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Melanie Killen

Melanie Killen

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Melanie Killen is 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.

Professor Killen has received funding from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), and the National Science Foundation (NSF), for her research on children’s and adolescents’ moral development, social reasoning about exclusion, intergroup bias, prejudice, and social cognition in childhood. She was awarded the Distinguished Scholar-Teacher Award by the Provost from the University of Maryland for 2008-2009. Her publications include co-authoring with Adam Rutland the book, "Children and Social Exclusion: Morality, Prejudice, and Group Identity" (2011) and co-editing 6 books, including a co-edited book with Sheri Levy entitled "Intergroup Attitudes and Relationships in Childhood through Adulthood" (2008), as well as serving as the Editor of the "Handbook on Moral Development" (2006, 2014) with Judith Smetana.

Professor Killen has served as an expert witness in a school desegregation case, and helped prepare two Supreme Court briefs regarding the impact of school desegregation on children’s social development. She has also served as a consultant for a federal initiative on interventions designed to reduce prejudice and promote inclusion in U.S. elementary schools, and as a consultant for the Southern Poverty Law Center to design an online teacher sensitivity to bias measure. Her expertise lies in the areas of developmental intergroup attitudes, moral reasoning, and developmental social cognition.

Primary Interests:

  • Attitudes and Beliefs
  • Culture and Ethnicity
  • Ethics and Morality
  • Gender Psychology
  • Group Processes
  • Helping, Prosocial Behavior
  • Intergroup Relations
  • Interpersonal Processes
  • Prejudice and Stereotyping
  • Social Cognition

Research Group or Laboratory:

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Journal Articles:

  • Sinno, S., & Killen, M. (2009). Moms at work and dads at home: Children’s evaluations of parental roles. Applied Developmental Science, 13, 16-29.
  • Rutland, A., & Killen, M. (2015). A developmental science approach to reducing prejudice and social exclusion: Intergroup processes, social-cognitive development, and moral reasoning. Social Issues and Policy Review, 9, 121-154.
  • Mulvey, K.L., Rizzo, M. T., & Killen, M. (2015). Challenging gender stereotypes: Theory of mind and peer group dynamics. Developmental Science. Doi:10.1111/desc.12345.
  • Killen, M., & Smetana, J. G. (2008). Moral judgment and moral neuroscience: Intersections, definitions, and issues. Child Development Perspectives, 2, 1-6.
  • 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. DOI: 10.1111/cdev.12011
  • Killen, M. (2007). Children’s social and moral reasoning about exclusion. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 16, 32-36.
  • Hitti, A., & Killen, M. (2015). Expectations about ethnic peer group inclusivity: The role of shared interests, group norms, and stereotypes. Child Development, 86, 1522-1537. doi:10.1111/cdev.12393
  • Rutland, A., Killen, M., & Abrams, D. (2010). A new social-cognitive developmental perspective on prejudice: The interplay between morality and group identity. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 5, 280-291.
  • Nipedal, C., Nesdale, D., & Killen, M. (2010). Social group norms, school norms, and aggressive intentions. Aggressive Behavior, 36, 195-204.
  • Mulvey, K.L., Hitti, A., Rutland, A., Abrams, D., & Killen, M. (2014). Context differences in ingroup preferences. Developmental Psychology. Doi: 10.1037/a0035593.
  • McGlothlin, H., & Killen, M. (2010). How social experience is related to children’s intergroup attitudes. European Journal of Social Psychology: Special Issue: Children’s Intergroup Attitudes (Guest editors: J. Degner & Y. Dunham), 40, 625-634.
  • 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.
  • Killen, M., Kelly, M., Richardson, C., & Jampol, N. (2010). Attributions of intentions and fairness judgments regarding interracial peer encounters. Developmental Psychology, 46, 1206-1213.

Other Publications:

  • Killen, M., & Smetana, J.G. (2015). Origins and development of morality. In R.M. Lerner & M.E. Lamb (Ed.), Handbook of child psychology and developmental science, Vol. 3, 7th edition (pp. 701-749). Editor-in-Chief, R. M. Lerner. NY: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Killen, M., Hitti, A., & Mulvey, K.L. (2014). Social development and intergroup relations. In J. Simpson & J. Dovidio (Associate Eds.), APA Handbook of personality and social psychology, Vol.2, Interpersonal relations and group processes (pp. 177-201). Washington, D.C.: APA Press.
  • Killen, M., Hitti, A., Cooley, C., & Elenbaas, L. (2015). Morality, development, and culture. In M. Gelfand, C.Y.Chiu, & Y.Y. Hong (Eds.), Advances in culture and psychology (pp. 161-220). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Abrams, D., & Killen, M. (Eds.) (2014). The social exclusion of children. [Guest Editors]. Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 70, Number 1.

Courses Taught:

  • Development of Intergroup Attitudes
  • Development of Social Cognition and Moral Reasoning
  • History of Developmental Systems
  • Research Methods
  • Social Development

Melanie Killen
Department of Human Development
3304 Benjamin Building
University of Maryland
College Park, Maryland 20742
United States

  • Phone: (301) 405-3176
  • Fax: (301) 405-2891

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