need to be made?

I believe all my comments are in previous sections.

I do want the stress the need for a glossary and further study materials. Simply compiling the bolded definitions used in the chapter at the end of the chapter makes studying and review more efficient.

I actually thought this text was better presented than my previous used texts on psychology. It pulled some good research examples and each section was presented well!

Cheryl Bereziuk

Institution:Grande Prairie Regional CollegeTitle/Position: Psychology InstructorCreative Commons License

Q: The text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and provides an effective index and/or glossary

As an introductory/ first year textbook for psychology students, this text is very comprehensive and reviews all the areas I would normally cover. I was impressed at how comprehensive the material was especially in the chapters on the history of psychology (such as the inclusion of women’s and Canadian contributions to the field). Although some chapters such as the chapter on psychotherapy did not discuss some of the newer modalities like EMDR or Somatic Psychotherapies, it did explain the basic types very well.

The textbook, however, did lack a glossary which is helpful to students (either a comprehensive glossary at the end of the text or preferably an end of chapter glossary).

Comprehensiveness Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: Content is accurate, error-free and unbiased

The diagrams, tables and summaries in each chapter were excellent and accurate and would be very useful to students in preparing for exams. There were enough of these inclusions to make the text visually interesting and this would help maintain student attention while reading. Photos of the various theorists humanized the material and diagrams would be helpful in aiding student comprehension. I found no errors nor noted any glaring biases.

I liked that each chapter began with clear learning objectives to help focus student’s attention on the material and the end of chapter reviews such as the key takeaways and exercises in critical thinking are helpful in consolidating student learning. I especially like the inclusion of video clips that students could link to for further review(a benefit of an online text compared to a traditional print medium text).

Content Accuracy Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: Content is up-to-date, but not in a way that will quickly make the text obsolete within a short period of time. The text is written and/or arranged in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement

The content is up-to-date (such as the inclusion of DSM 5) with the exception of some of the newer psychotherapy modalities (as mentioned above). This isn’t necessarily a flaw of the text as the text does focus on the most important information that students at this level require in getting to know a new discipline. Updates could easily be implemented to the text as written.

Relevance Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is written in lucid, accessible prose, and provides adequate context for any jargon/technical terminology used

This text is clear and easy to follow. The authors clearly define each new term and provide adequate context for each term. An end of chapter review of terms or glossary would be helpful as would side bar definitions for the important terms.

Clarity Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework

This text is internally consistent with the same ‘voice’ carrying through from chapter to chapter. The text also move from the general to the more specific in terms of material covered which would aid in student comprehension.

Consistency Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within the course (i.e., enormous blocks of text without subheadings should be avoided). The text should not be overly self-referential, and should be easily reorganized and realigned with various subunits of a course without presenting much disruption to the reader.

One of the highlights of this text for me is its modularity. The chapters are concise and the student is not presented with an overwhelming amount of information without sacrificing coverage of important concepts and theories. The inclusion of tables, pictures and especially the video links are enormously helpful in keeping the reader engaged and further explaining difficult concepts.

Modularity Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion

The topics of each chapters are in a logical organization that is consistent with most other texts and follows the order I would normally teach in.

Organization Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is free of significant interface issues, including navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, and any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader

I experienced no problems with navigation of the text or with readability of the pictures and tables. The text was easy to read and follow without being at all confusing.

Interface Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text contains no grammatical errors

I found no problems with grammar, spelling, sentence structure, etc.

Grammar Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. It should make use of examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds

There were no problems with cultural insensitivity with this text and I found nothing offensive in the chapters. Examples were inclusive of a variety of ethnicities, gender, background, etc.

Cultural Relevance Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: Are there any other comments you would like to make about this book, for example, its appropriateness in a Canadian context or specific updates you think need to be made?

I would like to see a larger self-test section at the end of each chapter and a glossary of some sort. I was actually surprised at how much I did like this text and certainly liked the Canadian focus. I am considering doing a pilot adoption to see how students respond to open text as I don’t think open books have been used at my institution. The authors could perhaps include the newer psychotherapy modalities (as discussed earlier). I also very much liked the section on applying psychology to everyday life.

Lynne Kennette

Institution:Durham College Title/Position: Professor of Psychology/Program Coordinator (General Arts and Science)Creative Commons License

Q: The text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and provides an effective index and/or glossary

Bolded terminology is good, but the italicized definitions distracted me
A glossary might be helpful to students

Comprehensiveness Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: Content is accurate, error-free and unbiased

I encountered
several errors (or things that needed updating). I made note of a couple of them: p7 Figure 1.1- out of date « the Canadian government will raise…in 2014”
p19 Fitness is only half-bolded (the last few letters are in regular text)
p39 Figure 2.3 still says “behavior” with US spelling

Content Accuracy Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: Content is up-to-date, but not in a way that will quickly make the text obsolete within a short period of time. The text is written and/or arranged in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement

That is the case for most of the content, but as in the last comment, some of the information is already out of date: e.g., p7 Figure 1.1- the Canadian government will raise…in 2014

Relevance Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text is written in lucid, accessible prose, and provides adequate context for any jargon/technical terminology used

Other than psychological terminology that students need to be exposed to, I agree that it is jargon-free and clearly-written.

