Schmitt Russell Lecture to focus on role of temperament in child development

Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Cynthia Stifter, professor of human development and psychology, will present the 2015 Schmitt Russell Research Lecture. Her presentation, “Becoming Who We Are: The Role of Temperament in Child Development,” will be held at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18, in the Bennett Pierce Living Center, 110 Henderson Building, on the University Park campus.

The event, sponsored by the College of Health and Human Development, is free and open to the public.

Stifter is a leading researcher on social-emotional development in infants and young children. Since 1987, she has been conducting research at Penn State, which has made major contributions to the understanding of individual differences in emotional reactivity and the regulation of emotions, with significant implications for the well-being of children.

The frequency and intensity of emotions and the ability to control emotional reactions can be associated with a range of childhood outcomes, including school achievement, stress levels and physical health. Stifter’s research has made important contributions on what helps shape early emotion regulation and has investigated how early differences in temperament, physiological reactivity, and parent’s behaviors contribute to the emergence of self-regulation of emotions, particularly anger and fear.

In addition to her faculty duties, Stifter has been serving as associate editor of Child Development, the leading journal in the field, since 2007. She has also received numerous awards and honors, including the American Psychological Society Fellow, Bennett Faculty Scholar in Prevention Science from the Prevention Center for the Promotion of Human Development, Outstanding Scholar in Education Award from the University of Maryland, and the Evan G. and Helen G. Paittshall Outstanding Research Achievement Award from the College of Health and Human Development in 1999.

Stifter earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology, a master’s degree in clinical social work, and a doctoral degree in human development, all at the University of Maryland.

The Schmitt Russell Research Lecture is delivered each year by the most recent recipient of the Pauline Schmitt Russell Distinguished Research Achievement Award, which recognizes the career-long research contributions of a distinguished faculty member whose research has had a profound impact on an identified field of study. The award was established by Leo P. Russell, a 1941 industrial engineering graduate, to honor his late wife, Pauline Schmitt Russell, who received her home economics degree from Penn State in 1948.

Last Updated November 10, 2015