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Psychology's Ghosts: The Crisis in the Profession and the Way Back Hardcover – March 27, 2012
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About the Author
Jerome Kagan is Professor of Psychology Emeritus, Harvard University, where he was co-director of the Mind/Brain Behavior Interfaculty Initiative. He is the author of nearly 400 papers and numerous books. He lives in Belmont, MA.
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Top Customer Reviews
The author tempers his belief that psychology has much to offer with interesting observations about its limitations and thoughtful criticisms of its failings. The author conscientiously strives to make his criticisms of psychology constructive in nature, and offers specific suggestions and recommendations to address the limitations and failings in psychology that he identifies. In general, the author's observations, criticisms, suggestions, and recommendations are cogently presented and warrant serious consideration, even if the reader ultimately concludes they are not persuasive, in whole or in part.
My only disappointment with the book was the inconsistent handling of the author's comments about the psychological motivations and thought processes of various individuals and groups.Read more ›
Professor Kagan has a peripatetic writing style. He meanders through art, literature, history, lab results, and field observations to support his arguments. The reader can marvel at the breadth of Professor Kagan's knowledge, but often has to flip back several pages to remember what point Kagan is trying to make.
For example, one of the principles Professor Kagan offers in chapter five is "Watch Out for Ethical Preferences." According to Kagan ethical premises that pervade psychology--and society--in North America and Europe are the need for a childhood free from stress and full of a mother's physical love. This launches a 20-page discourse that wanders through Maoist China, Israeli Kibbutzim, the ancient Maya, string theory, Galapagos finches, Freud, Bowlby, Adam Smith, John Locke, and a dissertation defense Kagan sat on 30 years ago.
A reader without a deep and ready knowledge of psychological research will be at a loss to weigh the bits and pieces that Professor Kagan presents as evidence in support of his arguments. Furthermore Kagan steadfastly refuses to cite the type of evidence, quantitative results, that might help gauge the importance of the phenomena he is describing.Read more ›