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Psychology for beginners

by Hereward Carrington; American Popular Literature Collection.

  Book

Psychology for Beginners    (2014-01-02)

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by wppalmer

CITATION: Carrington, H. (1924.) (edited E. Haldeman-Julius). Psychology for Beginners (Little Blue Book Number 491). Girard, Kansas: Haldeman-Julius Company

Reviewer: Dr W. P. Palmer.

Hereward Carrington’s brief 61 page booklet on ‘Psychology for Beginners in the Little Blue Book series was written in 1924. It was included in Haldeman-Julius’s sixty books selling at $2.98 to schools and students and about 250,000 of these sets were sold over a 20 year period. It means that quarter of a million children obtained their ideas about Psychology from this small book. Likewise for the education of adults this book sold more than 10,000 copies a year for many years. How good a book was it in its time? Psychological knowledge has developed extremely rapidly, so the book is of little practical use today, being totally outdated.

The book has a very simple structure; Carrington listed what he considered to be the different types of psychology ‘the various psychologies’ such as abnormal, animal, religious, educational, individual, crowd, etc. He says a few words about each and refers to books that mention each of the psychologies. After mentioning the senses, Carrington then lists some ideas that he considers important in psychology such as sensation, instinct, emotion, perception, through to motives and conscience. There is little connection between these ideas and he does not appear to see the main threads and main research directions in psychology prior to 1924. The only leading psychologist of the time who he mentions is William James. Carrington also corresponded with Freud but there is little mention of him. The book is full of generalisation and waffle and fails to give a beginner an adequate description of the psychological knowledge of the time.

This is not one of Carrington’s better efforts.

BILL PALMER




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