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Social Psychology (Smith and Mackie)


Book reviews > Social Psychology (Smith and Mackie)


Eliot, E.S. and Mackie, D.M. (2007). Social Psychology (third edition), New York: Psychology Press


There are rather a lot of books on the marked with the title 'Social Psychology' which are targeted at psychology undergraduates. So what's different about this one?

The style of the book is to present social psychology in a series of sections and chapters that focus on individuals, then groups and how they interact, including attitude change, liking and loving aggression and prosocial behavior. All the usual suspects are in there, from Milgram to Festinger to Petty and Cacciopo.

A rather nice series of flowcharts and diagrams are used throughout the book that connect the various theories that are presented into coherent meta-models of that explain overall behavioral patterns. This principle of structuring to tell a story and make sense of the whole domain continues through the book, making it very readable for the general public as well as forming a solid student text. Perhaps as an effect of creating a narrative, there was less mention of specific theories than some similar books.

There is also good sprinkling of cartoons, photographs and diagrams to retain the reader's attention and interest. Areas of strong recent social interest such as stereotyping and bias are covered in more detail than perhaps would have been given in older books.

A good test of a textbook is to look at the spread of the dates of references. A quick thumb through the 65 pages of references (!) gives a good sprinkling across the 70s to 90s with a few early key papers and a fair number of more recent ones up to 2005. This is good. It shows that the authors are keeping the text up to date (the 2005 date is probably due more to the length of the publication process than nothing significant being published in the past two years).

Overall, this is a sound text that can be strongly recommended to both lecture courses and the interested general public.


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Eliot R. Smith and Diane M. Mackie, Social Psychology (third edition), Psychology Press, 2007. 

One of the many books entitled 'Social Psychology' and targeted at undergraduates. This is a well-written and cohesive version that is readable by the general public as well. 



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