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