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

By Howard Gardner | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION TO THE PAPERBACK EDITION

As my first literary offspring, The Arts and Human Development occupies a special place in my mind and in my soul. The themes that it introduced more than two decades ago have remained dominant in most of my subsequent research and writing. The republication of this book gives me a welcome opportunity to examine the origins of these artistic, developmental, and educational themes; in addition, I use this prefatory note to reflect on the ways in which my thinking -- and that of others -- has remained constant, as well as the ways in which conceptualizations have altered during the ensuing period.

As I look back over my scholarly career, I can clearly see its moment of crystallization. As a young student in the mid-1960s, I read the writings of the developmental psychologist Jean Piaget and realized that the work he had so brilliantly launched would become my life's work as well. I was stimulated by Piaget's synoptic vision of the development of children's thinking; I was intrigued by his explorations of the parallels between the thinking of children and the maturation of various scholarly disciplines. Even more, I was fascinated by his demonstrations of the strange and exotic ideas held by children; I found myself convinced by his assertion that the child's view of the world is qualitatively different from that of the adult.

At the same time, however, I was uneasy with the overall picture that Piaget ( 1970) had portrayed. Somehow it failed to connect with a vital part of my own personal experience. As a child, I had been a serious pianist and had briefly considered a career as a performer. As a young adult, I continued my love of music while dabbling in other art forms as well. I considered the arts to be an intellectual, a cognitive, enterprise, one that involves problem solving and problem finding; I knew that the arts assumed great importance the world over. Yet Piaget had virtually nothing to say about the arts -- for him, the developed individual was the developed scientist. Nor was Piaget alone in this conceit; virtually all other developmentalists paid scant regard to the arts.

Now, with the benefit of hindsight, I am able to parse my ensuing scholarly

-xxi-

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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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