Psychology Without History And Society

Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date


Published In

Contemporary Psychology


Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1982, Vol 27(5), 360-361. Reviews the book, Psychology Misdirected by Seymour B. Sarason (1981). In this book, the author makes a vital contribution to the literature of dissent. It is a volume that will be welcomed by those concerned with transforming the discipline, that will generate lively interest within the applied sector, and that will probably be resisted by the committed traditionalist. At the outset, Sarason takes psychological inquiry to task for its virtually exclusive focus on individual psychological functioning. In its preoccupation with discovering fundamental laws of learning, cognition, motivation, and the like, psychology has blinded itself to both the historical and the societal context of human activity. In effect, argues Sarason, psychologists have generally failed to understand the extent to which human behavior is contingent on and enmeshed within existing institutions.

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