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Isaacs, S. (1940). The Child and his Family: By Charlotte Bühler. With the collaboration of Edeltrud Baar, Lotte Danzinger-Schenk, Gertrud Falk, Sophie Gedeon, Gertrud Hortner. (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. Ltd., London, 1940. Pp. viii + 187. Price, 10 s. 6 d.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 21:491-494.

(1940). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 21:491-494

The Child and his Family: By Charlotte Bühler. With the collaboration of Edeltrud Baar, Lotte Danzinger-Schenk, Gertrud Falk, Sophie Gedeon, Gertrud Hortner. (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. Ltd., London, 1940. Pp. viii + 187. Price, 10 s. 6 d.

Review by:
Susan Isaacs

This volume is of considerable interest to students of character and of social relationships. It describes an attempt 'to apply exact methods to problems which have hitherto been approached only descriptively'. The method evolved was applied to the relationship of parents and children and of brothers and sisters at home in seventeen upper middle class families having from one to three children of school age. The facts gathered and the conclusions reached are well worth attention, although it is an open question whether the yield is sufficient to justify such an elaborate apparatus. There is very little in the conclusions which is not familiar ground to the clinical student arriving at his facts more simply and directly. Certain elements in the psychological structure of the intimate life of particular families and the effects upon the developing character of the children of the more enduring characteristics and purposes of the parents are brought out.

The authors say, however, that the book has 'a methodological significance only', and it is the discussion of method which will be of special interest to readers of this JOURNAL. Its aim is to evaluate the mutual relations between individuals quantitatively. The unit of measurement is an activity. 'Everyone knows in practice what an activity is.' Examples are: writing a letter, going shopping, making a call, lying on the grass and looking at the sun. Every activity consists of a number of events presenting a particular unity characterized by the object which forms the core of the activity.

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