Implementing the Goals of Integration
Many introductory psychology textbooks are marketed as “integrated,” but saying you are integrated and actually implementing integration are two different things. We have spent a great amount of time and effort discussing ways to provide a truly integrated presentation of the science of mind.
Integration in this textbook extends in two directions, both within psychology and between psychology and other disciplines. We hope to highlight for students the many connections within the discipline of psychology, as well as its connections with other disciplines. Many introductory psychology textbooks share our goal of providing integration, but we would like to make our methods of achieving this goal explicit.
Within the body of each chapter, we make frequent connections to material in other chapters, forming bridges that connect subtopics. In the electronic version of the textbook, these connections will be hyperlinked for the convenience of the reader. For example, in a discussion of the causes of anxiety disorders in our chapter on psychological disorders (Chapter 14), we say:
A reasonable place to start looking for correlates of anxiety in brain structure and function is the fear circuit involving the amygdala, which we discussed in Chapters 4 and 7. The amygdala is particularly rich in receptors for GABA , a neurotransmitter that inhibits brain activity. As discussed in Chapter 6, drugs such as alcohol and the benzodiazepine tranquilizers (e.g., Valium) have their main anxiety-reducing effects at these GABA receptors
We use frequent examples from other parts of the discipline to illustrate principles within a chapter. For example, when we discuss latent inhibition in our chapter on learning (Chapter 8), we illustrate that principle by linking to clinical research about latent inhibition, creativity, and schizophrenia and to social psychology research on prejudice.
We specifically identify and explore six integrative perspectives that weave the standard topics more closely together: social psychology, cognition, biology and evolution, development, individual differences and personality, and clinical psychology. In keeping with the standard organization of introductory psychology textbooks, the fundamentals of these perspectives are covered in distinct chapters, but the threads of each perspective are woven into all chapters.
These perspectives are explained in greater detail in the following section.
Each chapter includes six features, which are described in more detail in a later section: chapter opener, Psychology as a Hub Science, Experiencing Psychology, Thinking Scientifically, Connecting to Research, and Perspectives on Interpersonal Relationships. These features are designed to promote active learning and to increase student interest. Three of these in particular (chapter opener, Perspectives on Interpersonal Relationships and Psychology as a Hub Science) also contribute to our integrative approach.
In the chapter openers, we show how multiple psychological perspectives address a phenomenon by zooming in to see the biological approach and then zooming out again to gain insight from the developmental, cognitive, individual difference, social, and clinical perspectives. Each Perspectives on Interpersonal Relationships feature shows how a particular perspective views questions about successful relationships, so by the end of the textbook, the student can see how integrating 16 approaches to a single issue enriches our understanding of a psychological phenomenon. The Psychology as a Hub Science features address the larger integration picture of where psychology stands in the context of the scientific community.
Integrative Features in Detail
Extensive literature supports the idea that an engaged and cognitively active student is more likely to master content. Although students are accustomed to textbooks, their approaches to learning have been affected by technologies that transfer information at an ever-increasing pace, with a strong emphasis on rapidly presented visual images. Consequently, it becomes all too easy to go through the motions of reading a text without really thinking about what they have read. We have incorporated six features designed to model good textbook-reading practices in students while maintaining a high level of interest and understanding.
To introduce and engage interest in upcoming chapter material, many textbooks use a vignette or case study, accompanied by either a fine art piece or a photo that is not discussed further. We begin each chapter with a combination of two images—one gives the big picture, and the other gives the microview of the same topic. The chapter opener guides the student through the significance of the images. We use the terms zoom in and zoom out to emphasize the need to understand the underpinnings of a psychological phenomenon without losing the impact of its larger context. For example, in the biological psychology chapter (Chapter 4), the opening images show a woman watching two friends (zoom out) and a beautiful image of a white blood cell exiting bone marrow (zoom in). Does the woman feel like part of a group of friends or does she feel left out? Depending on how she perceives her social situation, biological cascades are set in motion that prepare her immune system for fighting either the viruses found in close social contact or the bacteria that might be more of a risk when a person is solitary. The reader is drawn into the reciprocal relationships that exist between biology and behavior.
The integrative Hub feature broadens the discussion of a psychological topic to include ways in which it is engaged in cooperative science with other disciplines, from medicine to the social sciences.
Psychology as a Hub Science
In our first edition, this Hub feature was located in its own box, but we feel so strongly about its importance and so concerned about students skipping boxes that we have given this material a new home within the narrative of the chapter. This integrative feature broadens the discussion of a psychological topic to include ways in which psychology engages in cooperative science with other disciplines, from medicine to the social sciences. It is accompanied by a graphic adapted from a citation analysis by Boyack, Klavans, and Börner (2005) that shows psychology citations as nodes with connections to other related disciplines. This graphic highlights the connections between psychology and the relevant disciplines of psychiatry, nursing, public health, emergency medicine, pharmacology, obstetrics and gynecology, law, education, management, and the other social sciences. Given these connections, psychology has a central role to play in our efforts to deal with economic collapses, the spread of pandemics, energy conservation, the spread of terrorism, rising health care costs, and our crumbling educational system. For example, cardiovascular disease is surely a medical condition, but contemporary scientists recognize that a full understanding of this killer requires consideration of psychological domains, including stress appraisal,reactivity to stressors, individual resilience, and a person’s social context. Seeing the impact of psychology on many disciplines makes the introductory course relevant for students of all majors, as well as rekindling some “psych pride” in those of us in the field.
This interactive feature provides ways for students to connect the course material to their own lives and interests. Some hands-on examples are the Epworth Sleepiness Scale in the consciousness chapter (Chapter 6), Coren’s handedness scale in the biological psychology chapter (Chapter 4), the BFI-10 personality test in the chapter on personality and the self (Chapter 12), and Anderson and Dill’s video game violence and aggression instruments in the research methods chapter (Chapter 2). In other cases, this feature provides longer-term opportunities for students to apply their learning, such as working to reduce the frequency of a bad habit (Chapter 8).
This interactive feature models critical thinking skills for students by providing them with opportunities to critique the progress of science. For example, in the chapter on research methods (Chapter 2), students are guided through five steps of critical thinking while evaluating data about the effects of Facebook use on well-being as reported in the popular press. In the chapter on psychological treatments (Chapter 15), students are asked to evaluate the use of mobile technologies to help children with autism spectrum disorder.
Connecting to Research
To emphasize psychology as a science, this feature explores either a classic or a contemporary study relevant to the chapter’s material and comments on its significance to the field. Sections on the question, methods, results, and conclusions provide a guided introduction for the student to the essentials of the peer-reviewed literature. From Wundt’s classic studies of reaction time, to the discovery of mirror neurons, to distinctions between romantic love and lust in the brain, students are given insight into what psychological scientists do.
Perspectives on Interpersonal Relationships
In keeping with the integrative mission of this textbook, the goal of this feature is to demonstrate how the information in a particular chapter can be applied to a single topic—building and maintaining important relationships. This issue is personally meaningful to college students, especially first-year students, and it applies across the board—regardless of gender, race, age, ethnicity, sociocultural background, sexual orientation, or level of academic preparation. The feature has two main purposes: (1) to engage and maintain student interest throughout the text and (2) to stitch together into an integrative, thematic quilt the patchwork of traditional introductory psychology topic areas.