Harold D. FISHBEIN : The Psychology of Infancy and Childhood : Evolutionary and Cross-Cultural Perspectives

By Harold D. Fishbein, University of Cincinnati

Publication Information : Book Title : The Psychology of Infancy and Childhood : Evolutionary and Cross-Cultural Perspectives. Contributors : Harold D. Fishbein – author. Publisher : Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Place of Publication : Hillsdale, NJ. Publication Year : 1984.

Preface by the author.

This book unknowingly received its start during the Fall of 1977 while I was on sabbatical leave from the University of Cincinnati. I had convinced the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Mental Health, and the University to support me for two years of study at the Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic. Salvador Minuchin, my sponsor and one of my teachers, helped me learn about child development in the family context. I believed that families were the most potent and persistent shapers of children’s lives, and my understanding of these effects was dependent upon two factors : (1) acquiring access to families and (2) developing skills for studying them. Minuchin and I believed that these goals could be accomplished by observing family therapists at work and learning to be one myself. Bernice Rosman, Director of Research at the Clinic, worked closely with me during this time in order to increase my understanding of research methods in this extremely complicated area.

The Clinic is conveniently located across the street from the University of Pennsylvania Anthropology Department and down the block from the Department of Biology. A number of people from both departments befriended me and allowed me to audit their courses. Bill Skinner, then a visiting anthropologist from Stanford, enlightened me about cultural influences in family formation and child development. Ward Goodenough, Chairman of Anthropology, my most frequent luncheon companion, helped me to see the parallels between the culture of families and of societies, and between cultural change agents and family change agents, e.g., family therapists. John W. Smith, social ethologist and naturalist, helped me to deepen my understanding of behavioral ecological systems.

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