Introductory psychology textbooks are rife with factual errors and often present information in a way that is politically correct, a new study discovered.
The peer-reviewed study “Education or Indoctrination: The Accuracy of Introductory Psychology Textbooks in Covering Controversial Topics and Urban Legends about Psychology” was published by Professor Christopher Ferguson of Stetson University this December.
Ferguson and his team analyzed how 24 commonly assigned intro-textbooks presented 12 issues to their readers, including such potentially controversial subjects as “media violence,” “stereotype threat,” and “evolution and mating choices.”
Researchers then analyzed whether the textbooks provided fair and accurate information on these topics. In particular, for controversial topics, researchers sought to determine whether “the textbook provided fair, comprehensive and accurate coverage of both sides of the debate.”
“[T]extbooks had difficulty covering controversial areas of research carefully, often not noting scholarly debate or divergent evidence where it existed” the study found.
For example, one of these controversial topics is the relationship between evolution and mating choices. Ferguson found “that textbook authors may shy away from discussing evolutionary influences in favor of standard socialization models of such behaviors.”