Free Psychology Textbooks

Following soft on the heels of the open-source Psychology textbook comes a brief selection of additional psychology texts you and your students may or may not find useful. The list includes 4 complete textbooks, either released under a Creative Commons license or as an out-of-print edition a of current textbook. You need to be aware, if you use them, these texts are a few years “out of date” (I’ve avoided including anything more than 10 years old) and don’t exactly match any UK A-level Specification. While most, if not all, of the following are generally aimed at an American undergraduate “Introductory Psychology” audience the information is generally reflective of a-level psychology, albeit more A2 than AS.

1. Psychology: Themes and Variations (7th edition)
This American “Introductory Psychology textbook”, probably released around 2009 in this version, is mainly aimed at first year undergraduates (Psychology 101, at a guess) but its design and content probably makes most, if not necessarily all, of the information it contains suitable for a-level students.

2. Psychology 4th edition (2010) 
Although this is, broadly-speaking, an American textbook it has both an “International Perspective” in terms of its content and a strong British input from a variety of authors and contributors. It has, perhaps, a more text-heavy approach to content than some contemporary texts but if you’re looking to stretch your students with  more depth and detail this may be worth a look.

3. What Is Psychology 3rd edition (2009)
Another “Introductory text” with a much more contemporary look-and-feel.  While there’s still a substantial amount of text this is lightened by the judicious uses of pictures, tables, graphics and that all-important “white space” without which no modern textbook would be complete.

4. Introduction to Psychology (2013)
Released under a Creative Commons license, this text makes fewer concessions to contemporary design, but the trade-off is a lot more text – and this means more depth and detail crammed into its many pages. One downside – unless you’re North American or deeply into comparative psychology – is the fact the text, graphics, examples and so forth are specifically adapted to a Canadian audience.


I’ve recently stumbled upon a couple of A2 Psychology chapters from a UK text called Exploring Psychology (2009) that might be worth a look:

Biological Rhythms and Sleep

Psychological Research and Scientific Method

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