One of the worlds leading developmental psychologists, K. Warner Schaie, will present a special distinguished lecture at West VirginiaUniversity at 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 6, in the Mountainlair Shenandoah Room. The lecture is free and open to the public.
Schaies presentation,”Longitudinal Studies of Adult Cognitive Development,”focuses on a field of study for which he is renowned worldwide.
Later that evening, Dr. Schaie will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree from WVU at a December Convocation set for 6 p.m. at the Coliseum.
In 1956, Schaie began the Seattle Longitudinal Study at the University of Washington, where he completed his Ph.D. in psychology that same year. The project, which is updated every seven years, is considered one of the most extensive studies of how people develop and change from early adulthood to old age. Researchers throughout the world have published more than 60 articles, books and scientific papers from the data completed through the project.
The original study included 500 members of the Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound who were randomly selected from the membership. They ranged in age from early 20s to late 60s. At each seven-year interval, new members of the Group Health Cooperative are added to the study. Nearly 5,000 adults have participated in the research project, including 70 who have been involved since 1956. The loss of subjects is about 5 percent annually. In 1989-1990, researchers began collecting data from siblings and adult children of participants in the main study to examine the extent of family similarity in mental abilities and other psychological characteristics. The study now includes three generations of families.
A former professor and chair of WVU s well-respected Department of Psychology, Schaie now directs the GerontologyCenter and is the Evan Pugh Professor of Human Development and Psychology at The Pennsylvania State University. He is the author or editor of some 22 books and 250 scholarly articles, including numerous collaborations with his wife, Sherry L. Willis, a professor of human development at PennState.
During his eight years at WVU (1964-1973), Schaie led the development of the Psychology Departments APA -accredited clinical psychology program, helped establish a life-span developmental psychology program and redefined the departments research focus �€which still exists 30 years after his departure. He is also remembered for being among the first WVU faculty members to receive extramural funding for research initiatives.