Most influential psychology books and articles?
November 20, 2008 9:32 PM   Subscribe

What have been the most influential articles and books in psychology (esp. articles)? Any amazing reading lists, or anthologies? I'm talking the whole gamut -- social, developmental, clinical, physiological, cognitive, etc. -- and only the most universally acknowledged important works. Thanks!
posted by shivohum to Science & Nature (13 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
It sounds from your other classes like your undergrad degree was not in psych but you want to enter a master's program in psych. This means you would do well to get a systematic introduction to the field (as opposed to someone who is just interested in reading up, generally, over a long period).

The best way to do this is to search up two things:
1. what courses are required for the psych major at a few good colleges.
2. what works are on the syllabi for those courses

You might also benefit from going on Amazon and getting a used copy of an old edition of the textbooks they're using in those courses. Shouldn't be too expensive, and it will give you a start on the vocabulary, and a framework to fit all the historical works (Freud, whatever else you're inclined to read) and the more current literature.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:19 PM on November 20, 2008

It sounds from your other classes
It sounds from your other questions
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:20 PM on November 20, 2008

Stanley Milgram's works come to mind.

Find the original articles and read them, not just the internet summaries. Then look over your shoulder and consider how sturdy your backbone really is.
posted by coffeefilter at 11:40 PM on November 20, 2008

I just wrote a paper for an upper-level undergraduate biology/psychology class about the high rate of depression in women compared to men. Apparently in the area of female unipolar depression, Nolen-Hoeksema is a pretty big name. Her 1987 paper, "Sex differences in unipolar depression: Evidence and theory," appears to be pretty well known.
posted by rybreadmed at 11:48 PM on November 20, 2008

-George Miller's 7 +/- 2
-Atkinson, R.C. & Shiffrin, R.M. (1968) Human memory: A proposed system and its control processes. In K.W. Spence and J.T. Spence (Eds.), The psychology of learning and motivation, vol. 8. London: Academic Press. (aka The Atkin
-Baddeley, A.D., & Hitch, G. (1974). Working memory. In G.H. Bower (Ed.), The psychology of learning and motivation: Advances in research and theory (Vol. 8, pp. 47--89). New York: Academic Press.

-Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. (1974). Judgment under uncertainty: Heuristics and biases. Science, 185, 1124-1131
posted by knile at 5:15 AM on November 21, 2008

You should try the Classics in the History of Psychology website. It has many good papers and books online.
posted by RussHy at 8:27 AM on November 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

Off the top of my head you would do well to read articles by the following.

Historical names you should read: Ebinghaus, Milgrim, Atkinson & Shiffrin, Zimbardo, William James, Freud I guess, Wilhelm Wundt, Carl Rogers, Skinner, any of the studies on H.M., Watson, Baddeley, Asch, Festinger, Pavlov, Thorndike, Wertheimer, Maslow, George Miller, Erik Erickson, Piaget, Allport, Lewin, Bandura, Titchner, Ellis, Benit, Adler, Frankl, Horney, Rosenberg.

A few modern social or memory (big names that I am interested, YMMV): Loftus, Kernis, Deci & Ryan, Baumeister
posted by Silvertree at 10:42 AM on November 21, 2008

Pinker also.
posted by rlef98 at 10:59 AM on November 21, 2008

I used to be a psych major, and my specialty was in trauma psychology (my university has a wonderful department, so we had really specialized courses). I recommend these two on that topic:

Trauma and Recovery


Too Scared to Cry

Both are wonderful introductions to the field. Too Scared is the easier read, however.
posted by aliceinreality at 12:06 PM on November 21, 2008

Ugh. Binet not Benit.
posted by Silvertree at 12:26 PM on November 21, 2008

I have been reading The Story of Psychology by Morton Hunt which is basically a history of psychology from the ancient Greeks through last year - covering all the divergent pathways the schools of thought have taken. Hunt is a top journalist in the field and his writing is much more pleasant than a professor's. I highly recommend it as a broad overview of Psychology.
posted by iurodivii at 1:11 PM on November 21, 2008

The book Forty Studies That Changed Psychology might be useful.
posted by mediareport at 4:23 PM on November 21, 2008

You want the Discovering Psychology video series, narrated by Philip Zimbardo of Stanford Prison Experiment fame. It covers the gamut of psychology as it was known at the time of publication in 1990 and updated in 2001. You may be able to get it at your local library or university.
posted by Muffy at 9:56 PM on November 21, 2008

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