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In 1984, Basic published Harvard developmental psychologist Jerome Kagan's The Nature of the Child, a book that challenged many of psychology's most deeply held assumptions about human development--arguing, for example, that early experience does not inexorably shape our lives and that the influence of the family is more subtle than had been supposed--and that went on to become a classic in its field. In The Possibility of a Child, Kagan offers a sweeping narrative of development that solidifies his place as one of the most influential thinkers in the field of psychology. Taking into account how far the science of child development has advanced in the last 28 years--with the ascendancy of cognitive psychology, neurobiology, and molecular biology, as well as much deeper research into development on the broader human scale--Kagan explores the tension between influences of biology and environmental factors in development. This book will incorporate new research on the neurobiology and cognition of infants and children through the framework of the child's experience, the role of the local setting, the influence of social class, and the biological biases that each individual brings to her circumstances. Kagan also considers such issues as the degree to which early events affect later outcomes, whether children can actually have some understanding of math and physics in the crib, and the rise of the diagnosis of mental illness in children. A profound exploration of what is universal and what is individual in human development, The Possibility of a Childis the result of a scientist's lifelong quest to discover how we become who we are.