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Gonzalez, R.M. (1982). The Dynamics of Psychological Development: By Alexander Thomas and Stella Chess. New York: Brunner/Mazel, 1980, 287 pp., $15.75.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 30:786-789.
    

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(1982). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 30:786-789

The Dynamics of Psychological Development: By Alexander Thomas and Stella Chess. New York: Brunner/Mazel, 1980, 287 pp., $15.75.

R. M. Gonzalez, M.D. Author Information

The Dynamics of Psychological Development ostensibly is an attempt by Dr. Alexander Thomas and Dr. Stella Chess to express the conclusions derived from their longitudinal studies of normal children and those impaired by congenital rubella. As Dr. Leon Eisenberg states in his Foreword, Thomas and Chess are espousing the idea that psychological development is a "transactional process with the individuality of child, parents, and life experience determining the resultant personality" (p. x).

This book indeed has some chapters that are informative and worth reading: e.g., Chapter V ("The Goals of Behavior: Task Mastery and Social Competence") stresses the process of socialization as a positive and gratifying experience for the child rather than one of frustration and deprivation. Chapter VI ("The Structure of Behavior: Abilities, Motivations and Styles") refers to techniques used by some researchers to study inborn individual traits, with the goal of identifying the children most vulnerable to psychological damage. It also considers the intriguing probability that the polymorphism of the human species is a desirable trait. Chapter VII ("The Process of Development: Interaction and Goodness of Fit") lucidly and convincingly demonstrates the authors' basic postulate, because it shows that the interaction out of which the organism develops is not, as is so often said, between heredity and environment. Rather, it is an interaction between organism and environment. Rather,

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