Paul Aleixo and Murray Baillon. Biological psychology: An illustrated survival guide. John Wiley & Sons Ltd., 2008. 278p illustrated bibl index. ISBN 978-0-470-87099-0. $198.95

This innovative take on the traditional textbook provides the reader an opportunity to learn the foundations of biological psychology in an entertaining and engaging way. Organized as a series of “mini-lectures” provided by a nameless illustrated orator, each chapter walks the reader though a key topic within the field- from the physical structure of the brain to memory and learning. By treating each topic as a “mini-lecture”, the content flows more naturally, allowing for historically competing ideas – such as the evolution of our understanding of the fight/flight response – to be discussed more fluidly than standard textbooks on the subject. Included in each illustrated chapter is a series of notes associated with panels providing further information, though it can be difficult at times to connect these notes with their associated panels. The included index is valuable, while the bibliography may have been more useful broken down into component chapters rather than as a complete list at the back of the text. Aleixo’s knowledge, combined with Baillon’s illustrations, while not one-hundred percent biologically accurate, work together to provide an important contribution to the education of future students in biological psychology. Perfect for an entry level course or as an additional study tool at any level of study.

Summing up: Recommended. Academic and Health collections. Undergraduates.


While the CHOICE style review above is my preference for reviewing academic texts, it doesn’t offer a great deal of freedom for candid discussion. If you’d like to hear more thoughts about this – or any of my reviews – please don’t hesitate to ask, either in the comments or on Twitter @NoetheMatt.

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