Change and Continuity in Infancy

Change and Continuity in Infancy

Change and Continuity in Infancy

Change and Continuity in Infancy

Excerpt

The illusion that we can specify in time or location the beginning of an idea or major effort is one that we require to keep our understanding of the present tidy. This book originated in the fall of 1960 when Howard Moss and I were studying the results of an analysis of the Fels longitudinal data that resulted in the publication of Birth to Maturity, in 1962. We were both persuaded that there were profound differences among infants which time and experience did not easily subdue. It was also clear that a satisfying understanding of these phenomena, both their origins and final consequences, could only be attained through a series of related longitudinal studies whose observations remained close to the child, avoiding the distortions that are an inherent part of a mother's descriptive comment or the longhand notes of a visiting observer. Howard Moss left Fels to join Richard Bell at NIMH and, during the last eight years, both have clarified some of the issues raised by the earlier investigation. I remained at Fels and, with Michael Lewis, began to inquire into the attentional processes of the young infant. There were two reasons for this choice. We wanted to develop sensitive procedures to examine individual differences among infants and to learn more about their mental life. We became enchanted with the second problem and Lewis has made major contributions to our understanding of early cognitive development. When I came to Cambridge in 1964, I was attracted to two problems: the original affection for temperamental differences in the young child and the new excitement with early cognition. I could not put either one aside and the longitudinal study reported in this book reflects the pursuit of both goals.

November, 1970 Jerome Kagan . . .

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