Margaret Donaldson

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Margaret Donaldson
Born1926 (age 93–94)
Academic background
Alma materUniversity of Edinburgh
Academic work
Sub-disciplineDevelopmental psychology
InstitutionsUniversity of Edinburgh
Notable works
  • Children's Minds
  • Human Minds

Margaret Caldwell Donaldson (born 1926) is a former professor of developmental psychology at the University of Edinburgh.[1]

She was educated at the University of Edinburgh, where she gained a Ph.D. in 1956[2], and continued as a teacher after graduating. She traveled to Memphis Tennessee to guest-lecture and teach at Rhodes College (then Southwestern) during the 1962–1963 school year.[3] In 1980, she was appointed professor of developmental psychology. Her main research interest has always been in the study of human thought and language. At Edinburgh, Professor Donaldson oversaw the development of research in developmental psychology and psycholinguistics.[4]

At an early stage in her career, she spent some time at Jean Piaget's research institute in Geneva, and was much influenced by that experience, though she later came to question some important aspects of Piagetian theory. She spent a year in the United States as the holder of a John Hay Whitney Fellowship, and has also worked there with Jerome Bruner on curriculum development projects.

She is the author of A Study of Children's Thinking and Children's Minds. Along with Robert Grieve and Chris Pratt, she has edited a book of readings entitled Early Childhood Development and Education. Jerome Bruner has described Donaldson's Children's Minds as "One of the most powerful, most wisely balanced and best informed books on the development of the child's mind to have appeared in twenty years. Its implications for education are enormous."[5]


  • Children's Minds, London: Fontana/Croom Helm, 1978, ISBN 0-85664-759-4
  • Human Minds, London: Allen Lane, 1992, ISBN 0-7139-9081-3[6][7]


  1. ^ Wendy A. Conroy (1997). Biographical Dictionary of Psychology. Taylor & Francis. pp. 150–. ISBN 978-0-415-09997-4.
  2. ^ Donaldson, Margaret C. (1956). "Relevance to the theory of intelligence testing of the stugy of errors in thinking". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ Rhodes College Digital Archives. "Dr. Margaret C. Donaldson was a guest lecturer and part-time psychology professor from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland..."
  4. ^ "Psychology Department – History". University of Edinburgh. Retrieved 9 April 2009.
  5. ^ Publicity quote in Donaldson, Margaret (1978) Children's Minds, Fontana Press. ISBN 0-00-686122-9.
  6. ^ Self, Will (7 December 1992). "Review of Human Minds by Margaret Donaldson". The Independent.
  7. ^ "Review of Human Minds by Margaret Donaldson". Publishers Weekly. 4 January 1993.