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Our Minds, Our Selves: A Brief History of Psychology
Oatley, Keith
Princeton University Press / Softcover / 2020-03-01 / 0691204497
Psychology / Toronto Authors
price: $27.50 (may be subject to change)
376 pages
Not in stock - ships in 1 to 2 weeks.

An original history of psychology told through the stories of its most important breakthroughs and the people who made them

Advances in psychology have revolutionized our understanding of the human mind. Imaging technology allows researchers to monitor brain activity, letting us see what happens when we perceive, think, and feel. But technology is only part of how ideas about the mind and brain have developed over the past century and a half. In Our Minds, Our Selves, distinguished psychologist and writer Keith Oatley provides an engaging, original, and authoritative history of modern psychology told through the stories of its most important breakthroughs and the men and women who made them.

Our Minds, Our Selves traverses a fascinating terrain: forms of conscious and unconscious knowledge; brain physiology; emotion; stages of mental development from infancy to adulthood; language acquisition and use; the nature of memory; mental illness; morality; free will; creativity; the mind at work in art and literature; and, most important, our ability to cooperate with one another. Controversial experiments--such as Stanley Milgram's investigation of our willingness to obey authority and inflict pain and Philip Zimbardo and his colleagues' study of behavior in a simulated prison-are covered in detail. Biographical sketches illuminate the thinkers behind key insights and turning points: historical figures such as Hermann Helmholtz, Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud, Jean Piaget, B. F. Skinner, and Alan Turing; leading contemporaries such as Geoffrey Hinton, Michael Tomasello, and Tania Singer; and influential people from other fields, including Margaret Mead, Noam Chomsky, Jane Goodall, and Gabrielle Starr.

Enhancing our understanding of ourselves and others, psychology holds the potential to create a better world. Our Minds, Our Selves tells the story of this most important of sciences in a new and appealing way.


"Keith Oatley, a distinguished psychologist and prize-winning novelist, writes with concision and great brio in this wonderful introduction to psychology. The coverage of current research is just right, with simple and practical illustrations of a sort that only an expert can provide. It is a book that should attract smart school kids to study psychology--and help undergraduates find their way through the maze of modern cognitive science."--Philip Johnson-Laird, author of How We Reason

"Organized around a series of engaging ideas, this might be the best introduction to the history of psychology I know."--Michael Tomasello, Duke University

"Our Minds, Our Selves transforms the history of the mind, touching on fields from neuroscience to the arts, and from moral philosophy to medicine. Along the way, be fascinated by mirror neurons, deep learning, how Google thinks with models, what changes personality, and what measuring the brain reveals. Keith Oatley brilliantly brings us into a new era in psychology--and we can never go back."--Jeannette Haviland-Jones, coauthor of The Hidden Genius of Emotion

"Keith Oatley takes up the ambitious task of explaining the workings of the human mind. He succeeds admirably, drawing on his capacious knowledge of cognitive psychology to make a persuasive case for his claims. This is an excellent book--comprehensive, rich in content, and with many illuminating examples that make for enjoyable reading."--Aaron Ben-Ze'ev, author of The Subtlety of Emotions

"Our Minds, Our Selves is an engaging overview of cognitive psychology and its intersections with numerous other disciplines, including philosophy, anthropology, history, sociology, and cultural studies. It covers a wide range of topics in an accessible way and should have a broad appeal."--Chris Chambers, author of The Seven Deadly Sins of Psychology

About the Author:

Keith Oatley is a distinguished academic researcher and teacher, as well as a prize-winning novelist. He has written for scientific journals, the New York Times, New Scientist, Psychology Today, and Scientific American Mind. He is the author of many books, including Such Stuff as Dreams and The Passionate Muse, and a coauthor of the leading textbook on emotion. He is professor emeritus of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto and lives in Toronto.

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