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Melanie Killen is a developmental psychologist and Professor of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology, Professor of Psychology (Affiliate), and the Associate Director for the Center for Children, Relationships, and Culture at the University of Maryland. She has conducted research on social and moral development, social exclusion and the origins of prejudice, moral reasoning and group dynamics, peer relationships, and social-cognitive development. She has received funding from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), and the National Science Foundation (NSF) for her research.

Education Edit

Melanie Killen completed her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley and her B.A. in Psychology from Clark University.

Research Edit

Melanie Killen’s research areas of expertise include children’s and adolescents’ social and moral reasoning, peer relationships, social inclusion and exclusion, intergroup relationships and attitudes, prejudice and bias, gender roles, social development, social competence, and the role of school environments on development. Killen has served as an expert witness in a federal school desegregation case and helped prepare two Supreme Court briefs regarding the impact of school desegregation on children’s social development. She has consulted for the U.S. Government in the area of peer conflict resolution as well as for Sesame Workshop and Teaching Tolerance. She has also served as a consultant for a federal initiative on interventions designed to reduce prejudice and to promote inclusion in U.S. elementary schools. In 2011-2012, Killen and her research team were commissioned by Anderson Cooper at CNN AC360 to conduct a study on children's racial biases which aired in April, 2012. Killen serves on the expert advisory panel for the new National Children’s Museum in Washington, D.C., and her research has been profiled in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Baltimore Examiner, The American Scientist, The Chronicle of Higher Education, American School Board Journal, Teaching Tolerance Magazine,,, Parenting, Parent-Wise Magazine, Redbook, Baby Journal, as well as other print and media outlets.

Honors Edit

  • Outstanding Graduate Director of the Year Award, University of Maryland, 2012.
  • Funded study on children's intergroup biases was selected as featured research for "NSF Highlights: Social Factors in Bias and Stereotyping" by the National Science Foundation Office of Legislative and Public Affairs.
  • Graduate Mentor of the Year Award, University of Maryland, 2010
  • Distinguished Scholar-Teacher Award from the Provost for Academic Affairs, University of Maryland, 2010.
  • Honorable Mention, Otto Klineberg Intercultural and International Relations Prize, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI), for Intergroup attitudes and relations in childhood through adulthood (Eds. S. Levy & M. Killen), Oxford University Press, 2009.
  • Full member, Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, 2009
  • Allen Edwards Endowed Lecturer in Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, 2007.
  • Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year Award, University of Maryland, 2004
  • Fellow, Association for Psychological Science, 2003.
  • Recipient, James McKeen Cattell Sabbatical Award from the James McKeen Cattell Foundation, Duke University, 2000.
  • Winner, Outstanding Book Award for 1997, Moral Development and Education Special Interest Group (SIG) of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), Morality in everyday life: Developmental Perspectives, Cambridge University Press.
  • Fellow, American Psychological Association (Division 7, Developmental Psychology), 1997.
  • Visiting Faculty Fellow, Yale University, Yale/Mellon Visiting Faculty Program, 1990.
  • NIMH Predoctoral Traineeship, National Research Service Award, Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, 1979-1984.
  • Chancellor’s Patent Fund Award for Dissertation Research from the University of California, Berkeley, 1984.
  • Soroptimist International of America, Founder Region Fellowship for Dissertation Research, 1984.
  • Psi Chi Honorary Society, 1978
  • Undergraduate Honorary Fellow, New England Psychological Association, 1978
  • Jonas Clark Scholarship, Clark University, 1974.

Books Edit

Edited Journals, Special Issues Edit

  • Killen, M. (Ed.). (1996). Children's autonomy, social competence, and interactions with adults and other children: Exploring connections and consequences. (New Directions for Child Development Vol. 73). S.F., CA: Jossey-Bass, Inc.
  • Killen, M. (Ed.). (1995). Conflict resolution in early development [Guest Editor]. Early Education and Development, Volume 6.
  • Killen, M., & McKown, C. (Ed.) (2005). Children’s intergroup attitudes about race and ethnicity [Guest Editors]. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, Volume 26.

Selected Publications (Past Two Years) in Peer Reviewed Journals Edit

  • Killen, M., Mulvey, K.L., & Hitti, A. (2013). Social exclusion: A developmental intergroup perspective. Child Development, 84, 772-790.
  • Killen, M., Rutland, A., Abrams, D., Mulvey, K.L., & Hitti, A. (2013). Development of intra- and intergroup judgments in the context of moral and social-conventional norms. Child Development, 84, 1063-1080.
  • Cooley, S., Elenbaas, L., & Killen, M. (2012). Moral judgments and emotions: Adolescents’ evaluations in intergroup social exclusion contexts. New Directions for Youth Development, 136, 41-57.
  • Killen, M., Mulvey, K.L., Hitti, A., & Rutland, A. (2012). What works to address prejudice? Look to developmental science research for the answer [commentary on lead article by Dixon, et al.]. Brain and Behavioral Sciences.
  • Park, Y., Lee-Kim, J., Killen, M., Park, K.J., & Kim, J. (2012). Korean children’s evaluations of parental restrictions regarding gender-stereotypic peer activities. Social Development, 21, 577-591.
  • Malti, T., Killen, M., & Gasser, L. (2012). Social judgments and emotion attributions about exclusion in Switzerland. Child Development, 83, 697-711.
  • Richardson, C., Mulvey, K.L., & Killen, M. (2012). Extending social domain theory with a process-based account of moral judgments. Human Development, 55, 4 – 25.
  • Killen, M., Rutland, A., & Ruck, M. (2011). Promoting equity, tolerance, and justice: Policy implications. SRCD Policy Report: Sharing Child and Youth Development Knowledge, 25, 1 – 33.
  • Ruck, M., Park, H., Killen, M., & Crystal, D.S. (2011). Intergroup contact and evaluations of race-based exclusion in urban minority children and adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 40, 633-643.
  • Sinno, S., & Killen, M. (2011). Social reasoning about second-shift parenting. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 29, 313-329.
  • Killen, M., Mulvey, K. L., Richardson, C. B., Jampol, N., & Woodward, A. (2011). The “accidental transgressor”: Morally-relevant theory of mind. Cognition, 119, 197-215.
  • Hitti, A., Mulvey, K.L., & Killen, M. (2011). Evaluation of social exclusion: The role of group norms, group identity and fairness. In Enesco, I., & Guerrero, S. (2011). Anales de Psicologia: Special Issue: Social and Developmental Aspects of Prejudice during Childhood and Adolescence.

References Edit

University of Maryland Center for Children, Relationships, and Culture Social and Moral Development Research Group

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