Clarity Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework

I did not notice any inconsistencies

Consistency Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within the course (i.e., enormous blocks of text without subheadings should be avoided). The text should not be overly self-referential, and should be easily reorganized and realigned with various subunits of a course without presenting much disruption to the reader.

There are many sub-units to help the reader see where they are and find relevant content. However, the hierarchy of the organization was not always obvious- it seemed as though sometimes it was just a list of topics to cover and not a sub-topic directly related to the previous topic.

Modularity Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion

More or less. It seems that it may be too advanced/texty for a 1st year course, especially if they are non-majors

Organization Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text is free of significant interface issues, including navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, and any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader

Yes, though some figures were difficult to see without really zooming in (e.g., Figure 2.1 on p.34)

Interface Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text contains no grammatical errors

I did notice this one: p39 Figure 2.3 still says “behavior” with US spelling

Grammar Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. It should make use of examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds

Yes, including Canadian diversity, specifically

Cultural Relevance Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: Are there any other comments you would like to make about this book, for example, its appropriateness in a Canadian context or specific updates you think need to be made?

This textbook was had too much text/not visually-pleasing for my college students taking this course as a general education/breadth course
I like the “key takeaways” sections and chapter summaries; I wish the questions had some multiple-choice questions where students could test their knowledge.

Dr. Christie Fraser

Institution:Thompson Rivers UniversityTitle/Position: Teaching Assistant Professor - Faculty of Education and Social WorkCreative Commons License

Q: The text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and provides an effective index and/or glossary

Comments on: "covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately":
- For general, I feel as though this introduction to psych has tried to be too comprehensive at the expensive of focussing on some of the more important pieces of an introductory text well
- For example, Chapter 2 - Introduction to Major Perspectives. This chapter in particular seems to have been (poorly) selective in which approaches to include and which to leave. I don't see cognitive approaches, constructivist, social cognitive, ecological approaches addressed well at all and in some cases completely overlooked. There are several key psychologists that have either not been mentioned, or simply glossed over (e.g., Piaget, Bandura, Dweck, Bronfenbrenner) at the expense of some lesser known and less impactful psychologists and approaches
- There is repetition between Chapters 1 and 2 on this point.
- I also find to cut these particular topic short (Major perspectives) which is traditionally a big part of a foundational psych course yet to two chapters on psychological disorders (defining and treating) is not appropriate. I would also add this topic does not belong in an introductory course and very much question the inclusion of a topic like the treatment of psychological disorders!
- Relatedly, there seems to be an odd mishmash of hard psychology topics and applied psychology topics without an obvious organization. These seems particularly tru for the last two chapters - Psychology in our Lives, & Health, Stress, and Coping. It makes me wonder what the audience for this textbook might be and what their purposes for taking a course where this textbook might be used are. It is not clear to me based on the content and organization.
- My thoughts are that the authors might consider thinking through what topics and to what depth should be covered in an intro textbook, and consider keeping some of the more advanced topics for a second textbook.
- In sum, although the textbook seems to cover a lot of topics, I question if the "right" topics for breadth in an introductory textbook have been given due diligence.


Comments on: "provides an effective index and/or glossary":
- There are reference lists at the end of each section which is great! This could be streamlined by having one longer reference list at the end of the chapter after the summary (this is typical). There should also be a comprehensive list of all references from the entire text - This is expected and typical in these types of textbooks.
- There is no Glossary at the end of the textbook - This is essential! Given the complexity of academic terminology, there should likely also be a glossary at the end of each chapter. Some textbooks put a running list of glossary terms with definitions in the margins of the text as they come up in each chapter which students find really helpful. The terms are bolded already in this textbook which is great!
- Also missing is a Name Index of authors and researchers cited in the textbook (essential as well)
- And there is no Subject index at the end of the textbook.
- All in all these aspects of the textbook really need to be attended to as they are critical to supporting readers and reader engagement

Comprehensiveness Rating: 2 out of 5

Q: Content is accurate, error-free and unbiased

Content accuracy:
- I don't know all areas that are covered in this textbook well enough to speak to accuracy throughout, but what I do see seem accurate and error-free. That said, what is problematic is what information has been chosen to be included and what has been chosen to be left over is worrisome. For example, the chapter on Learning is VERY selective ins the topics that have been included and those that have not.
- Relatedly, I find that chapter titles misleading at points. For example, some of the content in Growing & Developing seems not best matched to the chapter title. I can see a number of better places to include a discussion of Piaget - considered the pioneer of cognitive psychology - than here.

Diagrams & Supplemental Material:
- I find generally there is an overuse of tables in places (e.g., Chapter 2), and in some places tables called figured and vice versa
- Otherwise, I do find the the diagrams and supplemental material extending and engaging! The QR coded activities are great!

