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Jerome Kagan (born 1929) is one of the key pioneers of developmental psychology. He is Daniel and Amy Starch Research Professor of Psychology, Emeritus at Harvard University, and co-faculty at the New England Complex Systems Institute. He has shown that an infant's "temperament" is quite stable over time, in that certain behaviors in infancy are predictive of certain other behavior patterns in adolescence.

In an empirical study by Haggbloom et al. using six criteria such as citations and recognition, Kagan was found to be the 22nd most eminent psychologist of the 20th Century, just above Carl Jung.[1]

Contents

Personal background

Kagan was born in Newark, New Jersey, USA to Joseph and Mytle Kagan. He earned a B.S. Degree from Rutgers University in 1950 [2]. In 1951 he married Cele Katzman, and they have one daughter. Kagan earned his Master's degree from Harvard University and his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1954 [3]. Following the completeion of his Ph.D. Kagan spent a year as an instructor in Psychology at Ohio State University[4]. After two years as a psychologist at the U.S. Army Hospital at West Point, he did research in developmental psychology at Ohio's Fels Institute (1957-64) where he later became chairman of the Psychology Department in 1959. Kagan remained at the Fels Institute until he accepted a position at Harvard University as an instructor of Psychology [5].

Research

While at Fels, Kagan did extensive research on personality traits beginning with infancy and continued through adulthood [6]. During this time Kagan conducted longitudinal studies to which he followed multiple subjects into adulthood, specifically looking at their personality traits [7]. Upon reexamining the subjects, later into adulthood, Kagan found little evidence to support his behaviorist theory and began to take notice of a possible biological influence .Kagan and colleague Howard Moss later published these findings in Birth to Maturity [8].

After accepting his current position with Harvard University, Kagan spent a year conducting field research in a small Indian village in Guatemala in 1971 [9]. During this time, Kagan discovered that biological factors play a huge role in development and an even larger part in child development [10]. Specifically, Kagan discovered key developmental milestones that children reach during their first two years of life [11]. Another key finding was children are incredibly adaptive to their circumstances and situations regardless of how favorable or unfavorable they may be, and even through this their biology still endorses successful and stable development [12].

Publications

He is the author of Personal Development (1971), Growth of the Child (1978), and The Nature of the Child (1982).

On the Need for Relativism. American Psychologist, 1967, 22, 131-142.

Some of the books Kagan has written or co-written include:

Birth to Maturity (1962) Understanding Children: Behavior, Motives, and Thought (1971) The Second Year: The Emergence of Self-Awareness (1981) Unstable Ideas: Temperament, Cognition, and Self (1989) Three Seductive Ideas (2000) A Young Mind in a Growing Brain (2005)

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Temperament

According to Kagan, (conventionally):

"temperament refers to stable behavioral and emotional reactions that appear early and are influenced in part by genetic constitution."[13]

Temperament is perhaps what Kagan is best known for. He began his remarkable work on temperament after his research in Guatemala. Kagan was primarily focused on children’s fear and apprehension [14]. It was during this time that Kagan discovered children as having one of two types of temperament: inhibited and uninhibited. Inhibited temperament, also known as highly reactive, can best be described as a child being more reserved, guarded, and introverted whereas uninhibited, or low reactive, children tend to be more outgoing, extroverted, and are very comfortable in social situations [15]. As a result of his ground breaking work on temperament, we know that these characteristics have the ability to influence later behavior depending on how they interact with the environment [16]

Kagan rejects "attachment theory", British psychiatrist John Bowlby's notion that the bond between caregiver and infant is crucially influential in later emotional and even intellectual growth. He has also criticized Judith Rich Harris's theory that peer groups matter more than parents in influencing the personality of children. He believes that both sides in the nature/nurture debates were too rigid, and that the development of personality is still not well understood. by DeVonne Brow

Awards

Kagan won the Hofheimer Prize of the American Psychiatric Association in 1963. He won the G. Stanley Hall Award of the American Psychological Association (APA) in 2009.

References

  1. ^ Haggbloom, S.J. et al. (2002). The 100 Most Eminent Psychologists of the 20th Century. Review of General Psychology. Vol. 6, No. 2, 139–15. Haggbloom et al. combined 3 quantitative variables: citations in professional journals, citations in textbooks, and nominations in a survey given to members of the Association for Psychological Science, with 3 qualitative variables (converted to quantitative scores): National Academy of Science (NAS) membership, American Psychological Association (APA) President and/or recipient of the APA Distinguished Scientific Contributions Award, and surname used as an eponym. Then the list was rank ordered.
  2. ^ Jerome Kagan. (1988). American Psychologist, 43(4), 223-225.
  3. ^ Alic, M. (2001). Kagan, Jerome. Encyclopedia of psychology. Retrieved (2009, November 27) from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_g2699/is_0005/ai_2699000518/
  4. ^ Alic, M. (2001). Kagan, Jerome. Encyclopedia of psychology. Retrieved (2009, November 27)from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_g2699/is_0005/ai_2699000518/
  5. ^ Alic, M. (2001). Kagan, Jerome. Encyclopedia of Psychology. Retrieved (2009, November 27)from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_g2699/is_0005/ai_2699000518/
  6. ^ Alic, M. (2009). Jerome Kagan-Questions environmental determinism, Questions continuity of development and parental influences. Psychology encyclopedia. Retrieved (2009, November 27) from http://psychology.jrank.org/pages/355/Jerome-Kagan.html
  7. ^ Alic, M. (2001). Kagan, Jerome. Encyclopedia of psychology. Retrieved (2009, November 27) from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_g2699/is_0005/ai_2699000518/
  8. ^ Alic, M. (2001). Kagan, Jerome. Encyclopedia of psychology. Retrieved (2009, November 27) from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_g2699/is_0005/ai_2699000518/
  9. ^ Jerome Kagan. (1988). American Psychologist, 43(4), 223-225.
  10. ^ Kagan, J. (2003). Biology, Context, and Developmental Inquiry. Annual Reviews Psychology, 54,1-23.
  11. ^ Jerome Kagan. Peason Education. Retrieved (2009, November 27) from http://wps.prenhall.com/wps/media/objects/1931/1977702/html/theo8.html
  12. ^ Alic, M. (2009). Jerome Kagan-Questions environmental determinism, Questions continuity of development and parental influences. Psychology Encyclopedia. Retrieved (2009, November 27) from http://psychology.jrank.org/pages/355/Jerome-Kagan.html
  13. ^ Kagan, J: "Galen's Prophecy: Temperament in Human Nature.", page 40. Westview Press, 1994.
  14. ^ Jerome Kagan. Peason Education. Retrieved (2009, November 27) from http://wps.prenhall.com/wps/media/objects/1931/1977702/html/theo8.html
  15. ^ Kagan, J. (2003). Biology, Context, and Developmental Inquiry. Annual Reviews Psychology, 54,1-23.
  16. ^ Jerome Kagan. Peason Education. Retrieved (2009, November 27) from http://wps.prenhall.com/wps/media/objects/1931/1977702/html/theo8.html

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