Originally published in 1970, this is a survey of findings on the learning of young animals and human infants. In an attempt to discover some of the characteristic features of early learning, it examines all types of learning from conditioning and the primitive process known as ‘imprinting’, usually associated with ducklings, to the beginnings of understanding and language. The so-called ‘critical’ periods for social learning and personality development are considered at some length, and a close look is taken at research methods used in studying early learning, and at the needs and problems of current research.
As a textbook for students of psychology, biology and sociology this book would have been invaluable at the time of publication. It should still also be of interest to research workers in the fields of animal behaviour and developmental psychology, and to practising psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers, as it is an up-to-date summary of all the knowledge concerning early learning at the time.
Preface. 1. Early and Later Learning 2. Conditioning the Young 3. Classical Imprinting 4. Imprinting and Human Behaviour 5. Reactivity and Docility 6. Sensitive Periods 7. Imitation 8. The Beginnings of Language 9. The Emergence of Individuality 10. Early Learning: Theorizing and Research. Index.