Bias:
- Given that this is a Canadian edition, I do not think the authors have done due diligence to the role of educators in Truth and Reconciliation. I don't get the sense that the authors have considered equity, inclusivity, or anti-racism thinking in their presentation of the information. I don't even see a discussion of it.
- Bias also may be evident in the odd selection of what, which, and where topics are included although I can't tell if this is simply the authors trying to be too comprehensive and also giving preference to what they are most comfortable in discussion (which I guess is also bias!)
- I don't know if this comment fits here best or not, but its seems to me that almost all of the chapters have been written by the same two authors when likely a number more authors with expertise in different areas would have been a better approach.

Content Accuracy Rating: 3 out of 5

Q: Content is up-to-date, but not in a way that will quickly make the text obsolete within a short period of time. The text is written and/or arranged in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement

This was a hard piece to review.

Relevance Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text is written in lucid, accessible prose, and provides adequate context for any jargon/technical terminology used

Yes

Clarity Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework

More or less.

Consistency Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within the course (i.e., enormous blocks of text without subheadings should be avoided). The text should not be overly self-referential, and should be easily reorganized and realigned with various subunits of a course without presenting much disruption to the reader.

YEs

Modularity Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion

There are a number of ways a "buffet" textbook like this could be organized! But I like the way this one flows and is structured. It begins with a good introduction from, covers the major perspectives, the "science" of pysch research, and neuro piece, before moving on to the various developmental/cognitive areas, and ends with the applied piece of psych in our lives. The only chapters I question on the two psych disorders chapters (13 and 14). In my opinion these are more advanced topics that do not belong in an intro textbook and so for me these topics disrupt the flow.

Organization Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text is free of significant interface issues, including navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, and any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader

I think this is all really well done and I really appreciate the steps that have been taken to support accessibility!

Interface Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text contains no grammatical errors

I found few to none. That said, the textbook is 700+ pages and this was not my focus as I read and reviewed. But just to say, I was not distracted by any errors in writing conventions as I went!

Grammar Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. It should make use of examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds

Although I am a first generation Canadian, both of my parents are white, and from white, western, colonized countries. I position myself the same. I am white, privileged, western and very representative of the colonized education system here in Canada, and ALL things education that stem from it, like textbooks for higher-education. As I read, of course I found nothing insensitive or offensive. We (colonized society) have gotten quite good at this! That said, this textbook reads as a typical Canadian textbook representative of a colonized education system. I would not say that is is especially inclusive or that it acknowledges the diversity we see here in Canada. I see no references to Indigenous or Aboriginal perspectives or first peoples ways of knowing. In fact, the word Indigenous is mentioned only once in the entire textbook. This is a serious short-coming of this textbook for these times. Not only are we responsible for being a part of the work toward Truth and Reconciliation, in education, we are also mandated to. So this textbook may be passive non-racist, non-xenophobic, non-homophobic, non-sexist etc, it is certainly not actively anti-racist, anti-homophobic, anti-xenophobic etc., and given the times and in particular what we have been seeing in North America over the last 10 years, this is really unacceptable. There are a lot of missed opportunities in this textbook and with the topics included for addressing the very important and relevant issues facing our society today.

Cultural Relevance Rating: 2 out of 5

Q: Are there any other comments you would like to make about this book, for example, its appropriateness in a Canadian context or specific updates you think need to be made?

I would not recommend this textbook. There are many reasons why as I have outlined or suggested in my review but I will reiterate/articulate them my biggest reasons here:
- I know it is an introduction textbook and so it is "buffet" in style. That said, I feel the textbook has tried to cover too much at the expense of not covering a good number of topics well.
- Relatedly, at times the content is sparse and seems to jump around with information in sporadic in nature (I don't think its bias, but rather it reads as though someone has written sections who is not an expert in the area, and so does not know what information would be important to include and not)
- At the same time, there are some topics that are covered in more depth but are topics I would not expect to see in an intro textbook (e.g., Psychological Disorders)
- It looks to me like the same two people have written almost all of the content. I expect two people along can not cover the breadth covered in this textbook. I think the textbook would be stronger if the various topic sections were farmed out to experts who could write concise chapter in appropriate breadth and depth.
- Given the current times in our society, this textbook does not take an active inclusive approach that I would expect. In particular, I seen nothing that represents an effort toward Truth and Reconciliation. I don't find the textbook especially gender inclusive, culturally inclusive, etc.
- I actually don't find the textbook very "Canadian". I see a list of revisions at the beginning that are meant to make it more "Canadian", but writing a textbook for a Canadian audience is likely a lot more than the changes I see here. It is an underlying approach and perspective that goes beyond spellings and a few references to bilingualism and Canadian examples.
- My thoughts are that this textbook is likely best broken down into a few biggish-sections that hang to together rather than 16 chapters over 700+ pages, that a variety of Canadian experts in the field review the various topics, and that an Indigenous writer/reviewer is brought on board to work on this very important piece.
- From an educational perspective, a glossary would help with reader engagement for learning, as would definitions within the chapters. An index, and comprehensive list of references, and list of authors from research cited are an essential inclusion at the end.

Thank you for this chance to review this textbook! I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience.