Book Excerpts and Review: Exploring Psychology

Book Excerpts and Review: Exploring Psychology

Exploring Psychology is a thick book that I brought from my home to Chiang Mai last 2010… I think it was my brother’s book but I gave it away to a community and hopefully they get to use it.

But before giving it away, I made sure to copy some snapshots that I found important to daily living. I also wanted to take up psychology before..  well I want to take up many degrees because my hunger for knowledge never ends specially that I forget them afterwards xD

Niwey, here are some bits of information taken from the book. Hope you’ll learn a thing or two:


Belief perseverance – to cling to our beliefs in the face of contrary evidence. Belief perseverance often fuels social conflict


Once you see a country as hostile, you are likely to interpret ambigous actions on their part as signifying their hostility

– political scientist Robert Jervis p, 241


Almost all the joyful things in life are outside the measure of IQ tests

– Madeleine L’engle, p.251


IQ test was invented to predict academic performance, nothing else. If we wanted something that would predict life success, we’d have to invent another test completely

– Robert Zajonc, p. 253


The spatial ability of the carpentery differs from the logical ability of the computer programmer, which differs from the verbal ability of the poet. Differences are not deficits. p 264



On Anger

Anger will never disappear so long as thoughts of resentment are cherished in the mind – Buddha, 500BC

What’s the best way to handle anger? Experts offer several suggetions.

First, bring down the physiological arousal of anger by waiting. Any emotiona arousal will simmer down if you just wait long enough. Second, deal with anger in a way that involves neither being chronically angry over every little annoyance nor passively sulking, which is merely rehearsing your reasons for anger. Vent the anger by playing an instrument, exercising, or confiding your feelings to a friend or a in a diary.


A non-accusing statement of feelings, perhaps letting one’s partner know that “I get irritated when you leave your dirty dishes for me to clean up” – can help resolve the conflicts that cause anger.



On happiness


People who are happy perceive the world as safer, make decisions more easily, rate job applicants more favorable, and report greater satisfactions with their whole lives

When we feel happy, we are more willing to help others. Its like a feel good, do good phenomenon.

Other research confirms that there is much more to well-being than being well off. Many people believe they would be happier if they had more money. They probably would be “temporarily”. But in the long run, increased affluence hardly affects happiness.




The average American is now twice as rich, but no happier p 315


An affluent society’s economic growth need not improve its morale.


As people climb the ladder of success, they mostly compare themselves with those who are at or above their current level.


Napoleon envied Caesar, Caesar envied Alexander, and Alexander, I daresay, envied Hercules, who never existed. p. 317


As comparing ourselves with those better off creates envy, so comparing ourselves with those less well off boosts contentment p.317


Those inclined to be hostile and cynical were five times more likely than their gentler, trusting classmates to die by middle age p. 331


Simply by setting aside a quiet time or two each day, many people report enjoying a greater sense of tranquility. In experiments, people who practice relaxation also commonly exhibit lowered blood pressure and strengthened immune system p. 337


Laughter seems to work in ways similar to exercise – it arouses us, massages muscles, and then leaves us feeling relaxed p. 338


Friendship are good medicine. Several long term studies of thousand of people have found that people with close supportive relationships are less likely to die prematurely p. 340


As various moments, all of us feel, think or act as disturbed people do much of the time. We too, maybe anxious, depressed, withdrawn, suspicious, deluded, or anti social, although less intensely and enduringly p 379


Suicide rates are higher among the rich, the nonreligious, and the unmarried – including widowed and divorced p 393


Defense mechanisms would not work if we recognize them. As the body unconsciously defends itself against disease, so, believed Freud, the ego unconsciously defend itself against anxiety p. 350


type a – intense

type b – laid back

endomorph – relaxed and jolly

mesomorph – bold and physically active

ectomorph – high strung and solitary

p. 356


Most disordered people are not dangerous; instead, they are anxious, depressed, or withdrawn p 408


Labels not only bias perceptions, they can also affect people’s self images and stigmatize them in other’s eyes – p.467


Labels not only bias perceptions, they can also change reality. When teachers are told certain students are “gifted”, when students expect someone to be “hostile”, or when interviewers check to see whether someone is “extraverted”, they may act in ways that elicit the very behavior expected. p409




Those who setup token economies typically deprive people of something they desire and then decide which behaviors they will reinforce. To critics, the whole behavior modification process has a totalitarian taint. They argue that treatment with a positive reward is more human than being institutionalized or punished p. 423


Happily married couples attribute their spouse’s tart tongued remark to a temporary situation (“she must have had a bad day at work”)


Unhappily married persons attribute the same remark to a mean disposition (why ever did I marry such a cold and hostile person?)



Folks often talk and act a different game


Food in the door phenomenon – a tendency for people who agree to small request to comply later with a larger one p. 446


How do you explain poverty or unemployment?

– People generally get what they deserve. Those who dont work are often lazy free loaders. People who take initiative can still get ahead


– if you or I had to live with the same poor education, lack of meaningful opportunity


In evaluating employees, managers must also make attributions. They are likely to attribute the poor performance of workers to personal factors such as low ability or lack of motivation. Workers who are doing poorly on a job recogize situational influences. Inadequate supplies, poor working conditions ,difficult coworkers, impossible or ambigious demands.


To get people to agree to something big, “start small and build”. And be wary of those who would exploit you and the tactic.

For those who wants to read the book online, here’s a link to where you can buy

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