Suggested Reading in Psychology

About this list

While teaching Psych 1 in the Fall of 97-98, a student asked me to recommend some reading. She was going to take a break from school, but wanted to continue her education. Rather than answer her myself, I decided to post a message asking my colleagues in many different areas what they would recommend. I received the following (very informal) replies. From time to time I will probe my colleagues again and update/modify the list.
I also plan to raise the question at some of our faculty meetings, and to get a little debate going.

If you egg me on, I may start posting commentaries as well.

Happy Reading.
( Brian Wandell ).

Recommended Reading List

Paul Whitmore (Grad Student, Social Psychology)
kahneman, slovic & tversky ; judgment and uncertainty: heuristics and biases

thomas schelling ; micromotives and macrobehavior

william james ; the principles of psychology (esp. the chapters on the self,stream of consciousness, and habit)

gilovich; how we know what isn’t so

Barbara Tversky (Professor, Cognitive Psychology)
Steve Pinker, The Language Instinct

George Lakoff, Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things

Anthony Damasio, Descartes’ Choice

Richard Gregory, The Intelligent Eye

Doug Hofstadter and Dan Dennett, The Mind’s I

Doug Hofstadter, Godel, Escher, Bach (first 100 or so pages)

George Miller, (something about language), a Freeman Scientific American publication

Books I have not read but suspect are good: Pinker’s new book, How the Mind Works; Tom Gilovich’s book(s) on judgment/social psych.

Dan Levittin (Visiting Scholar and Lecturer, Interval Research)
In Cognition & Perception, I would read Lloyd K. Komatsu, “Experimenting With The Mind.” (1994, Brooks-Cole). It is a thoughtful collection of excerpts from 35 important journal articles, sort of a

“Cognitive Psychology’s Greatest Hits.” Most of the important (foundational) studies of the past forty years are there, and it is the kind of thing that doesn’t have to be read cover to cover; the student can pick and choose what interests them.

In social psychology, I would get “The Person and the Situation” by Ross and Nisbett (1991, McGraw Hill). It is very readable and covers a lot of important material.

For Cognitive Neuroscience, I think Kosslyn’s “Wet Mind” is at the right level for an undergraduate (1995 Simon & Schuster).

If the student knows (s)he has an interest in psycholinguistics, Herb Clark’s “Using Language” (1996, Cambridge) is very readable, very enjoyable, and dense with information.

Russ Poldrack (Postdoctoral fellow, Neuroscience)
Gardner, H. (1985) The Mind’s New Science: A History of the Cognitive Revolution. New York: Basic Books. – This is a great introduction to the convergence of cognitive psychology, AI, linguistics, and neuroscience into cognitive science

Gould, S. J. (1981). The Mismeasure of Man. New York: Norton. – Describes and debunks the hereditarian view of intelligence (a topic still very current). (I believe there may be a newer revised edition.)

I also think that Dan Dennett’s 1995 book, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, is a good one to have on the list, because I think an understanding of evolution is essential for psychologists, and it’s a fun book to read. However, it’s not really a psychology book so I’ll leave it to your judgment as to whether to include it.

Jeffrey Wine (Professor, Neuroscience)
Donald O. Hebb The Organization of Behavior: A Neuropsychological Theory Wiley, New York, 1949. Fast approaching its 50th anniversary, Hebb’s prescient commentary is a good starting point for students who are open to the view that the brain might have some relevance to psychology .

Robert Zajonc (Professor, Social Psychology)
Joe LeDoux “The Emotional Brain”

Anthony Damasio “Descartes’ Error”.

John Flavell (Professor, Developmental Psychology)
Patricia H. Miller (1993) Theories of developmental psychology (3rd Ed). W.H. Freeman.

Alex Huk (Graduate student, Cognitive)
Dave Rumelhart, Intro to Human Information Processing

Ulric Neisser, Cognitive Psychology

Ray Jackendoff, Patterns in the Mind

Steve Pinker, How the Mind Works; The Language Instinct

Of course, the Rumelhart and Neisser books are a bit old, but I’ve found them very enjoyable to read. Both the Jackendoff and Pinker titles are similar in scope (ie, language-oriented), but I think the former is more careful regarding content.

Brian Wandell (Professor, Neuroscience)
Francis Crick, The Astonishing Hypothesis

Richard Gregory, Eye and Brain

Gordon Bower (Professor, Cognitive)
Dan Schacter on memory (Basic Books ? — pop but good)

Two recent ones by Steve Pinker “How the mind works” and one on language [Language Instincti] — both excellent and highly readable

Two pop books on cognitive science — one by Morton Hunt and one by Howard Gardner. Highly readable.

Phil Zimbardo (Professor, Social)
his own book: shyness:what it is, what to do about it, Addison Wesley Pub.

Sean Stromsten (Cognitive Graduate Student)
Daniel Dennett–Brainstorms, The Intentional Stance, Elbow Room, Consciousness Explained. He is a philosopher, yet writes to be understood. Knows about psychology and AI, too.

Valentino Braitenberg–Vehicles. Fun little book about a succession of imaginary robots wired for greater and greater responsiveness, and their similarity to real nervous systems.

Stuart Russell and Peter Norvig–Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach *The* AI textbook of the moment. Beautifully written, uniquely coherent.

Herbert Simon–The Sciences of the Artificial. Old, still great

Al Bandura (Professor, Personality)
His own book. Self-efficacy, the Exercise of Control

Al Hastorf (Professor, Social)
Wolfgang Kohler, Gestalt Psychology (1947)

Erik Fromm, Escape From Freedom (1941)