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PROFESSOR OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT AND FAMILY STUDIES

Penn State Brandywine
MEDIA, PA 19063-5596
PHONE: (610) 892-1432
FAX: (610) 892-1357

Professional Information

Cynthia Lightfoot is a Professor and Program Director of Human Development and Family Studies at Penn State University, Brandywine. She received her B.A. from the University of California, Santa Cruz, her M.A. from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, and her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Her publications and professional presentations focus on adolescent peer culture, risk-taking, and identity development. Recent publications include The Culture of Adolescent Risk-Taking (1997, Guilford Press; www.guilford.com), Sociogenetic Perspectives on Internalization (1997, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates; www.erlbaum.com; edited with Brian Cox), and "Changing times: Essays on the development of self and culture", a special issue of the journal, Culture and Psychology (www.clarku.edu/~cultpsy/; edited with Maria Lrya). She is active in several professional societies, currently serving as Vice President to the Board of Directors of the Jean Piaget Society (http://www.piaget.org/).

Education:

University of California, Santa Cruz B.A., Psychology 1979
University of British Columbia, Vancouver M.A., Psychology 1984
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Ph.D., Psychology 1990

Current Appointment:

1998-Present Professor, Program Director, Human Development and Family Studies,
  Pennsylvania State University, University College.

Teaching Experience:

1998- Professor, Pennsylvania State University, Brandywine
Present (Human Development and Family Studies)

1996- Associate Professor, State University of New York at Plattsburgh, New York
1998 (Infancy and Childhood; Adolescence and Young Adulthood; Lifespan

Development; Writing Seminar)

1990- Assistant Professor, State University of New York at Plattsburgh, New York
1996 (Infancy and Childhood; Adolescence and Young Adulthood; Lifespan

Development; Writing Seminar)

Professional Activities:

1999-present Vice President, Jean Piaget Society

1996-1999 Secretary, Jean Piaget Society

1998 Ad hoc Reviewer, Health Psychology

1988-present Ad hoc Reviewer,Culture and Psychology, Theory and Psychology,

Early Development and Parenting, Developmental Psychology.

Grants and Awards:

1998 PSU Project Empower Teaching Grant

1998 PSU International Cooperative Programs Global Fund Travel Award

1998 Presidential Research Award

1994 Nuala McGann Drescher Affirmative Action Leave

1991, 1997, 1998 Redcay Faculty Fellowship

1991 Spencer Foundation

Publications:

Books

Cox, B., & Lightfoot, C. (Eds.). (1997). Sociogenetic perspectives on internalization. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Lightfoot, C. (1997). The culture of adolescent risk-taking. New York, NY: Guilford Publications, Inc.

Journal articles, book chapters, and review essays

Lightfoot, C. (1997). The clarity of perspective: Adolescent risk-taking, fantasy, and the internalization of cultural identity. In B. Cox & C. Lightfoot (Eds.), Sociogenetic perspectives on internalization. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Lightfoot, C., & Cox, B. (1997). Beyond a geography of mind. In B. Cox and C. Lightfoot (Eds.), Sociogenetic perspectives on internalization. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Lightfoot, C. (1996). Transforming the canonical cowboy: Notes on the determinacy and indeterminacy of children's play and cultural development. In A. Fogel, M. Lyra and J. Valsiner (Eds.), Dynamics and indeterminism in developmental and social processes. Mahwah, NJ, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Lightfoot, C. (1992). Constructing self and peer culture: A narrative perspective on adolescent risk taking. In L. T. Winegar & J. Valsiner (Eds.), Children's development within social contexts, Vol. 2, research and methodology. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Lightfoot, C., & Valsiner, J. (1992). Cultural communication and parental belief systems: Possible effects on the construction of personal cultures. In I. Sigel, A. McGillicuddy- DeLisi & J. Goodnow (Eds.), Parental belief systems, 2nd edition. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Lightfoot, C., & Folds-Bennett, T. (1992). Description and explanation in developmental research: Separate agendas. In J. Asendorf & J. Valsiner (Eds.), Framing Stability and Change. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

Lightfoot, C. (1988). The social construction of cognitive conflict: A place for affect. In J. Valsiner (Ed.), Child development within culturally structured environments: Vol II. N.J.: Ablex Publishing Co.

Lyra, M., & Lightfoot, C. (Eds.) (in press). Culture, self, and time: Prospects for the new
millennium. Culture and Psychology.

Vasta, R., Lightfoot, C., & Cox, B. (1993). Understanding gender differences on the water level problem: The role of spatial perception. Merrill Palmer Quarterly, 39, 391-414.

Lightfoot, C., & Bullock, M. (1990). Interpreting contradictory communications: Age and context effects. Developmental Psychology, 26, 830-836.

Valsiner, J., & Lightfoot, C. (1987). Process structure of parent-child environment relations and the prevention of children's injuries. Journal of Social Issues, 43, 61-72.

Lightfoot, C. (in press). On respect. In New Ideas in Psychology.

Lightfoot, C. (1999). Review of "Psychosocial disturbances in young people: Challenges for prevention" (M. Rutter, ed.). Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology.

Lightfoot, C. (1996). Slouching towards Paradigm Land: A review of Youth Culture in late modernity. Culture and Psychology, 2, 465-475.

Presentations:

Lightfoot, C. (1998). Drama, communication, and meta communication in the process of identity formation. Paper invited for presentation as a part of the symposium, "Dialogical and relational approaches to communication and child development," (A. Branco & J. Valsiner, organizers) at the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development, Berne, Switzerland.

