Gestaltism in vitae

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1979, Vol 24(3), 223–224. Reviews the books, Observing Behavior, Vol. 1: Theory and Applications in Mental Retardation by Gene P. Sackett (Ed.) (1978); and Observing Behavior, Vol. 2: Data Collection and Analysis Methods by Gene P. Sackett (Ed.) (1978). The papers in Volume 1 and Rosenblum's in Volume 2 were presented at the conference on the Application of Observational Ethological Methods to the Study of Mental Retardation. The remaining papers in Volume 2 were prepared as criticisms of methodological issues. The tone of the conference is set by Charlesworth and Schroggen, who emphasize and describe the ethological and ecological approaches to the study of mentally retarded persons. In the next section, three papers discuss cognitive development, one describing two studies investigating animism in rural Hawaiian children. In the last chapter of Volume 1, Berkson makes several pertinent observations. One is that little multivariate observational research has been conducted with the mentally retarded. The purpose of Volume 2 seemed to be to consider the first observation. The potential convert to observational research should read Volume 2 first before considering launching a career in this old but newly discovered area of research. The major flaws of these volumes are the ubiquitous nature of the topics and the failure to meet the stated purpose of the conference. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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