In the late 1960’s the country was in Vietnam War and was going towards new direction of politics, new views and understanding that education system needs changes. It was a new era. Howard Gardner and Edward Zigler are two most influential psychologists of that time, who have altered the views of psychology providing new direction in early childhood development, education and even politics. Throughout their professional and personal path they both established a new foundation on which psychology stands today.
Howard Gardner born in 1942, in Scranton, Pennsylvania, described himself as "a studious child who gained much pleasure from playing the piano” (Gardener, 2003, p.80). Gardner received his undergraduate degree in 1965 and his Ph.D. in 1971 at Harvard. Howard Gardner did not believe that psychology was going to be his profession, nor he thought psychology was necessarily the desired career choice for him (Gardner, 2003, p. 79). He considered becoming a lawyer, a doctor or a teacher (Gardner, 2003, p.79). Jean Piaget works inspired him to study developmental psychology. He also mentioned that “Erikson’s work and his charisma drew me to developmental psychology” (Gardner, 2003, p. 80). “My mind was really opened when I went to Harvard College and had the opportunity to study under individuals—such as psychoanalyst Erik Erikson, sociologist David Riesman, and cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner—who were creating knowledge about human beings. That helped set me on the course of investigating human nature, particularly how human beings think," he later explained. His interest in the Arts, his passion to write and his own curiosity was combined with great support for his research.
In late 1960’s Gardner met with distinguished behavioral neurologist and philosopher Nelson Goodman who was the founder of Project Zero (Gardner, 2003, p. 80-83). Goodman’s plan of starting a research project interested Gardner in to becoming one of the “founding members of Harvard Project Zero and affiliated with Project Zero for more than a third of a century founding it to be a stimulating intellectual home”(Gardner, 2003, p.81). Gardner investigated and defined the role of “the right hemisphere of the brain and its importance in language development, artistic talent and creative styles (Gardner, 2003, p. 82). Gardner also positioned the theory of multiple intelligences (Gardner, 2003, p. 83). His work eventually was applied within the educational system of United States.
Edward Frank Zigler was born in 1930 Kansas, Missouri. His family was immigrants from Poland. In 1958, Zigler obtained his Ph.D. in developmental psychology at University of Texas. As Zigler mentioned in the article, “As a graduate student at the University of Texas in Austin, I was looking forward to serving an internship and becoming a clinical psychologist and was required to take classes in theory, research methodology, and statistics and to apply these lessons by conducting empirical work in child development” (Zigler, 2003, P.274). As a result, he expanded his research to include child development. His hypotheses testing was of “a standard protocol: taking findings from animal studies (mostly rats) to see if they applied to children’s behavior” (Zigler, 2003, p.274). The concept of rats running a maze faster when the reward was larger didn’t apply for the preschool children change to improving the “learning speed to variations in the magnitude of the reinforcement provided.” Zigler’s (2003) reasoning that “IQ was irrelevant to the hypothesis and that he could continue the study by testing retarded individuals with mental ages comparable to those of the nursery school children changed his career path and, eventually the field of mental retardation” (p. 274). All the observations that he made “led to the developmental approach to mental retardation (a pioneering effort in what would become the field of developmental psychopathology)”