Psychology from Inquiry to Understanding [Book Review] |

Psychology from Inquiry to Understanding [Book Review]

Psychology from Inquiry to UnderstandingPsychology from inquiry to understanding has been a classroom regular throughout the world since the 60’s and has helped many wannabe psychologists understand some of the most fundamental theories to come out of the field.

From those just starting out to qualified psychologists, the 832 pages offer detailed information that acts as a source of education just as much as a reference that would sit well in on any psychologist’s bookshelf.

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We have broken down our review of psychology from inquiry to understanding in to the following sections:

  • The overall structure of the textbook
  • What topics are covered in the textbook
  • How easy the textbook is to read
  • What updates have been made in the various editions
  • About the authors

We’ve mainly focused on the latest version of the textbook – psychology from inquiry to understanding 3rd edition.

But as will be discussed later on in this article older versions such as the psychology from inquiry to understanding 2nd edition still holds some value to psychology students.

Psychology from Inquiry to Understanding: Overall Structure of the Book

From the offset the textbook shows a clear cut outline that is easy to understand. The table of contents not only listed the chapters’ main point, but also every major heading and then the major subheadings under that in that chapter with page numbers attached.

This is useful as you are able to see at a glance what is contained within the various chapters, so if you have an idea of what you’re looking for you can quickly scan the contents and skip to the right page.

The preface explains in detail how to use the book and what updates the book has made from the previous edition. While this might seem a bit basic, its actually a very useful section for those new to using textbooks.

The Structure of Chapters:

Chapters are broken down into major headings that are bolded and colour coded to help the reader see that they are entering a new topic. Under each major heading there are key points you should learn from that section of the book.

Psychology from inquiry to understanding chapters

Chapters are then broken down into further sub-headings before the meat of the book.

Key terms are bolded for easy reference, and there are lots of pictures to help focus on  important points, this is a common feature with images used on most pages of the textbook.

As well as images pages include charts, bullet points, lists, and little questionnaires to make the information stand out more and again to reiterate their points.   

Chapters are generally around 50 pages in length, which at first can seem overwhelming but this level of detail aids understanding of the more complicated theories and ideas.

What Topics are covered in the Textbook?

The main topics covered within psychology from inquiry to understanding include:

  • Scientific thinking
  • Research methods
  • Biological psychology
  • Sensation and perception
  • Consciousness
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Language
  • IQ Testing
  • Human development
  • Emotion and motivation
  • Social psychology
  • Personality
  • Psychological disorders
  • Psychological and biological treatments

Comprehensibility of the Text:

This textbook is very easy to understand.

Feedback from students is always very positive about the efforts the authors of this textbook have gone to explain difficult ideas that are brought up.

Unlike some textbooks, readers don’t have to whip out a dictionary and google to help them through this as explanations are supplied as and when needed throughout the book.

How useful is this book?

Most students found this textbook extremely useful for introductory psychology in college.

It explained things well and engaged the audience. It was an easy read and highly entertaining as well. It’s a very useful tool to start introductory psychology but because of its’ basic knowledge, it also begins to touch on advanced psychology.

It touches a bit on every topic one might be interested in going into psychology and gives you a point to jump from to begin your own research and further your education.

One of the things we really liked about this book is the ‘do you know these terms?’ sections that offer a great quick revision aid to make sure you’ve remembered key terms:


The book is also supplied with a programme: MyPsychLab. This programme goes into depth on the topics covered in the book and helps gives greater clarity.

The hyper-linked, solutions-based table of contents helps students quickly find the case study that aligns best with their goals and challenges.

MyPsychLab also includes audio files of the chapters, self-testing places, and an interactive e-book.

What’s different in the newer Editions

This latest edition of Psychology from inquiry to understanding has fixed many of the small errors and annoyances that were present in the previous edition.

But the main updates that have been made in this edition are updates to the scientific underpinnings of the book that bring the textbook in line with the very latest research and findings.

But does that mean the 3rd edition is a must?

Not necessarily, for enthusiasts or those just starting out with psychology the 2nd edition offers greater value for money that still offers a great introduction to many longstanding psychological theories.

About the Authors of the book

The lead author of psychology from inquiry to understanding is Dr. Scott O. Lilienfeld.

As well as psychology from inquiry to understanding Dr. Lilienfeld has authored and coauthored 7 books and over 200 journal articles.

Dr Lilienfeld is also the founding editor of Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice as well as being editor of several other journals and regular columnist for Scientific American Mind magazine.

The other 3 authors of psychology from inquiry to understanding who all have a great range of experience and work history are Steven Jay Lynn, Laura L Namy and Nancy J Woolf.

Should you buy this book?

Psychology from inquiry to understanding is a great tool to help students begin their journey into psychology.

The book is fascinating and very helpful. It’s a tool to help readers dip their toe into the world of psychology and it isn’t pushy or annoying when it does so. It is a great interactive book that gets the audience to think scientifically and with a new perspective of what they thought they knew.

The Psych Lab that goes along with it helps students study and make better grades when they’re taking the course.

The voice of the book is on a student level that makes most feel comfortable and less intimidated when reading it. Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding, Books a la Carte Edition (3rd Edition) should be definitely be on any intro to psychology must read list.

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