WCSU professor dissatisfied with social psychology textbooks ... so he writes his own

Image of a Mike Corrado photographDANBURY, CONN. Western Connecticut State University Professor of Psychology Dr. Daniel Barrett was unhappy with the textbooks in his field. None of them worked with his style of teaching, and all of them were overloaded with unnecessary facts.

“I believe in depth rather than breadth,” he said. “It is more important to know core material well than to know a lot of it at a superficial level.”

So he wrote his own book, “Social Psychology Core Concepts and Emerging Trends,” published by Sage Press in January, as an introduction to social psychology. Social psychology, Barrett explained, is the study of how the individual is affected by the people and events around them.

Barrett started by looking at the basic topics taught in social psychology courses and switched them around to focus on the core concepts and most promising emerging topics in the field. Then he thoroughly researched each topic, combining classic and contemporary theory and research to weave a complete picture. Some of the topics discussed include the social self; the scientific study of the brain; social perception; social influence; attitudes and persuasion; love and affiliation; group processes; helping ; prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination; and the emerging research trends on happiness, religion, and sustainability.  At various steps along the way, eight WestConn students, plus another from a different university, provided valuable assistance.

“I wanted my book to be easily accessible to students and teachers,” he said. “I kept the content focused and left out all the extraneous and oftentimes trivial information that other books contain . I also focused on pedagogy, the study of learning, and incorporated various special features to help students with their learning and professors with their teaching.”

In addition to being a professor at Western, Barrett also is president of WCSU’s university senate. Previously, he has served as the director of the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, and the director of Faculty Advising. He earned a Ph.D. in social psychology from Arizona University and his bachelor’s degree at Wesleyan University.


For more information, contact Barrett at barrettd@wcsu.edu.


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