Education: Reversible Retardation

For fear of disease, Indian mothers in the primitive Guatemalan village of San Marcos leave their infants alone in their huts during the first year of life. They have neither toys nor playmates, and they emerge from that isolation severely retarded—up to four months behind middle-class infants in the U.S.

According to standard theory, such an experience during a child's first year should handicap him for life. But Harvard Psychologist Jerome Kagan last week reported quite different findings. By the time children in San Marcos reach the age of eleven, Kagan told the...

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