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What makes a human a human? In The Human Spark, pioneering psychologist Jerome Kagan offers an answer in a sweeping narrative of our personal, moral, and cultural development. In this extended meditation on human psychology as well as the methods, successes, and failures of the scientists who study it. Kagan calls out the shortcomings of the modern fad for neuroscience, and questions psychiatry's quickness to pathologize the behavior of the young. More importantly, he reminds us that our lives, however influenced by biology and upbringing, are still a tapestry to be woven, not an outcome to be endured. Whether the reader is a first-time parent wondering what influence she, her genes, and the wider world will have on her child; an educator seeking insight into the development of her students; or simply a curious soul seeking self-knowledge, Kagan makes an expert and companionable guide.
This accessible book draws on unique evidence from oral histories and little-known archive material to shed new light on the working relationships which led to John Bowlby's shift from psychoanalysis to ethology as a frame of reference - and ultimately to the development of attachment theory.A unique exploration of the origins of Bowlby's ideas and the critical transformation in his thinking - offers an alternative to standard accounts of the origin of attachment theoryExplores the significance of Bowlby's influential working relationships with Robert Hinde, Harry Harlow, James Robertson and Mary AinsworthProvides students, academics, and practitioners with clear insights into the development of attachment theoryAccessible to general readers interested in psychology and psychoanalysis
Continuing with the character and spirit of previous editions, Don Baucum and Carolyn Smith join Jerome Kagan and Julius Segal to create a streamlined text with a free integrated study guide. The text follows a developmental theme, with an emphasis on diversity coverage and critical thinking. In many chapters, the developmental theme is highlighted by a Life Span Perspective feature that shows students the relevance of chapter topics to the development of a human life, and that helps them make connections between themes discussed in different chapters. Personal applications and real-life examples are included throughout the text to engage students in every key topic area.
In this thought-provoking book, psychologist Jerome Kagan urges readers to sally forth from their usual comfort zones. He ponders a series of important nodes of debate while challenging us to examine what we know and why we know it. Most critically he presents an elegant argument for functions of mind that cannot be replaced with sentences about brains while acknowledging that mind emerges from brain activity. Kagan relies on the evidence to argue that thoughts and emotions are distinct from their biological and genetic bases. In separate chapters he deals with the meaning of words, kinds of knowing, the powerful influence of social class, the functions of education, emotion, morality, and other issues. And without fail he sheds light on these ideas while remaining honest to their complexity. Thoughtful and eloquent, Kagan's On Being Human places him firmly in the tradition of Renaissance essayist Michel de Montaigne, whose appealing blend of intellectual insight, personal storytelling, and careful judgment has attracted readers for centuries.
This book is the product of years of thought and a profound concern for the state of contemporary psychology. Jerome Kagan, a theorist and leading researcher, examines popular practices and assumptions held by many psychologists. He uncovers a variety of problems that, troublingly, are largely ignored by investigators and clinicians. Yet solutions are available, Kagan maintains, and his reasoned suggestions point the way to a better understanding of the mind and mental illness. Kagan identifies four problems in contemporary psychology: the indifference to the setting in which observations are gathered, including the age, class, and cultural background of participants and the procedure that provides the evidence (he questions, for example, the assumption that similar verbal reports of well-being reflect similar psychological states); the habit of basing inferences on single measures rather than patterns of measures (even though every action, reply, or biological response can result from more than one set of conditions); the defining of mental illnesses by symptoms independent of their origin; and the treatment of mental disorders with drugs and forms of psychotherapy that are nonspecific to the diagnosed illness. The author's candid discussion will inspire the debate that is needed in a discipline seeking to fulfill its promises.
Do the first two years of life really determine a child's future development? Are human beings, like other primates, only motivated by pleasure? And do people actually have stable traits, like intelligence, fear, anxiety, and temperament? This book, the product of a lifetime of research by one of the founders of developmental psychology, takes on the powerful assumptions behind these questions--and proves them mistaken. Ranging with impressive ease from cultural history to philosophy to psychological research literature, Jerome Kagan weaves an argument that will rock the social sciences and the foundations of public policy. Scientists, as well as lay people, tend to think of abstract processes--like intelligence or fear--as measurable entities, of which someone might have more or less. This approach, in Kagan's analysis, shows a blindness to the power of context and to the great variability within any individual subject to different emotions and circumstances. "Infant determinism" is another widespread and dearly held conviction that Kagan contests. This theory--with its claim that early relationships determine lifelong patterns--underestimates human resiliency and adaptiveness, both emotional and cognitive (and, of course, fails to account for the happy products of miserable childhoods and vice versa). The last of Kagan's targets is the vastly overrated pleasure principle, which, he argues, can hardly make sense of unselfish behavior impelled by the desire for virtue and self-respect--the wish to do the right thing. Written in a lively style that uses fables and fairy tales, history and science to make philosophical points, this book challenges some of our most cherished notions about human nature.
In this sophisticated overview of human emotions, a widely respected psychologist and author addresses the ambiguities and embraces the controversies that surround this intriguing subject. An insightful and lucid thinker, Jerome Kagan examines what exactly we do know about emotions, which popular assumptions about emotions are incorrect, and how scientific study must proceed if we are to uncover the answers to persistent and evasive questions about emotions. Integrating the findings of anthropological, psychological, and biological studies in his wide-ranging discussion, Kagan explores the evidence for great variation in the frequency and intensity of emotion among different cultures. He also discusses variations among individuals within the same culture and the influences of gender, class, ethnicity, and temperament on a person's emotional patina. In his closing chapter, the author proposes that three sources of evidence--verbal descriptions of feelings, behaviors, and measures of brain states--provide legitimate but different definitions of emotion. Translating data from one of these sources to another may not be possible, Kagan warns, and those who study emotions must accept--at least for now--that their understanding is limited to and by the domain of their information.