Psychology, Environment, and the Pursuit of Life

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1979, Vol 24(7), 561–563. Reviews the book, Experience, Environment, and Human Potentials by Herbert L. Leff (1978). The author states that “my main goal in this book is to present certain proposals for the enhancement of human experience and to link these proposals as firmly as possible to theory and research in psychology and the social sciences”. This is an ambitious goal and the book is an unusual one in psychology. Like many books that explicitly promote a value perspective, this book is somewhat selective in what it presents and how it is presented. Issue can be taken with many of the points author makes. Many assumptions are made in more of a hopeful vein than an empirical one. Many problems have developed in partial prolife “experiments”. The book may raise more questions than it answers, but it did make me realize that psychology really does have important things to say about human-environment relations, and quality of experience. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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