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F., J.C. (1922). An Introduction to Psychology: By Susan S. Brierley, M.A. (Methuen & Co., London, 1921. Pp. 152. Price 5s.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 3:82-83.

(1922). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 3:82-83

An Introduction to Psychology: By Susan S. Brierley, M.A. (Methuen & Co., London, 1921. Pp. 152. Price 5s.)

Review by:
J. C. F.

This little book differs conspicuously from most of the earlier English text books of psychology, in that stress is laid throughout upon the conative and affective rather than upon the purely cognitive aspects of the mind and that due account is taken of the widening of psychological outlook brought about by the results of psycho-analysis. Mrs. Brierley is, indeed, not content with the mere substitution of a dynamic for a static point of view, but even ventures to point out the psychological bases of the errors into which her more rationalistic predecessors have so often fallen (pp. 48 ff.). The insistence throughout upon the biological standpoint has had the beneficial result of making the book far more 'alive' than most of those conscientious and painstaking but often somewhat wearisome treatises, in which much space is allotted to sensation, perception, judgment and reasoning, while emotion, feeling, behaviour and desire are cramped (almost by way of afterthought, it would appear) into a brief chapter or two at the extreme end. Not that the study of the purely intellectual processes or even of the sensations is in itself unimportant or uninteresting: it is rather that the treatment of these aspects of the mind in detachment from the rich, full-blooded life of feeling and desire almost inevitably carries with it (except to the specialist) a sense of artificiality, dulness or even triviality, that makes it unsatisfactory to the student who is making his first acquaintance with psychology. Such a sense of dissatisfaction would probably be felt with more than usual keenness by the class of student that Mrs. Brierley has more particularly in view, namely those who are attending classes organised by the Workers' Educational Association. She has therefore, it would seem, been very well advised to depart from the usual arrangement of text books in the past.


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