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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Christopher J Graver, PhD, ABPP-CN(Madigan Healthcare System)
Description: This book stems from Pat Rabbit's industrious career in experimental psychology. It addresses the basic mechanisms of speeded decision-making and the changes in reaction time, decision-making, mental control, and memory that occur with age. These issues are approached from the perspective of both group and individual differences.
Purpose: The purpose is to bring together influential contributors in the areas of experimental psychology and cognitive neuroscience in a tribute to the career of Pat Rabbit. It is intended to provide the latest research examining the mechanisms of decision-making, processing speed, memory, and cognitive control, with a unique focus on how these abilities change with advancing age and ability.
Audience: This book is written by well-qualified authors at a level that makes it appropriate for undergraduate students, but also would be appreciated by graduate students and researchers in the areas of experimental psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and neuropsychology.
Features: The book is composed of four main sections, including reaction time and mental speed, cognitive control and frontal lobe function, memory and age, and real-world cognition. The chapters are well written and provide a collection of key studies in cognitive psychology. They are a great starting point for those looking to delve into this area. While some chapters, like that on Individual Differences and Cognitive Models of Mind, can be technical and complex, most of the chapters are generally easy to understand, even for novices. The section on frontal lobe function contains a unique survey of cognitive control from multiple perspectives, including cognitive psychology, animal studies, and neuroanatomy and neuroimaging. Furthermore, chapter 11 contains a refreshing discussion regarding strategies to modify and counteract normal age-related declines in memory, rather than focusing on just the decline itself. Finally, the books ends with a section on real-world applications of cognitive and experimental psychology and explores the extent to which lab experiments actually relate to real-world functioning. Regardless of the reader's interest in reaction time, memory, or mental control, each chapter agreeably commences with an informative abstract that makes skimming the book convenient. While the figures and illustrations tend to be sparse, they are quite helpful.
Assessment: This is a useful book that brings together significant studies and influential researchers in the areas of experimental psychology and cognitive neuroscience. Its layout is convenient, the text is easy to read and understand, and a broad range of topics is covered, assuring that everyone will find something of interest. For those seeking a more clinical approach to cognition and aging, readers may want to take a look at Geriatric Neuropsychology, Bush and Martin (Taylor & Francis, 2005).