I have an old book: Statistics for the Behavioural Sciences (4th ed.) by Gravetter & Wallnau. I want to transition my textbooks to eBook format, but this book doesn't come like that (as far as I can tell).

The book is comprehensive in explaining each statistical technique using psychological experiments and has exercises for the reader to complete.

I'm afraid I've lost touch with the cutting edge of stats for behavioural sciences, so I don't know what the best book is.

What is the current recommended equivalent text book?


2 Answers 2


Here's my basic overview of the psychology - statistics textbook market. In general, I think the choice of textbook (where you have a choice) depends on a few factors:

  • Applied versus statistical theory (e.g., do you have immediate needs to analyse data)
  • Whether and which software package you want to use (e.g., SPSS, R, etc.)
  • Which techniques you want learn (e.g., basic bivariate statistics; multivariate stats; etc.)
  • How much mathematical rigour you want; if you can handle it, you'll probably get more out of a book pitched at statistics students.

There are also a number of reasonable online options: E.g., hyperstat for similar material as Gravetter and Wallneau.

Introductory undegraduate textbook

  • Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences Gravetter and Wallneau : This remains popular with many students in psychology as an introduction to statistics. It assumes only that you can do very basic algebra. It has lots of pedagogically helpful components. That said, once you move beyond analysing toy datasets for lab reports and so on, you'll want a more advanced and applied book. When it comes to data analysis it focusses on SPSS.
  • Discovering Statistics Using SPSS (and now Discovering Statistics Using R): Andy Field does a great job of making statistics fun and accessible. It's also fairly practical in the way that it is grounded in using and interpreting analyses in SPSS (and now R).
  • SPSS Survival Manual: This one is more of a cookbook for doing data analysis in SPSS that is suitable for someone analysing their own data in psychology who has only basic training in psychology statistics. It is very applied.
  • David C. Howell Statistical Methods for Psychology: This book is substantially more sophisticated than Gravetter and Wallneau however it does provide an overview of many of the basic techniques. However, it goes into a lot more detail about various factorial designs. It also leaves the student with a much more sophisticated understanding.

Multivariate textbook

  • Tabacknick and Fidell Using Multivariate Statistics: This is a well established book in psychology for teaching multivariate statistics (e.g., multiple regression, factor analysis, ANCOVA, MANOVA, and a little bit of SEM). I think it provides a good introduction for typical psychology students. It focusses on interpretation more than mathematics, but there are still some formulas.
  • Hair et al Multivariate Data Analysis: This is another popular multivariate book in the social sciences. It is very light when it comes to mathematics and focuses a lot more on interpretation and processes for conducting data analysis. This may either be a good or a bad thing depending on your mathematical background.

Baayen's book, Analyzing Linguistic Data: A practical introduction to Statistics using R is a little more niche than possibly you'd want, but it does offer some coverage of mixed effects modelling, without which I'd be reticent to call any psych stats text "cutting edge".


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