A century of developmental psychology.Arnold L. Gesell: The paradox of nature and nurture.
AbstractThis reprinted article originally appeared in (Developmental Psychology, 1992, Vol 28 3, 368-380). (The following abstract of the original article appeared in record .) A. L. Gesell (1880-1961) has had an important and lasting impact on the field of developmental psychology. He is best remembered for his developmental norms, which were acquired from decades of detailed observations of infants and children and are still the basis of most early assessments of behavioral functioning. Gesell's influence as a theorist is less direct. His maturationism quickly lost favor in the intellectual climate of Piaget, behaviorism, and information-processing approaches. Nonetheless, nativism is still a dominant theme in contemporary developmental studies in the guise of neural determinism, innate knowledge, and genetic studies. Gesell is characterized as a man of paradoxes and contrasts. Although he acknowledged the contributions of the environment, he denied its agency. Although he was devoted to children and their welfare, he assigned their individuality to biological destiny. And although he remained a steadfast maturationist, he prefigured other more dynamic views of development. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA, all rights reserved)