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Redding Professor, Frustrated With Textbooks, Writes His Own

Daniel Barrett
Daniel Barrett Photo Credit: contributed

DANBURY, Conn. — 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 -- so he wrote his own.

Barrett is a psychology professor at the Western Connecticut State University and a Redding resident.

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

So he penned his his own book, "Social Psychology Core Concepts and Emerging Trends" -- published in January and available widely online -- as an introduction to social psychology.

Social psychology, he explained, is the study of how individuals are affected by the people and events around them. He 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 Barrett's text discusses 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."

Barrett also is president of WCSU's university senate. Previously, he was director of the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, and the director of Faculty Advising. He earned his Ph.D. in social psychology from Arizona University and his bachelor's degree from Wesleyan University.

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

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