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8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nice try, but the writing is a bit muddled in places., 18 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Understand Psychology: Teach Yourself (Paperback)
Good points:
The content is extremely interesting.
The level of detail is just right for the layperson who knows little or nothing about psychology.

Bad points:
Sometimes the research is summarised a little too briefly, and this can make it a bit hard to understand.
Poorly edited in places.

This book needs a thorough read through by a good editor. Unfortunately, in places, the text gets a bit muddled. The main mistakes are wrong words and paragraphs that just don't make logical sense.

Pages 58-59 alone contain three mistakes:

"Using these eight emotions as the basis for further research, Argyle and Crossland concluded that they could be distilled into four basic dimensions. The first of these dimensions is involvement - how involved we are in what we are doing. When we are having a quiet drink with friends, we tend to be less absorbed that if we were reading a good book or solving an important personal problem. We take things more lightly, and don't plunge into them as deeply."

So, sentences 1, 2 and 3 are fine. But how does sentence 4 fit with the previous text? It would have been better to say something like: "We take some things more lightly and plunge into others more deeply."

There's another mistake in the next paragraph:

"The second dimension is potency - how effective we feel ourselves to be. Some experiences require us to use our abilities fully, in order to achieve success, and those can be very satisfying. But other equally pleasant experiences, like socialising with friends or going to the cinema or a music concert, don't require the same kind of personal effectiveness. That type of experience simply isn't relevant when we are socialising with friends or going to the cinema or a music concert. So, positive emotions can vary depending on how much they involve a feeling of potency on our part."

Sentences 1-3 are fine. But sentence 4 doesn't make sense. I think the text should say: "That type of *effectiveness*...". Also, in my view, sentence 4 is repeating the point made in sentence 3 and therefore sentence 4 could have been cut from the text.

There is another, similar mistake two paragraphs later:

"The fourth dimension is intensity. Some experiences are really quite lightweight: having a hot bath or watching a TV thriller are pleasant, but they are not desperately serious activities. Some positive emotions, though, produce much deeper emotions, such as solving an important personal problem, getting on with loved ones, or feeling overwhelmed by the beauty of nature."

Sentences 1 and 2 are fine. But sentence 3 doesn't make sense. The three examples given are not of emotions; they are examples of experience. I think the text should read: "Some positive *experiences*, though, ...". (This also fits with the previous paragraph, not shown here, which also references positive experiences.)

Maybe I'm being really fussy, but after reading nearly 60 pages of this sort of thing, and finding 3 mistakes in 4 consecutive paragraphs, it starts to get rather annoying.

I guess I will struggle on, as I do find the book interesting and I quite like the style of writing - it is fresh, brief and full of enthusiasm. I really hope the author or publisher don't react badly to my comments, and instead I hope that they find a good editor to check the book before its next edition.
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