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

By Howard Gardner | Go to book overview

this finding will emerge in a consideration of studies of aesthetic activity on young children, and in samples of the works of young children. Before turning in the next chapter to the specific art forms, a brief summary of my view about aesthetic development may be apposite. Those who are not interested in a review of empirical literature and the artistic works on which such conclusions have been based may then read Chapter 5 in a less than exhaustive way.


SUMMARY

Let us first retrace our course. After reviewing the development of the systems of perceiving, making, and feeling among animals and infants, an attempt was made to specify the principles upon which these systems continue to unfold. We have seen each system developing in characteristic ways, and have discussed the reasons--among them the development of the object concept and the sensitivity to modal-vectoral properties--that allow the human being to recapitulate sensorimotor development on the level of symbols.

Following a description of symbols and symbol systems, much of this chapter has been devoted to an examination of the early flowering of one symbol system--language--and a consideration of how the three developing systems operate on and are influenced by the use of symbols. Consideration of specific symbol systems will continue in the following chapter, but we have already seen that the same principles that govern perception, making, and feeling in relationship to the world of objects are probably adequate to account for the organism's experience with various symbolic systems and media.

When involved with the arts, individuals create and perceive symbolic objects that can affect others on a variety of levels. Each of the developing systems has both primitive aspects (elementary affective states, tropistic perception, simple motoric schemes) and more complex and integrated forms (subtle modes and affects, gestalt-free textures, intricate skilled behavioral patterns). Artistic objects are unique in the extent to which they draw upon the varied aspects and skills of the individual--primitive as well as advanced--and the way in which they reflect the complete, multifaceted individual as well. Whereas interaction with physical objects seems to require primarily primitive mechanisms, and scientific reasoning emphasizes complex forms of discrimination and symbolic operations, the arts have the unique property of drawing broadly and fully upon all systems at each stage of development. Objects are treated as objects and as symbols; individuals are seen in

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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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