"The time has gone by when any one person could hope to write an adequate textbook of psychology. The science has now so many branches, so many methods, so many fields of application, and such an immense mass of data of observation is now on record, that no one person can hope to have the necessary familiarity with the whole." - An author of an introductory psychology text
"If we compare general psychology textbooks of today with those of from ten to twenty years ago we note an undeniable trend toward amelioration of terminology, simplification of style, and popularization of subject matter." - A reviewer of an introductory text
When were these remarks made? in the 1980s? The 1960s? Perhaps the 1940s? No, the first quote came from the preface to McDougall's Outline of Psychology, published in 1923 (p.vii). The second quote came from a 1937 review of Vaughn's (1936) General Pscyhology (Ewert, 1937, p.173). These comments, which easily could have come from a contemporary author or reviewer, demonstrate that some aspects of the introductory textbook enterprise have not changed much over the years. Of course, many other facets of introductory textbooks show that they have changed dramatically. Our portrait of 100 years of introductory psychology texts shows that they have been characterized by both stability and change.
Weiten, W. & Wight, R. D. (1992). Portraits of a discipline: An examination of introductory psychology textbooks in America. In C. L. Brewer, A. Puente, & J. R. Matthews (Eds.), Teaching of psychology in America: A history (pp. 453-504). Washington DC: American Psychological Association.