An individual's understanding of himself must begin with an appreciation of his origin. Thus, the concern of modern man to understand his behavior has led to an investigation of the forces that influence human development. Investigation encompasses many academic subjects: genetics, biology, medicine, physiology, anatomy, biochemistry, sociology, anthropology, history, and psychology. However, each of these subjects falls into one or both of two broad categories-the biological and the cultural. In short, all human behavior is determined by both the biological characteristics and the environmental characteristics of the culture.
Underlying the solution to any of today's social problems is, of course, the need for a clearer understanding of human psychological development. Children and Adolescents is a unique book in its approach to developmental psychology. Successfully integrating both the biological and the cultural influences, which determine the behavior of a child, the book begins with a discussion of behavioral development in infancy and a description of the physiological foundation of such early behavior.
Alexander traces the process of growth through middle childhood and adolescence. Concerned with the normal difficulties and problems that arise in childhood, he demonstrates --by means of actual case studies the importance of early motivation and cognitive processes, particularly the need for self-direction in all developing children, the process of individual change through varying kinds of experiences, and the relationship of the child to authority.
Children and Adolescents provides vital and well-organized material for all courses in child behavior--whether taught in departments of psychology, education, or home economics. Professionals concerned with social problems and child development will discover a stimulating new approach to the process of psychological growth.