Jerome Kagan is professor of psychology emeritus, Harvard
University, and was co-director of the Mind/Brain/Behavior
Interfaculty Initiative at Harvard.
"'In this compelling academic memoir, Kagan draws on decades of his own and others' research in education and child development to challenge the assumption that early childhood experience determines adult disposition... Written with masterly clarity and accessibility, Kagan's history of a young science and of his own contributions to it will inspire and enrich all those interested in educational and child psychology." Publishers Weekly (starred review)"
A career in science resembles the psychological development of a person," writes Kagan, a distinguished psychology professor emeritus at Harvard. "A small number of early assumptions are preserved for a lifetime, a larger number are rejected, and, if chance is kind, some new ideas are added to the network that guides the next question." In this compelling academic memoir, Kagan draws on decades of his own and others' research in education and child development to challenge the assumption that early childhood experience determines adult disposition. Paying close attention to the role of cultural differences, Kagan critiques contemporary American values-rampant materialism, individualism, obsession with sexual pleasure and lack of interest in community life-yet optimistically forecasts an imminent change of values. As he reflects on past projects, Kagan illuminates the subtleties of social class in child development, children's moral development, the role of such categories as religion or ethnicity and the importance of identification with these categories. Perhaps most fascinating is his intricate discussion of his research on temperament. Written with masterly clarity and accessibility, Kagan's history of a young science and of his own contributions to it will inspire and enrich all those interested in educational and child psychology. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
In this intellectual autobiography, Kagan (psychology, emeritus, Harvard Univ.; Birth to Maturity) gives an overview of his theories and research on human development as well as the history of the field of psychology in the last half century. Known for longitudinal studies of children and major interest in biological temperament, Kagan here also emphasizes culture, historical period, and ethical self-judgment in explaining behavior. He points out the shortcomings of behaviorism, psychoanalysis, and evolutionary psychology and argues that brain science may divide psychology but will never replace it. His writing suffers from a pell-mell rush of research findings that will overwhelm all but the specialist, though general readers will find the chapters "Human Morality" and the concluding "Celebrating Mind" accessible and stimulating. Kagan displays broad knowledge of science, literature, art, and history but relatively little self-disclosure. He also gives too short shrift to Judith Rich Harris, who challenges him in her very readable No Two Alike: Human Nature and Human Individuality. For academic and larger general collections.-E. James Lieberman, George Washington Univ. Sch. of Medicine, Washington, DC Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.