Article titles and scope tend toward the broad more than the specific. The outline that opens each article, as well as the thorough 15,000-entry index, allows users to locate discussion of specific topics. Each article adheres to a helpful four-part structure of article outline, glossary of key terms, article proper, and bibliography. Through the index this set can double as a makeshift glossary of psychological terms, since glossary entries within the articles are indexed; however, since nothing in the index differentiates glossary citations from other types of citations, this is not the encyclopedia's strength. Yet the glossary entries signify the editors' concern for clarity and intelligibility.
Entries range from five pages (Self-Esteem) to 17 pages (Schizophrenia). Topics covered include the senses (Taste), various emotions (Anger, Jealousy), developmental theory (Cognitive Development), medical subjects (Glial Cells, Hypothalamus), and disorders (Autism, Epilepsy). The bibliographies at the ends of all entries list scholarly books and journal articles.
Ramachandran has written for popular publications such as National Geographic and Discover; the encyclopedia shows that he understands what it takes to present complex knowledge to a diverse audience. Although the work displays the accoutrements of scholarship in its bibliographies and its see also references within articles, one does not need to be a scholar to reap knowledge from its pages. Even when presenting abstractions such as theories about why individuals make the vocational choices they make, the text is clear and readable. For this reason many users will prefer it to the academic prose, studded with numerous parenthetic references to its extensive bibliography, in Raymond Corsini's Encyclopedia of Psychology (also reviewed in this issue). Both sets supplement text with tables, charts, and diagrams; however these are more evident in Ramachandran. Whereas articles in Ramachandran address such broad topics as Creative and Imaginative Thinking, Criminal Behavior, or Crowd Psychology, Corsini favors more specific topics such as Computerized Adaptive Testing, Contamination (Statistical), and Cranial Nerves. While there is overlap between the two, neither encyclopedia can be considered a substitute for the other. From a collection-development point of view, the question about these encyclopedias is not an either-or proposition. Both serve a useful purpose and complement one another far more than they overlap. The same may be said of Frank Magill's Survey of Social Science: Psychology Series (Salem Press, 1993), whose 410 articles, written in a popular style for the benefit of students, address both broad and narrow topics.
Carefully crafted, well written, and thoroughly indexed, the Encyclopedia of Human Behavior will help people--whether they are specialists in a branch of psychology or students just beginning formal study of that broad field--understand the field as well as themselves and their fellow humans and how and why we behave as we do.
"Ramachandran's academic credentials and appointments resemble the encyclopedia's scope... The glossary entries signify the editors' concern for clarity and intelligibility... The Encyclopedia shows that [Ramachandran] understands what it takes to present complex knowledge to a diverse audience... The text is clear and readable... Carefully crafted, well written, and thoroughly indexed, the Encyclopedia of Human Behavior will help people, whether they are specialists in a branch of psychology orstudents just beginning the formal study of that broad field, understand the field as well as themselves and their fellow humans and how and why we behave as we do."
"Just as scholarly as but more accessible than Corsini...and more scholarly than but equally concerned about clarity and user convenience as Magill...[The Encyclopedia] treats broader topics. Among these are biofeedback, free will, habit, love andintimacy, problem solving, sensation seeking, and visual perception...This new encyclopedia will serve a broader audience than either of the others."
--WILSON LIBRARY BULLETIN
"Both the bright side (Altruism, Language Development, Social Support) and the dark side (Alzheimer's Disease, Suicide, War) of human nature and human experience are described and analyzed in this scholarly encyclopedia's 250 signed articles."
--BOOKLIST/REFERENCE BOOKS BULLETIN
"[Adolescence] is an accurate and integrative summary of the state of the science of research, theory, and practice on adolescence. [Holbeck's] coverage is superb, accurate, and to the point."
--DENNIS R. PAPINI, Western Illinois University, Macomb
"As the founder of self-efficacy theory, Bandura has done an impressive job of keeping up with the remarkably expanding research base. Though necessarily condensed, his covererage in [Self-Efficacy] is thorough and covers most or all of what I'd considerthe key applications."
--ROBERT W. LENT, Michigan State University, Lansing
"As expected, [Genius, Eminence, and Giftedness] is authoritative, informative, provocative, and well written."
--ABRAHAM J. TANNENBAUM, Columbia University, New York, New York
"[Musical Ability is] wonderfully succinct and well organized!"
--ALBERT LEBLANC, Michigan State University, East Lansing
"[Schizophrenia is a] first-rate job!"
--STEVEN O. MOLDIN, University of California, San Diego
"I have read [Operant Learning] by Dr. Angermeier with great interest. I think his analysis of the operant behavior is one of the best that I have read."
--WILLIAM T. JAMES, University of Georgia, Athens
"[Interpersonal Communication is] one of the best overview articles on the Antisocial Personality--Excellent!"
--PHILLYS M. JOHNSON