David's Reviews > A New Unified Theory of Psychology

A New Unified Theory of Psychology by Gregg Henriques
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's review
Sep 28, 2011

it was amazing

Summarizing it would be well beyond me, but the author takes on the extremely ambitious challenge of defining psychology, articulating conceptually its relations with other sciences, identifying its key theoretical principles, and resolving its various schisms (research/practice, neuroscience/social science, animal/human, bewildering array of seemingly nonoverlapping theories and therapies).

The intellectual level of the book is incredibly high, but it might actually make a good [though nontraditional -- few visual aids, no "critical thinking" exercises, no pandering descriptions of how the reader might apply findings/concepts to improve her/his own functioning]intro psych text. He has a terrific ability to describe, analyze, and summarize in a few pages massive and complicated areas of research (attributions, cognitive dissonance, behavioral models of depression.......) without getting bogged down in study details.

I especially enjoyed the more personal details and anecdotes the book format gave him the space to include -- e.g., development of the "Justification Hypothesis" as the "joint point" between Mind and Culture takes off from his reflections on why he was late getting home for dinner one night in grad school. And some of his comments on psychotherapy integration take as point of departure detailed analysis of what he observed as project director for a clinical trial of cognitive therapy in prevention of recurrent suicide attempts that never made the final published report of the study.

All told, it's not light reading, but if you enjoy thinking about big picture topics you will find a lot of food for thought here.

Disclaimer: I'm quoted a couple times from a commentary article I published about one of his journal articles on defining psychology and credited on p. 183 with nudging him to state explicitly a concise formal definition of psychology resulting from his analysis. the result:

"Psychology is the science of mental behavior and the human mind, and the professional application of such knowledge toward the greater good"

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