interviewed in
January 1994

Dr. Kenneth R. Livingston is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Vassar College. He has written widely on the relationship between psychology and philosophy, and was a popular lecturer at the Institute for Objectivist Studies Summer Seminar in 1994.

"I grew up in central Florida, in pre-Disney World Orlando. I was born in Ohio but we left there when I was four, so I don't remember that. With the exception of a two-year stint in Birmingham, Alabama, in my junior high school years, all of my growing up was in the Orlando area. I suppose my most significant ideological influences were from my father. He was a very staunch individualist and politically conservative, although I wasn't really familiar with those labels during those years. His individualism didn't extend to life in the family, however, which he ran like the Marine Corps sergeant he had once been. Without intending it, he made us all much more sensitive to issues of liberty than mere words could have done. In addition, Orlando was in general a relatively conservative area, the southern end of the Bible Belt. Largely as a result of my mother's insistence I had a pretty strong southern Baptist upbringing until I was 15 or so and rebelled against it, which was a cause of considerable turmoil in our family. That was a powerful psychological influence."

Excerpted from Full Context's interview with Ken Livingston.


Dr. Livinston's recent work involves assessing the empirical support for Ayn Rand's theory of concept-formation, and how it fares against its theoretical rivals from cognitive psychology. Some of this work was presented at the IOS Summer Seminar (1996).

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