A History of Developmental Psychology in Autobiography

By Dennis Thompson; John D. Hogano | Go to book overview

10
Seymour Wapner

Although a few years ago I gave some thought to autobiography with respect to my recent work in environmental psychology ( Wapner, 1990), the invitation to contribute to the present volume served as a trigger to make me focus even more sharply on my relationship to developmental psychology. I take as my task tracing the people, places, and events that guided me in adopting the holistic, developmental, systems-oriented perspective that I currently hold (e.g., Wapner, 1977, 1978, 1981, 1987a, 1991, 1992; Wapner & Demick, 1991a). 1 Such a journey must go back to family background, formal education, and professional career.


Family Background

I was born in Brooklyn, New York, on November 20, 1917, the son of warm, growth-fostering parents. When I was twelve years old my father passed away four days after the onset of a sudden, misdiagnosed illness. This traumatic event, which was not prevented by my deep, intense prayers, had a profound impact on moving me atheistically to a religion restricted to conformity to high ethical standards -- a position I recognize as guiding my experience and action over these many years since my father's unexpected death. He -- an excellent craftsman, an upholsterer by trade and owner of a furniture and decorating business -- instilled my interest in doing things with my hands and my head, thereby fostering my ongoing aesthetic interest in creating sculpture, toying with the possibility of a career in architecture, and enjoying the challenge of fixing broken things. My mother, a loving, good-humored, tender person, instilled my interest in doing things with my heart and my head; fostered and took joy in my individual development; nurtured my respect for, interest in, and sensitivity to other people; cultivated in me the pleasure of doing creative work; infused in me my love for a job well done; fostered my skill of handling multiple tasks simultaneously and my capacity for appreciating the enjoyment derived from completing the smallest chore to the largest project that was initiated.

This home background -- including the empathic support of an older brother, two older sisters, and an adoring younger sister -- served well in helping me, not

-180-

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A History of Developmental Psychology in Autobiography
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • References x
  • 1 - Louise Bates Ames 1
  • Notes 21
  • References 21
  • 2 - James Emmett Birren 24
  • References 44
  • 3 - Marie Skodak Crissey 46
  • Notes 69
  • Representative Publications 69
  • 4 - David Elkind 71
  • References 83
  • 5 - Dale B. Harris 84
  • References 103
  • 6 - Lois Wladis Hoffman 105
  • References 119
  • 7 - Çiǧdem KaǧitçebaŞi 121
  • Notes 133
  • Representative Publications 133
  • 8 - Lewis P. Lipsitt 137
  • References 158
  • 9 - Paul Mussen 161
  • References 177
  • 10 - Seymour Wapner 180
  • Notes 199
  • References 199
  • About the Book and Editors 209
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