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Sense and Nonsense in Psychology (Pelican) Paperback – August 27, 1970

4.4 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: Pelican
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd (August 27, 1970)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140203850
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140203851
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 4.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,135,057 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Hans Eysenck was one of the most important and influential psychologists of the 20th century, being at the time of his retirement the most-cited social scientist in the World. He was especially known for advocating "the highest degree of scientific rigour in the design of psychological experiments and [being] very critical of much loose thinking current at present under the guise of 'psychology'" (from the cover).

In the course of his career he produced several pioneering books demystifying psychology for the general public: in particular a seminal trilogy (later expanded to a quartet) for Penguin. He was an exceptionally lucid and entertaining writer, and the books sold millions of copies and were translated into several other languages. The quartet comprises:

Uses and Abuses of Psychology (1953)
Sense and Nonsense in Psychology (1957)
Fact and Fiction in Psychology (1965)
Psychology is about People (1977)

In the first part of "Sense and Nonsense" the author takes the discussion further afield than "Uses and Abuses", dealing with matters such as hypnosis, lie detectors and truth drugs, the interpretation of dreams, and even telepathy and clairvoyance. As always, his purpose is to sort out the wheat from the chaff; there is considerable discussion of the reliability of human testimony.
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This is Eysenck's first book for the common reader. It is an old classic but still useful for the first year psychology student. The book describes the pits into which psychology can and has fallen, and the remedies that can be applied. A strong dependence on statistics and the experimental method is emphasized as essential to good psychology.

The book is divided into four sections: Intelligence Testing, Vocational Psychology, Abnormal Behaviour, and, Social Attitudes. Can an intelligence test administered to an eight year old predict adult performance? Is interviewing a good way of selecting the best applicant for a job? Is there such a thing as 'normal' behaviour? Can surveys such as the Gallup poll be of assistance to psychologists? Eysenck answers these and other questions admirably.

One classic study is worth mentioning in more detail. Statisticians found that both psychoanalysis and electro-convulsive-therapy cured about one third of neurotic patients. These figures suggest moderate success for both treatments. An examination of patients who received no treatment at all, however, revealed a spontaneous recovery rate of about one third. So would you consider a series of ECT advisable? Interestingly that treatment is still used in some hospitals today.

Eysenck's study of Anti-Semitism and the Fascist mind remains very relevant. This is particularly so in the light of the new Christian and Islamic fundamentalisms in the West and the East.

A book not to be missed by anyone interested in psychology.
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Format: Paperback
Eysenck wrote a series of four books introducing the common reader to psychology. This is the second in the set.

The book is divided into two parts. Part One is entitled and covers the subjects of hypnosis and suggestibility, lie detectors, ESP and the interpretation of dreams. Part Two is entitled covering personality tests, conditioning, the psychology of politics and the psychology of aesthetics.

I found the chapter on hypnosis and suggestibility the most interesting in the book. It provides a historical survey of the subject along with a detailed discussion of the phenomena covering special subjects such as "Who is more susceptible to hypnosis?" Eysenck is a strict scientific empiricist so it came as some surprise to me that the subject of ESP is treated favorably leaving the reader with the informed opinion the there may certainly be something real in the belief. I found the chapter on aesthetics interesting but the least convincing that psychology had something to say on the subject. I am afraid the experiments reported seemed very simplistic, underestimating what we would call 'beautiful' when we look at a complex painting.
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Format: Paperback
Social Psychology In A Nutshell

This is Eysenck's first book for the common reader. It is an old classic but still useful for the first year psychology student. The book describes the pits into which psychology can and has fallen, and the remedies that can be applied. A strong dependence on statistics and the experimental method is emphasized as essential to good psychology.

The book is divided into four sections: Intelligence Testing, Vocational Psychology, Abnormal Behaviour, and, Social Attitudes. Can an intelligence test administered to an eight year old predict adult performance? Is interviewing a good way of selecting the best applicant for a job? Is there such a thing as 'normal' behaviour? Can surveys such as the Gallup poll be of assistance to psychologists? Eysenck answers these and other questions admirably.

One classic study is worth mentioning in more detail. Statisticians found that both psychoanalysis and electro-convulsive-therapy cured about one third of neurotic patients. These figures suggest moderate success for both treatments. An examination of patients who received no treatment at all, however, revealed a spontaneous recovery rate of about one third. So would you consider a series of ECT advisable? Interestingly that treatment is still used in some hospitals today.

Eysenck's study of Anti-Semitism and the Fascist mind remains very relevant. This is particularly so in the light of the new Christian and Islamic fundamentalisms in the West and the East.

A book not to be missed by anyone interested in psychology.
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