On first look, you would not expect a subject such as psychology to feature prominently in the CAT exam. But it does. From passages on psychological experiments to game theory, CAT does feature passages from this topic on a regular basis.
Why does CAT ask reading comprehensions from psychology?
To test your understanding of the abstract and complex text, that's why. Since the material asked in the CAT exam also needs to carry a novelty factor, we see a lot of non-fiction topics that make an appearance in the exam. Most of these are from art subjects such as psychology/philosophy/sociology, etc.
How can this tricky matter of CAT passages be handled?
Simple: read a few of these abstract topics before the CAT exam. The target of such an approach is not to make you a psychologist but rather to acquaint you with the different kinds of passages featuring in the exam. You read these books not to become a master of the subject but just to expose yourself to the terminology and general language structure adopted by these subjects.
Five Books that you can refer to:
1. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks:
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales is a 1985 book by neurologist Oliver Sacks describing the case histories of some of his patients. The book comprises of twenty-four essays split into four sections each of which deals with a particular aspect of brain function
2. Predictably Irrational:
The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely: In this book, the author challenges readers' assumptions about making decisions based on rational thought. Ariely explains, "My goal, by the end of this book, is to help you fundamentally rethink what makes you and the people around you tick. I hope to lead you there by presenting a wide range of scientific experiments, findings, and anecdotes that are in many cases quite amusing. Once you see how systematic certain mistakes are--how we repeat them again and again--I think you will begin to learn how to avoid some of them"
3. Civilization and Its Discontents by Sigmund Freud:
Written in 1929, it is considered one of Freud's most important and widely read works. In this seminal book, Sigmund Freud enumerates what he sees as the fundamental tensions between civilization and the individual.
4. Memories, Dreams, and Reflections by C.G. Jung:
Memories, Dreams, Reflections is a partially autobiographical book by Swiss psychologist Carl Jung and an associate, Aniela Jaffé. The book details Jung's childhood, his personal life, and his exploration of the psyche.
5. How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker:
The book attempts to explain some of the human mind's poorly understood functions and quirks in evolutionary terms. Drawing heavily on the paradigm of evolutionary psychology, Pinker covers subjects as diverse as vision, emotion, feminism, and, in the final chapter, "the meaning of life."
A few more psychology texts that you can go through are:
- Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini
- Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert
- Man and His Symbols by C.G. Jung
- The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud
- The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil by Philip G. Zimbardo
- Games People Play by Eric Berne
- Motivation and Personality by Abraham Maslow
- The Psychology of Intelligence by Jean Piaget
- Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
- Modern Man in Search of a Soul by C.G. Jung
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