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Cognitive psychology is at heart of biggest issues

Published: 4 January 2024 at 15:54

Professor Laurie Butler

ARU Professor’s new textbook addresses some of world’s most pressing problems

Laurie Butler, who is a Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), has co-authored a unique textbook that demonstrates how the constantly evolving discipline of cognitive psychology is at the heart of the biggest issues facing us today.

Cognitive Psychology in a Changing World (Routledge) focuses on key topics such as creativity, problem-solving, reasoning, rationality and language, all within the context of modern 21st century life.

Cognitive psychology allows us to understand the processes by which people think, shape and make sense of the world, which in turn can lead to better decision-making.

The book focuses on key real-world issues to show how we understand and experience life around us, and Professor Butler and co-authors Professor Linden Ball, Dr Sue Sherman and Dr Helen St-Clair Thompson look at questions such as why some people are seemingly more creative than others, and why human behaviour can be so difficult to predict.

Professor Butler said:

“The discipline of cognitive psychology has never been so important, helping us to understand the 21st century and how we shape our surroundings through our behaviour and actions.

“We live in an ever faster, more inter-connected and changing world, where there are now more mobile phones than people. It’s an era when a split-second decision could trigger a global financial crisis, man-made climate change threatens our planet, and a global pandemic can bring the world to a near standstill.

“This textbook presents a new way of studying cognitive psychology that truly brings this subject to life and we are delighted that the British Psychological Society has chosen it as the first in their flagship textbook program, the BPS Core Textbooks Series.”

Commenting on the book, David Shanks, Professor and Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Brain Sciences, UCL, said:

“Our fundamental understanding of how the mind works has grown exponentially over the past few decades, but what does basic research on perception, memory, attention, and reasoning tell us about human behaviour in the real world? How can it guide us as we confront such challenges as quantifying risks, coping with climate change and pandemics, and adapting to new technology? 
Cognitive Psychology in a Changing World makes a compelling and highly readable case that cognitive psychology provides an essential tool for understanding why people act as they do.”

Professor Butler has written Cognitive Psychology in a Changing World with Dr Helen St Clair-Thompson, Reader in Psychology at Newcastle University; Dr Susan Sherman, Reader in Psychology at Keele University; and Linden Ball, Professor of Cognitive Psychology at the University of Central Lancashire. 

The book is published by Routledge and more information is available at https://www.routledge.com/Cognitive-Psychology-in-a-Changing-World/Ball-Butler-Sherman-Clair-Thompson/p/book/9780367703516