Booklist Reviews 2008 February #2
Social psychology, defined in this encyclopedia's introduction as "the study of how ‘normal' people think, feel, and act," is part of all academic psychology departments. As is the case with most subdisciplines, the field has its own vocabulary, usage of terms, and history. Although there are numerous encyclopedias of psychology as a whole, there has been little published specifically in the area of social psychology. In the introduction, editors Baumeister (Florida State University) and Vohs (University of Minnesota) make a special point of describing how they sought only experts in the field to write the articles, and how those articles are designed to meet the needs of readers who are new to the field, without being simplistic. This is, in all its aspects, an excellent example of a subject encyclopedia. More than 550 entries cover diverse topics and follow a clear and easy-to-understand format. Each begins with a definition and ends with see also references and a list of further readings. At the front of each volume are an alphabetical list of entries as well as a "Reader's Guide," which sorts entries into thematic groupings. At the end of each volume is a comprehensive index. There are no biographical entries. Examples of entries include Belief perseverance, Culture of honor, Door-in-the-face technique, Group cohesiveness, Path analysis, Romantic love, Sexual economics theory, and Sleeper effect. As a comparison, none of these concepts are covered as separate entries in Encyclopedia of Psychology (Oxford, 2000). This is not to say that the information might not be available in other sources but merely to show that there is a unique quality to the vocabulary of a subdiscipline that might not be given sufficient coverage in the literature of the larger science. Academic libraries where social psychology is a strong part of the curriculum will want to own this, as will large public libraries where there is interest in the subject. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2008 February #2
The 1995 Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social Psychology was a first step toward defining the emerging field of social psychology. Then in 2003, Magill's Encyclopedia of Social Science: Psychology sought to take the next significant step. Baumeister (Florida State Univ.) and Vohs's (Univ. of Minnesota) two-volume compendium of 600 A-to-Z entries further bridges the gap and brings the research in the discipline up to date. Written clearly and concisely, it is a significant source of information on key concepts, definitions, issues, and implications in the field today. The use of bold headings and subheadings, detailed descriptions of terms, annotated bibliographies, and the comprehensive index all help make the work set the price. BOTTOM LINE Boasting an extensive list of contributors and an impressive amount of detail throughout, this is an excellent tool for undergraduates, practitioners, graduates, and researchers. Essential for academic libraries. [Available electronically through Sage eReference as well as through the Gale Virtual Reference Library.]—Marianne E. Giltrud, Catholic Univ. of America Libs., Washington, DC[Page 130]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.