British Journal of Psychology

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Volume 88 Issue 2 (May 1997), Pages 179-354

Beyond psychobiography: Towards more effective syntheses of psychology and biography (pages 235-248)

The question of how particular children develop into unusually competent or creative men and women has intrigued scholars in the very different disciplines of biography and scientific psychology. That both traditions make essential contributions is indicated by the fact that numerous psychologists interested in individual development have drawn upon biographical sources of information and many biographers have engaged in the kinds of psychodynamic theorizing associated with psychobiography. It is suggested here that psychology has considerably more to offer to the study of individual development than psychobiographers have realized, and that findings emerging from empirical research can provide insights that are not routinely available to biographers. The article then considers five necessary aspects of an approach that would maximize the impact of scientific psychology on our understanding of the development of exceptional individuals.

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