Textbook-wise I recommend skipping the intro textbook, and just going straight into the specialties. Intro textbooks have a lot of problems as outlined here. I think the inclusion of rejected findings such as Maslow's hierarchy or Piaget's stages of development in many textbooks is just ridiculous even if their work influenced a lot of researchers.

Choosing a specialty will depend on your interests. If you just want to read about a bunch of applied research findings, then a Clinical Psychology textbook is probably going to be your best bet. If you want to jump right into something you can use, then most likely you'll want an Industrial-Organizational Psychology textbook. lukeprog has compiled a ton of suggestions for people who are looking for self-help advice. I too would recommend The Procrastination Equation, which does compile a lot of useful studies from multiple disciplines although it is intended for a popular audience, so what he's saying in some places isn't the best description of the theory you'll ever find.

If you want a deep understanding of theory, then I recommend getting textbooks on Cognitive Science, Behavior Analysis, and Developmental Psychology in that order. Most of the best recent theoretical research can be connected to Cognitive Science in some form or other. Behavior Analysis textbooks are useful for learning about a lot of the better older studies, but the terminology is different in some areas than the way most psychologists use it, which is why I don't recommend starting with it. Developmental Psychology also has a mixture of both recent and older studies of high quality, so it's a good third option. I don't recommend starting with Development because many of the ideas are ones you'll find in the other two textbooks, and you'll also likely get some outdated research included.

Open Thread, Dec. 28 - Jan. 3, 2016

by [anonymous] 1 min read27th Dec 2015145 comments


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