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- Bachelor of Science, Cornell University, 1981
- Master of Science, Cornell University, 1987
- Doctor of Philosophy, Cornell University, 1990
Adolescent social relations encompass changing relationships with parents and peers, the initiation of romantic relationships, and an expanding social world that includes greater and more unsupervised interactions with the community and a more sophisticated and multidimensional conception of peers. As a developmental psychologist, my research focuses on how adolescents influence and are influenced by these social relationships and how these different social spheres interact to change the course of individual development.Because many of these processes aren't amenable to experimental manipulation (they don't let you randomly assign parental divorce to adolescents to see how it affects them), I have become particularly interested in two different aspects of the study of psychology: contextual variability and research methods.Although all scientists work to develop generalizable models, developmental psychologists in particular have focused on looking at lawful variability in basic processes. For example, does severe, strict parenting have the same influence on children living in dangerous urban environments as it does on youth in the suburbs? Does it have similar effects on boys and girls? On youth in the Philippines and the United States? Natural variability in basic processes across different individuals and in different situations provides critical insight into human development and has in some ways substituted for experimental manipulation in aspects of social development not well suited to laboratory study. Interest in contextual variability has led me to study adolescents in Japan, the Philippines, Chile, Italy, and in many different types of communities within the United States. And the complexity of these processes and the need to understand how the development of individuals is embedded in their relationships with others has led to a deep interest in statistics and research methods. Our science is only as good as our models.