Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version

August 2005


Published in Applied Cognitive Psychology, 19 (2005), pp. 815–816. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Published online in Wiley InterScience Used by permission.


This book, which is part of the American Psychological Association’s Decade of Behavior series, is both less and more than it seems. Its title sounds like it would be suitable for a cognitive psychology laboratory course, but its scope is too narrow for that. It focuses largely on a relatively small subset of applied cognitive psychological topics—education, training, and testing—and the research traditions of three (albeit three distinguished and influential) researchers: Lyle Bourne, Walter Kintsch, and Thomas Landauer. In that sense, then, the book is less than it seems. In another sense, though, it is more than it seems. In using these research domains for exemplary purposes, it attempts, as few others have done, to bridge the gap (some might say “gulf”) between basic and applied cognitive psychology (see Neisser, 1978). And at this task it succeeds admirably.

To be fair, the volume never purports to be a comprehensive overview of applied cognitive psychology; rather, it serves two purposes. First, it brings together “contributions by some of the most significant contemporary experimental psychologists working in cognition ... so that [their] ideas and results can be integrated for use by practitioners in the field” (p. xiii). Second, it serves as a triple festschrift in honour of Bourne, Kintsch, and Landauer, who recently retired from the University of Colorado after many years of service. The chapters were originally presented at a conference in their honour.