Cognition, Creativity, and Behavior: Selected Essays available in Hardcover
- Pub. Date:
- ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
This diverse set of essays traces Epstein's experimental and theoretical work over a 15 year period. Four of the essays were coauthored by the eminent psychologist B.F. Skinner. The book demonstrates how the scientific study of behavior can increase our understanding and effectiveness in many domains: creativity and innovation, parenting, artificial intelligence, self-improvement, and even world peace. Reviewers have praised the volume as an impressive effort by one of America's most notable psychologists.
Epstein's goals in writing this book were (a) to present some relatively interesting papers that can stand alone and (b) to organize and edit them so that sections have some integrity and so that the overall volume paints a fairly consistent picture of his evolving views on cognition, creativity, and behavior. Parts I and II focus on generativity research and theory and on some Columban (pigeon) simulations of human behavior, and Part III includes some related laboratory studies. Part IV is concerned with efforts to create a comprehensive science of behavior, and Part V includes essays about Skinner, one of the principle architects of behaviorism. Part VI includes forays into artifical intelligence, child rearing, categorization research, and other topics, and Part VII takes the volume to some uncertain reflections on growing older, and to a modest proposal for a day of world peace.
About the Author
Robert Epstein received his PhD in psychology from Harvard University. At Harvard, he worked closely with B.F. Skinner for five years and edited two books of his writings, Notebooks and Skinner for the Classroom. Epstein is the founder and Director Emeritus of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies in Massachusetts. He has served as professor of psychology and chair of the Department of Psychology at National University in San Diego and was recently appointed the university's first Research Professor. He is the author of over 70 scholarly and scientific articles. His research has been reported in Time magazine, the New York Times, and Discover magazine, and his popular writings have appeared in Parenting, Reader's Digest, The Washington Post, and elsewhere.
Table of Contents
Generativity and Creativity
The Columban Simulations
Resurgence, Imitation, & Self-Control
Beyond Behaviorism: The Case for a Science of Behavior
B. F. Skinner
What People are Saying About This
"Cognition, Creativity, and Behavior is a wonderfully informative and entertaining volume with particularly impressive breadth and coverage. Granted such coverage is only useful if the author can back up his ideas and suggestions, but Professor Epstein can and does. He describes unambiguously valid methods and research findings, but is equally careful to describe bridges between the laboratory and the natural environment. He relies on sound methods (both experimental and logical), but at the same time stretches the boundaries of application by tackling such topics as self-control, spontaneous behavior, creativity, and world peace. This truly is a book for everyone, and I expect it will convince many readers to consider viewing the world and ourselves from the behavioral perspective."
"Robert Epstein's immense influence on the field of psychology started early and has never abated. He established an international reputation while still a graduate student working under the guidance of B.F. Skinner at Harvard University. His scholarly contributions and achievements since that time, many of which are summarized in this book, have been nothing short of extraordinary. Professor Epstein thinks profound thoughts nonstop, generates novel and creative ideas at the drop of a hat, and is famous for his propensity to translate these ideas into bold deeds. As I see it, the book's title is a reflection of the areas in which he excels. This collection of some of Epstein's most celebrated essays will surely fascinate anyone who has ever contemplated the mysteries of cognition, creativity, and behavior."
Epstein shows how far one can go without positing internal representations and processes. He provides an unusual perspective on such central topics in cognitive science as creativity, and shows the value of regarding complex cognitive phenomena from multiple perspectives. Even those who disagree with his basic assumptions will find it worthwhile to consider Epstein's approach.