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Welcome to Psychology

Welcome to the exciting discipline of psychology!  Did you know that “Introduction to Psychology” remains one of the most popular college courses in the United States?  It’s no mystery why that is the case.  Psychology is a social science with significant applied utility.  As a social science, psychology teaches you about the diverse factors that affect our behavior, whether those variable are biological, social, environmental, emotional, or cognitive.  We come to understand these effects by studying human behavior and mental processes using the scientific process.  In this way, learning about psychology helps you learn how to think like a social scientist.  As an applied discipline, practitioners of psychology (e.g., counselors, clinicians) use their understanding of human behavior to develop and implement practices (i.e., therapies; self-management strategies, interpersonal skills training) that help people live fuller, happier, more productive lives.   Finally, studying psychology can give you greater insight into your own behavior and the behavior of those around you.  That insight can help you better understand why you do the things you do.


This open access textbook has been created with those goals in mind.  It is designed to serve as the primary textbook for Psych 105: Introductory Psychology at Washington State University (WSU).  It was developed by building on the existing Openstax Psychology textbook created by Kathryn Dumper, William Jenkins, Arlene Lacombe, Marilyn Lovett, and Marion Perlmutter (licensed under CC BY v4.0. https://openstax.org/details/books/psychology).  To that foundation, additional content was added from a variety of other open-access resources.  These sources are listed in the reference lists at the end of each unit of the text.


Several individuals made additional content contributions to specific chapters of this textbook, beyond what was included in the original Openstax textbook, including:

Madeline Nagel: Psychological Research, Personality

Allegra Campagna: Biological Basis of Behavior, Memory

Austin Lau: Learning, Sensation & Perception

Benjamin Richardson: Memory, Cognition & Intelligence, Sensation & Perception

Kyle Schofield: Psychological Disorders, Therapy & Treatment

Julie Chrysosferidis: Cognition & Intelligence

Eric Malain: Social Psychology, Personality


We thank these individuals for their work on this project!  Final formatting was completed by Samantha Swindell, clinical professor of psychology at Washington State University and faculty supervisor of the Psych 105 course.  This project was made possible by funds provided by the Office of Academic Outreach and Innovation (AOI) and Office of the Provost as part of a larger university effort to address textbook costs and support great access and academic success for WSU students.

Additional edits were made in the summer of 2019 by Samantha Swindell and Amy Nusbaum, with help from Grace Lim and Nelson Rojas. Nusbaum’s Introductory Psychology students in the spring 2019 semester completed an open pedagogy project that involved proposing changes to this text. Some of these modifications were then incorporated into the text. These modifications were also made possible by funds provided by the Office of Academic Outreach and Innovation (AOI) and Office of the Provost.

The image chosen for the cover of the textbook is a photo taken by Jon Tyson, an open access image available on Upsplash (https://unsplash.com/photos/OdRHKuvoa4M?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText)