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

By Howard Gardner | Go to book overview
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FIVE
EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH ON ARTISTIC DEVELOPMENT

In this chapter research on the development of skills in three art forms-- music, literature, and painting--will be reviewed in an effort to specify the extent to which children are participants in the artistic process. I will argue that, by the age of 7, most children have achieved essential facets of the roles of audience member, artist, and performer, though not the role of critic. In particular, proceeding from the evidence introduced earlier, I will contend that children of this age are sensitive to formal aspects of the arts; both experimental results and selected examples will be used to illustrate this point. Although such a review has not, to my knowledge, been attempted before, I have been aided by several earlier examinations of the psychological literature, among them those of Werner, Shuter, Read, and Child.


METHODS, PROBLEMS, AND PROSPECTS

Before turning to the experimental literature, I would like to relate my thoughts concerning the possibilities of gathering more useful information about aesthetic development. Previous research in the arts touches on aspects of perceiving, feeling, and making, but suffers from a variety of defects, methodological as well as substantive. Furthermore, other sources that might have illuminated artistic development, such as accounts by teachers in the arts or works by aestheticians, have generally been disappointing, revealing little. New approaches are needed in

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