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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


Presents a fantastic overview of different psychological perspectives in an easy to read and accessible way. This text goes beyond what most early year undergraduates will require, but the text remains accessible even to less experienced readers. I have asked our library to purchase ecopies of this book to be available to students and will promote its use on other modules. The only downside of the book is the price which stops this book being a core text

Dr Craig Kevin Allison
School of Sport, Health and Social Sciences, Solent University
December 10, 2021

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 16, 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

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