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Rosen, V.H. (1954). The Making of a Scientist: By Anne Roe. New York: Dodd, Mead and Co., 1952. 244 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 23:132-133.

(1954). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 23:132-133

The Making of a Scientist: By Anne Roe. New York: Dodd, Mead and Co., 1952. 244 pp.

Review by:
Victor H. Rosen

The study of genius and special capacities in the various fields of human endeavor is a relatively neglected area of psychological research. Another relatively unexplored area lies in the systematic study of the factors involved in the choice of a vocation. Dr. Roe is apparently attempting to gather data on both of these problems in her present study. Her subjects are sixty-four leading American scientists in the fields of biology, physics, and the social sciences, many of them Nobel prize winners. All of them were adjudged outstanding, original contributors to their special fields by a group of their peers. Dr. Roe is to be commended for the audacity of her plan of research and for the evident ingenuity and persistence with which she pursued it. However, several aspects of her book make it difficult to evaluate her method and her conclusions.

The book was written before the author had the opportunity for complete examination and scoring of her data. She tells us that this was done to enable her to review her research experience as a whole, as a responsibility to her subjects who sacrificed valuable time in coöperating with her project, and to make it possible for others (presumably interested but technically uninformed laymen) to become acquainted with her results. One can have no quarrel with the educational and social usefulness of making scientific research comprehensible to the general public but one can question the appropriateness of publishing a popular version of a research project before all the implications of the material collected are quite clear to the research worker himself.

A further difficulty is her failure to differentiate and clearly circumscribe what appears to be two major problems under investigation. One has to do with the factors that make this particular group of subjects eminent in their fields. The other seems to be a search for psychological characteristics which differentiate the members of the three scientific disciplines being studied. Since Dr. Roe went to such lengths to include only the most eminent scientists in each field it would seem that this group would lend itself best to a study of what makes for success in scientific research.

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