Description: Social psychology is a science that influences other fields because it seeks to explain why people behave in certain ways and how they affect others.
Purpose: This book provides "a basic overview of social psychology for graduate students, upper-level undergraduates, and others."
Audience: The primary audience is first-year graduate students (MA or PhD) in social psychology, although the book is also appropriate for upper-level undergraduate courses in social psychology and for doctoral students in disciplines connected to social psychology (e.g., marketing, organizational behavior). Roy F. Baumeister is head of the social psychology graduate program at Florida State University and Eli J. Finkel is an associate professor at Northwestern University. Contributors are from the United States, Spain, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.
Features: After some background of social psychology, including a brief history, the book covers the basic tenets, including social aspects of cognition and emotion, attitude measurement, and attitude persuasion. Next, it addresses important parts of social relationships such as altruism, aggression, motivation, and self esteem. Finally, it shows how social psychology relates to social neuroscience and biological evolution. The interesting chapter on prejudice differentiates between deliberate and automatic prejudice and shows how it affects judgment and behavior. It also discusses controlling the influence of bias and how victims of discrimination feel. The book could have used more figures and tables to help clarify the text or highlight research findings.
Assessment: This book covers both motivational and cognitive processes, the foundation of social psychology. The editors are experts in the field who have brought together a wonderful team of authors to offer students an in-depth look at the field.