Our Minds, Our Selves
A Brief History of Psychology
An original history of psychology told through the stories of its most important breakthroughs and the people who made them
Advances in psychology have revolutionized our understanding of the human mind. Imaging technology allows researchers to monitor brain activity, letting us see what happens when we perceive, think, and feel. But technology is only part of how ideas about the mind and brain have developed over the past century and a half. In Our Minds, Our Selves, distinguished psychologist and writer Keith Oatley provides an engaging, original, and authoritative history of modern psychology told through the stories of its most important breakthroughs and the men and women who made them.
Our Minds, Our Selves traverses a fascinating terrain: forms of conscious and unconscious knowledge; brain physiology; emotion; stages of mental development from infancy to adulthood; language acquisition and use; the nature of memory; mental illness; morality; free will; creativity; the mind at work in art and literature; and, most important, our ability to cooperate with one another. Controversial experiments--such as Stanley Milgram's investigation of our willingness to obey authority and inflict pain and Philip Zimbardo and his colleagues' study of behavior in a simulated prison—are covered in detail. Biographical sketches illuminate the thinkers behind key insights and turning points: historical figures such as Hermann Helmholtz, Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud, Jean Piaget, B. F. Skinner, and Alan Turing; leading contemporaries such as Geoffrey Hinton, Michael Tomasello, and Tania Singer; and influential people from other fields, including Margaret Mead, Noam Chomsky, Jane Goodall, and Gabrielle Starr.
Enhancing our understanding of ourselves and others, psychology holds the potential to create a better world. Our Minds, Our Selves tells the story of this most important of sciences in a new and appealing way.
Keith Oatley is a distinguished academic researcher and teacher, as well as a prize-winning novelist. He has written for scientific journals, the New York Times, New Scientist, Psychology Today, and Scientific American Mind. He is the author of many books, including Such Stuff as Dreams and The Passionate Muse, and a coauthor of the leading textbook on emotion. He is professor emeritus of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto and lives in Toronto.