The Human Spark (Hardcover)
The Science of Human Development
Basic Books, 9780465029822, 352pp.
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (6/24/2013)
In The Human Spark, pioneering psychologist Jerome Kagan offers an unflinching examination of personal, moral, and cultural development that solidifies his place as one of the most influential psychologists of the past century. In this definitive analysis of the factors that shape the human mind, Kagan explores the tension between biology and the environment. He reviews major advances in the science of development over the past three decades and offers pointed critiques and new syntheses. In so doing, Kagan calls out the shortcomings of the modern fad for neuroscience, shows why theories of so-called attachment parenting are based on a misinterpretation of research, and questions the field's reflexive tendency to pathologize the behavior of the young. Most importantly, he reminds us that a life, however influenced by biology and upbringing, is still a tapestry to be woven, not an outcome to be endured.
A profound exploration of what is universal and what is individual in human development, The Human Spark is the result of a scientist's lifelong quest to discover how we become who we are. 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.
About the Author
Praise For The Human Spark: The Science of Human Development…
A vividly titled overview, by the pioneering developmental psychologist, of his current thinking about the answer to the question, What does it mean to be human?' Reading him, one resonates to the kind of teacher he must have been.”Harvard Magazine
Entertaining and intellectually engaging.”Library Journal
An intriguing overview of many of the underlying assumptions guiding modern psychology.”Kirkus Reviews
An insightful discussion of the epistemology of psychology . [Kagan] offers illuminating discussions of the impact of culture on childhood development . [A] fascinating summary of the current science behind human development from one of the leaders in the field.”Publishers Weekly
Best known for his work exploring the persistence of inborn temperamental differences, Kagan here expands his inquiry into other areas, including the problems inherent in trying to understand something as complex as human nature by looking through as narrow a lens as neuroscience, genetics, or psychological research. The result is a wide-ranging book that...often offers astonishing details amid the research Kagan summarizes.”Boston Globe
Kagan makes a strong case that personality is more elastic, and resilient, than we may think: Even toddlers who experience extreme abuse or deprivation can become well-adjusted adults.”Discover
Kagan grapples manfully with the complexity of what it means to be human, and has a magnificent disregard for orthodoxyquestioning everything from attachment theory to the belief that animal emotions are comparable to our own.”New Scientist