Sad to learn of the death of a major influence and dear friend, the brilliant and witty psychologist Judith Rich Harris. Too early for an obit, but the NYT review of her magnum opus may be found here: https://t.co/nrqZyHJqMc
— Steven Pinker (@sapinker) December 30, 2018
With hindsight, I judge Steve Pinker’s The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature as something of a high-tide in biologically informed realism in the psychological and behavioral sciences in the 21st century. A reread is bittersweet, knowing what has come to pass. But one of the best things about The Blank Slate is that he gave extensive publicity to Judith Rich Harris’ The Nurture Assumption. I like to think, perhaps hope, that her work influenced many “Generation X” parents.
In January of 2006 she answered 10 Questions for this weblog. Judy and her husband were always gracious and kind in their email correspondence with me. I can’t say that for many academics who are in the fullness of their health and well-being, something she struggled with for decades.
Her life made a difference. Read The Nurture Assumption and her follow-up book, No Two Alike: Human Nature and Human Individuality, to understand why.