Description: This book describes social psychology in all of its facets. It is comprehensive, focusing on principles and issues rather than specific research. The previous edition was published in 1996.
Purpose: According to the editors, "the aim of the second edition of our handbook has been to capture the unfolding shifts in ways and means of social psychological research and to distill to the extent possible the principles of human social behavior that lurk beneath the surface of our manifold empirical observations." They note that this edition includes research that was only beginning when the first edition was published.
Audience: They target the book at students and researchers. Both the editors and the contributors are authorities in the field. Dr. Kruglanski, a professor of psychology at the University of Maryland-College Park, has published over 200 articles and chapters in social psychology and has served as editor of two social psychology journals. Dr. Higgins is a professor of psychology, professor of business, and director of the Motivation Science Center at Columbia University. The contributors represent many countries, including The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, United States, and Spain.
Features: This comprehensive book covers a multitude of topics in social psychology, grouped into six parts: biological system, cognitive system, personal motivational system, interpersonal system, group and cultural system, and applications of social psychology. It is not the easiest reading, but is certainly well worth the effort. The strength of this book lies in its comprehensive inclusion of topics, covering the breadth and depth of social psychology.
Assessment: This is an excellent resource for students, researchers, teachers, and professionals in the field of social psychology. Though somewhat costly, it is a reference you will have for years.