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Synopsis

What makes a human a human? In The Human Spark, pioneering psychologist Jerome Kagan offers an answer in a sweeping narrative of our personal, moral, and cultural development. In this extended meditation on human psychology as well as the methods, successes, and failures of the scientists who study it. Kagan calls out the shortcomings of the modern fad for neuroscience, and questions psychiatry’s quickness to pathologize the behavior of the young. More importantly, he reminds us that our lives, however influenced by biology and upbringing, are still a tapestry to be woven, not an outcome to be endured. Whether the reader is a first-time parent wondering what influence she, her genes, and the wider world will have on her child; an educator seeking insight into the development of her students; or simply a curious soul seeking self-knowledge, Kagan makes an expert and companionable guide.

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