Lightfoot, C. (Organizer) (1998). Narratives of Transformation. Symposium invited for presentation at the Annual Symposium of the Jean Piaget Society. Chicago, IL.

Lightfoot, C. (1994). An interpretive perspective on adolescents' risk-taking. Paper presented as part of the symposium, "The play element in culture as an alternative made of learning," (A. Nicolopoulou, organizer). American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA.

Lightfoot, C. (1993). Perspectives on the development of adolescent "self hood" through "peer culture." Paper presented as a part of the symposium "New perspectives in culture-inclusive developmental psychology" at the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development, Recife, Brazil.

Lightfoot, C. (1993). Invited participant in the workshop "Determinism and indeterminism in development." Serrambi, Brazil.

Lightfoot, C. (1992). Adolescent peer group as a context for problem solving. Paper presented as a part of the symposium "Towards co-constructive methodology in the study of human development," at the International Conference for Sociocultural Research, Madrid, Spain.

Lightfoot, C. (1989). Adolescents at Play: Risk-Taking and Self-Exploration. Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the International Society for Social and Behavior Development, Jyvaskyla, Finland.

Lightfoot, C. (1998). Adolescent risk-taking as a moral enterprise. Paper presented at the Association for Moral Education, Hanover, New Hampshire.

Lightfoot, C. (1998). Self development in cultural-historical context. Paper accepted for presentation as a part of the symposium, "Development as a Social and Cultural Construction," (H. Herme & C. Lightfoot, organizers) at the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development, Berne, Switzerland.

Lakusta, J., Butler, C., Webb, D., & Lightfoot, C. (1999). Developmental changes in fiction writing across the adolescent years. Poster presented at the Annual Symposium of the Jean Piaget Society. Chicago, IL.

Lightfoot, C. (1998). Self-development in cultural-historical context. Paper presented as a part of the symposium, "Development as a social and cultural construction," (H. Herme, organizer), at the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development, Berne, Switzerland.

Lightfoot, C. (1997). The aesthetic self: Drama, metaphor, and adolescents' cultural development. Paper presented as a part of the symposium, "Dynamics of meaning-making in interpersonal communication (M. Lyra, organizer) at the Annual Symposium of the Jean Piaget Society, Santa Monica, CA.

Lightfoot, C. (1996). Interpreting the Bildungsroman: Developing conceptions of transformative experience through the adolescent years. Poster presented at The Growing Mind, September, Geneva, Switzerland.

Lightfoot, C. (1996). The drama of adolescent social life: Risk-taking, fantasy, and the development of peer culture. Presented as a part of the workshop, "Sociogenetic investigations of children's development" (M. Lyra & C. Lightfoot, organizers) at the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development, Quebec City, Canada.

Lightfoot, C., Howe, M., Khan, N., Penrose, S., Sterns, M., & Wurm, K. (1996). Narratives of transformation: Developing conceptions of risk and adventure in adolescents and young adults. Poster presented at the Annual Symposium of The Jean Piaget Society, Philadelphia, PA.

Transue, D., & Lightfoot, C. (1995). Suspended identity: Peer relations in a residential treatment center for troubled youth. Poster presented at the Society for Research in Child Development, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Lightfoot, C. (1994). Risk-taking as play and interpretive activity. Poster presented at the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Lightfoot, C. (1994). Literary forms of the hero, and adolescents' narratives of risk-taking. Paper presented as a part of the symposium, "Co-constructive and interpretive solutions to sociogenetic problems," (C. Lightfoot, organizer). Annual Symposium of the Jean Piaget Society, Chicago, IL.

Jankowski, A., & Lightfoot, C. (1993). The social dynamics of collaborative problem solving in adolescent peer groups. Poster presented at the Society for Research in Child Development, New Orleans, LA.

Lightfoot, C. (1993). Playing with desire. Paper presented as a part of the symposium "Internalization as Negotiation" (B. Cox and C. Lightfoot, organizers), at the Society for Research in Child Development, New Orleans, LA.

Lightfoot, C. (1993). Adolescents' "deep play" and the semiotic construction of self. Paper presented at the Annual Symposium of the Jean Piaget Society, Philadelphia, PA.

Lightfoot, C., Baker, C., Conners, K., Johnson, L., & McWhorter, J. (1993). The interpsychological functioning of adolescent peer groups. Paper presented at the Annual Symposium of the Jean Piaget Society, Philadelphia, PA.

Boyes, M., Galperyn, K., & Lightfoot, C. (1992). Young people's epistemic assumptions and their perceptions of media coverage of the Gulf War. Poster presented at the Society for Research on Adolescence, Washington, D.C.

Personal Information

When people ask me where I grew up, I often say, “In the back of a station wagon.” My family moved around a lot, both in the United States and abroad. I went to high school in Japan, and did my first year of college at an international university in Tokyo. When I returned to the United States to attend the University of California, Santa Cruz, I was interested in psychology, philosophy, mathematics, and the way that culture influences how people think about themselves and the world. I loved being a student, and decided that the best way to make a living at it was to become a professor. I completed graduate degrees at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. My experiences working as a child development specialist in a program for teen mothers, many of whom were Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees, fostered my interests in the relationships between adolescent identity development, culture, and issues affecting minority and immigrant families. I study and teach students about these relationships when I am not spending time with my family or riding my horse.

 
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