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Six Perspectives

May 2007 | 408 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

"Dodge Fernald writes an interesting, easy-to-read book for students. Each perspective covers the historical underpinnings of psychology, ending with current models and viewpoints as well as comments and critiques of the perspective. That's important and will help the next generation of scholars in psychology to appreciate alternative views. Nice book!"
Joseph R. Ferrari, Ph.D, Vincent de Paul Distinguished Professor, DePaul University

Addressing six perspectives, this textbook offers the framework for a conceptual understanding of modern psychology. Psychology: Six Perspectives shows students a measure of unity and continuity within this fragmented field by briefly and coherently discussing six primary perspectives that have arisen: biological, psychoanalytical, behavioral, humanistic, cognitive, and evolutionary. Author L. Dodge Fernald provides coherence by presenting these perspectives in successive historical order, offering students a broad, retrospective account of psychology.

Key Features

  • Portrays the fundamental dimensions of this multifaceted field: The similarities and differences among basic concepts, theories, research, and practice of each perspective are examined.
  • Employs both a scientific mode of communication as well as a narrative thread: The real-life narrative of a lonely, stout-hearted social worker unfolds gently throughout the text, illustrating in turn each of the perspectives.
  • Stimulates critical thinking and class discussion: Opportunities for critical evaluation and everyday application provide students with a context for extending their understanding of and investigation into psychology.

Intended Audience

This core textbook or supplementary text is designed for undergraduate courses in general psychology, ranging from special sections of introductory psychology to the capstone course or senior seminar, including the history and systems of psychology.


1. An Emerging Science
The Founding of Psychology  
The Work of Psychology  
Scope of Modern Psychology  
2. Research Methods
The Research Challenge  
Experimental Methods  
Descriptive Methods  
Analysis of the Data  
3. Biological Psychology
Origins of Biological Psychology  
The Nervous System  
Organization of the Brain  
The Cerebral Cortex  
Modern Biomedical Therapy  
Commentary and Critique  
4. Psychoanalysis
Background of Psychoanalysis  
Structure of Personality  
Development of Personality  
Expressions of the Unconscious  
Psychoanalysis as a Therapy  
Commentary and Critique  
5. Behaviorism
Beginnings of Behaviorism  
Classical Conditioning  
Operant Conditioning  
Two-Factor Theory  
Behavior Modification  
Commentary and Critique  
6. Humanistic Psychology
Rise of Humanistic Psychology  
Three Human Characteristics  
Influence of Early Experience  
Philosophical and Practical Issues  
Person-Centered Therapy  
Commentary and Critique  
7. Cognitive Psychology
Foundations of Cognitive Psychology  
Sensation and Perception  
Processes in Memory  
Thought and Language  
The Cognitive Therapies  
Commentary and Critique  
8. Evolutionary Psychology
Roots of Evolutionary Psychology  
Evolution of Sexual Behavior  
Adaptations in Parenting  
Dispositions in Group Living  
Promoting Behavioral Change  
Commentary and Critique  
9. Socio-Cultural Foundations
The Inevitable Human Influence  
Social Psychology  
Psychology and Culture  
10. Psychology and Society
Multiple Bases of Behavior  
The Perspectives Revisited  
Psychology in the Making  

A detailed yet accessible introduction to the main psychological perspectives. I would recommend this for A level students wishing to develop further insight into the Approaches section of the new AQA specification.

Mrs Suzi Smale
Psychology , Petroc
February 6, 2016

This text provides an in depth account of the six perspectives it covers providing the theories linked to the perspectives applying those theories to practice and also evaluating with a sound critique of each individual perspective. Some students valued this text more than others. With students stating that the most useful section was the perspectives critique.

Mr Daniel Mullan
Health and Social, The Maltings College
June 5, 2015

Six perspectives give a more accuracy vision of the main genral theories of th Psychology

Professor Jose Mestre
Psicología , University of Cadiz
April 14, 2015

It gives our students the background and review they need.

Dr Kalynda Smith
Psychology Dept, Hampton University
November 12, 2014

This book provides excellent information relating to the Psychological perspectives. It is simplistic in its delivery yet the information within is an excellent support to student delivery from A'Level forwards.
As a newly qualified teacher I have found this book particularly supportive of the curriculum and further to this have recommended it to students as further reading to embed the perspectives.

Mrs Kerry Noble
Education Department, Doncaster College
June 27, 2014

A useful book for students who have a basic understanding of psychology.

It should form part of the indicative reading list.

Mrs Cheryl Hine
Teacher Training, Leeds City College
November 13, 2013

Great, concise overview of virtually everything!

Mr Jan Breitsohl
School of Management & Business, Aberystwyth University
November 7, 2013

The book is easy to read.

Miss Lucy Taylor
Health and Social Development, Tameside College
February 14, 2013

Great book for the teacher or tutor with a lot of knowledge in the subject area. Too advanced for introductory students who have not studied psychology before. I personally found it very useful to help create lesson plans. Some of my students found it useful and were able for the text standard. My colleagues have purchased the book.

Mrs Deirdre Daly
Childcare , Limerick College of Further Education
December 11, 2012

A very good resource-particulary for post grad

Dr Judith Butler
Social & General Studies Department, Cork Institute of Technology
September 25, 2012

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ISBN: 9781412938679

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