Howard Gardner teaches psychology at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. His most recent book, with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and William Damon, is Good Work: When Excellence and Ethics Meet. (April 2002)

Too Many Choices?

A century ago, fewer than 10 percent of young Americans went to high school and only 2 percent received degrees. Except for the handful who received a “classical education” in Latin and Greek, most students simply learned reading, writing, and arithmetic in the proverbial one-room schoolhouse before going to work …

Paroxysms of Choice

The decade of the 1950s in the United States can seem eerily familiar to us now. It was also a period of unparalleled prosperity for most Americans, a time when America seemed the unquestionable master of the world. Americans showed little interest in international affairs or in politics generally, preferring …

The Enigma of Erik Erikson

Like the major topics that he addressed, the psychoanalyst Erik Homburger Erikson came into his own in the America of the 1960s. From his newly created position as professor of human development at Harvard, Erikson claimed that there were major psychological differences between men and women, a view that was …

Do Parents Count?

We all want to know how and why we got to be who we are. Parents have a special interest in answering the “how” and “why” questions with respect to their own children. In addressing the mysteries of human growth, traditional societies have invoked God, the gods, the fates, with …

Thinking About Thinking

Before Darwin, many scholars wrote about the origins of man and the beginnings of mental life. Such writings, however, were frankly speculative: there were few agreed-upon facts, nor was there a comprehensive theoretical frame within which to situate facts and suppositions. Darwin’s epoch-making writings changed forever the status of human …

Green Ideas Sleeping Furiously

As a rule, a book review in an obscure journal by an unknown scholar rarely attracts attention. Noam Chomsky’s lengthy review of B.F. Skinner’s Verbal Behavior, published in the journal Language in 1959, is a striking exception. At the time Skinner was the most respected experimental psychologist in the world …

The Bilingual Blur

Today there are perhaps four thousand spoken languages, about thirty times as many languages as there are countries in the world. Over half the world’s population is at least to some extent bilingual. These facts help to insure that bilingualism remains—as it has long been—an intellectually provocative and a socially …