The Handy Psychology Answer Book may be the the most approachable, fun to read text book one will ever find. While divided into sections by topic, it’s hard to not just read cover to cover because the guide book is so interesting.
Dr. Cohen, a licensed clinical psychologist and associate professor of clinical psychology has written more than 70 articles in professional journals and 14 book chapters, and in writing this guidebook, she has excelled in explaining human behavior.
There are many photographs that help increase interest. A fun example is in the section on Pavlovian conditioning where she features a photo of a bull dog puppy keenly focused on a bowl of food.
Famous (or infamous) individuals / organizations are used as examples of various elements of psychology, including Patty Hearst (victim of torture, kidnapping), and O.J. Simpson (perpetrator of domestic violence) for Psychology of Trauma; Ted Bundy (mass murder) and the Enron executives (fraud) for Psychopathy; Bernard Madoff (Ponzi scheme) for rationalizing immoral behavior; and Kelly Micahels (child molestation) for Forensic Psychology.
Dr. Cohen uses folk psychology (‘When the cat’s away, the mice will play’, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained’), as well as the classic suspense film Psycho, to explain the basics of psychology.
Cohen discusses current trends in mental illness such as the increase in the number of cases of autism and Asperger’s syndrome.
In addition to providing answers to more than 800 questions pertaining to psychology, Cohen’s answer book also includes a glossary, index, and comprehensive bibliography.