The Arts and Human Development: A Psychological Study of the Artistic Process

By Howard Gardner | Go to book overview

PREFACE AND OVERVIEW

Ever since I first became interested in psychology, I have been especially intrigued by two questions: What is the most suggestive way to speak about the nature and course of human development? What factors enable individuals to create and to appreciate works in the various art forms? I had considered these questions for some time before realizing that they were closely related, that one had a better prospect of answering each to the extent that the other was also considered. And so making a case for the interrelations between two fields has become my major undertaking for the past few years; I would hope to convince developmental psychologists to consider the arts, and aestheticians to ponder the nature of human development. I would encourage artists and nonartists to appreciate the common links (rather than the alleged gulf) between them.

As my training is in developmental psychology, this book is drafted from the perspective of that field. I have done considerable reading in aesthetics and in the literature of various art forms. I have consulted artists and aestheticians, and have lingered over paintings, poems, and musical compositions of child and master; I hope these experiences have been as educational as they have been enjoyable. But the canons for evidence and value are scarcely uniform for artist, aesthetician, and psychologist; accordingly I have had to evolve a language and a form of argument which, if all goes well, will be acceptable to all groups, but which risks being inadequate all the way around. It will perhaps be of help to this diverse readership to mention the major questions and issues treated in the following chapters.

Psychologists have for the most part assumed that individual development leads to the "end states" of the scientific thinker or the normal

-xi-

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The Arts and Human Development: A Psychological Study of the Artistic Process
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Figures, Tables, and Works of Art viii
  • Preface and Overview xi
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • Introduction to the Paperback Edition xxi
  • One - The Relationship of Art to Human Development 1
  • Two - The Three Systems in Animals and Infants 53
  • Three - From Mode to Symbol 88
  • Four - The World of Symbols 125
  • Summary 172
  • Five - Experimental Research on Artistic Development 178
  • Six - Achieving Mastery 242
  • Concluding Remarks 292
  • Seven - The Relationship of the Arts to Science, Illness, and Truth 301
  • Bibliographical Notes 351
  • Author Index 383
  • Subject Index 389
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