6 Books for Psychology Students

By: Jenna Savage

Whether you’re a psychology enthusiast taking a couple of psychology classes for fun or a psychology major planning to go from your bachelor’s degree to your doctorate, there are a variety of books out there that explore psychological topics. If you’re looking for some supplementary learning material, or even if you just want something to read on the side, check out the books in the list below. They are all books that every psychology student should have on his or her bookshelf.

  1. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks.
    In his time as a neurologist, Dr. Oliver Sacks has seen a lot of strange maladies – from tics to hallucinations. His book describes some of the cases he has encountered over his career and illustrates the tragedy of brain injuries and impairments, while also describing his view on treatment.
  2. Why People Believe Weird Things by Michael Shermer.
    In this book, Dr. Michael Shermer – a former student of both psychology and the history of science – discusses superstition, conspiracy theories, and pseudoscience. He explores why odd beliefs exist among people today. Readers will learn about how people seek out patterns and meaning as Shermer delves into the psychology behind belief.
  3. The Lobotomist: A Maverick Genius and His Tragic Quest to Rid the World of Mental Illness by Jack El-Hai.
    In this book, Jack El-Hai shares the history of Walter Freeman, M.D., a doctor who hoped to change mental health with the lobotomy. Compiled from interviews with Freemans family and documents left behind by Freeman himself, this book gives the reader a little bit of insight into the history of psychological treatment.
  4. An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison.
    In short, this book is about a woman’s struggle with bipolar disorder – her story of her illness, the diagnosis, and her road to treatment. However, this book is also more than just a memoir. Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison is patient, but she is also a doctor herself – a psychiatrist who treats patients with similar illnesses. Her book provides a point of view from both sides of mental illness.
  5. Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind by V.S. Ramachandran and Sandra Blakeslee.
    This book is a must-read for aspiring neuropsychologists. The authors explore the unsettling side of mental impairments that result from brain injuries and other impairments. Ranging from phantom limbs to the way the brain conceives of the self, this book delves into neurological disorders and other “phantoms” that affect the brain.
  6. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association by Robert Peters.
    While not as fun of a read as the other books on this list, the APA’s publication manual is a must-have for any psychology student. Though it’s not a book that one would read from cover-to-cover, it provides guidelines on the APA style, ethics, and statistics – all of which come into play during a psychology student’s academic career.