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Silverman, M.A. (1973). The Development of the Concept of Space in the Child: By Monique Laurendeau and Adrien Pinard. New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1970. 465 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 42:131-132.

(1973). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 42:131-132

The Development of the Concept of Space in the Child: By Monique Laurendeau and Adrien Pinard. New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1970. 465 pp.

Review by:
Martin A. Silverman

This book contains an account of the authors' attempt to replicate Piaget's investigations into the evolution of spatial concepts in children, utlizing larger numbers of subjects and a more rigorous methodology than had been employed in Piaget's original studies. Other investigators pursuing the same task had reached conclusions quite critical of Piaget, but Laurendeau and Pinard found themselves dissatisfied with the research designs and the manner in which the data had been interpreted.

The results of the study reported in this volume quite conclusively confirm Piaget's theses. The complex, abstruse reasoning and intricate statistical operations that the authors have had to employ, however, illustrate the enormous difficulties encountered in statistical studies of human developmental sequences involving multiple complex variables. Comparison of their fastidious research design and thorough reasoning with that of the investigators whose critiques of Piaget had stimulated their work, highlights the fact that oversimplification and relative lack of investigative and statistical sophistication can lead to erroneous conclusions which nevertheless carry the weight of apparent statistical proof. The problems involved in statistical verification of scientific theories derived from the investigation of complex human functions in a small number of individuals are quite familiar to psychoanalysts.

The

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