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Low, B. (1922). The Education of Behaviour: By I. B. Saxby, D.Sc. (University of London Press Ltd., London. 1921. Pp. 248. Price 6s.).. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 3:239-240.

(1922). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 3:239-240

The Education of Behaviour: By I. B. Saxby, D.Sc. (University of London Press Ltd., London. 1921. Pp. 248. Price 6s.).

Review by:
Barbara Low

This book cannot but impress the reader with its sincerity and serious intention, and obviously thought and care have been expended upon the writing of it: nevertheless, one is tempted to ask what is its raison d'être. It follows the lines, more or less, of 'orthodox' child-psychology (such, for instance, as may be found in Munsterberg's 'Psychology and the Teacher'), and in general is based upon McDougall's work, especially in the treatment of the Impulses. There is a good deal of insistence on matters which most intelligent educators nowadays are agreed upon—notably in the sections on 'The growth and control of habits', 'Self-Assertion', 'Work and Play'. On the other hand, one does not find the wider understanding and deeper insight which might be expected from a writer who has studied the modern work on analytical psychology. In some chapters dealing with educational applications—The Psychology of Character (chap. VIII), The Training of Character (chap. IX), The Growth and Control of Habits (chap. VI)—there is an attempt to incorporate the findings of psycho-analysis. Some quite useful lines of enquiry are developed in these sections concerning the use and abuse of 'sympathy' in education; the value of suggestion, direct and indirect; pleasure and pain as incentives to behaviour, and so forth; but, unfortunately, it is here that there is confusion of thought and too many hasty generalisations. Throughout the book Repression is confused with Suppression, as a result of which we meet with such statements as: 'If we repress i.e. refuse to think about an experience we have had, it is either because it was exceptionally painful, or because it has in some way hurt our self-respect' (p. 82). (Clearly Repression is here taken as a conscious process). Again: 'We may conclude that the extreme forms of shyness and self-absorption are usually if not always, due to the repression of some painful incident which should have been tackled at the time of its occurrence'. (As in the former instance, Repression is considered as a matter of conscious effort). The discussion on Gregariousness, Imitation, Suggestion, and the individual's relation to his 'superiors, equals, and inferiors' (pp. 87–97) leaves out of account some of the most important considerations—indeed the real nature of 'Suggestion' hardly seems grasped (cp. the section on 'Passive Play' p. 223 et seq.).

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