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Release: Immediate

UI symposium focuses on personality development in children

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Why do some children develop personalities that allow them to adapt to and function well in society while others develop into people who are less happy and less well adjusted? The reasons are varied and complex, and it is more than just a question of "nature vs. nurture," said Grazyna Kochanska, Stuit Professor of psychology at the University of Iowa.

To explore the issues surrounding personality development in children, the department of psychology and the College of Education have organized a two-day Ida Beam Symposium at the UI. The symposium, "Adaptive and Maladaptive Pathways in Personality Development," includes three presentations Friday, April 17 given by distinguished scholars in the field and an informal discussion with those professors at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 18 in Room 101 Spence Laboratories. The symposium is free and open to the public.

The April 17 presentations will be in the Triangle Ballroom of the Iowa Memorial Union beginning at 1 p.m. with H. Hill Goldsmith, Leona Tyler Professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He will discuss the genetic basis for personality development and explain genetic contributions to individual differences and temperament.

Mary K. Rothbart, a professor of psychology at the University of Oregon, will present the second topic, beginning at 2:10 p.m. She will discuss children's temperament, including biologically-founded differences in several affective systems and self-regulation systems, and how those early differences affect the development of their personalities.

Finally, at 3:30 p.m., L. Alan Sroufe, a professor at the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota, will discuss the ways in which experiences in early relationships during childhood shape an individual's personality.

"These presentations will explore the varying modern views on the broad range of differences we see in human personalities, and elucidate the very complex and diverse factors that contribute to their origins and development," said Kochanska, one of the symposium organizers.

Ida Cornelia Beam, a native of Vinton, willed her farm to the UI in 1977. Her only university connection was a relative who graduated from the College of Medicine. With the proceeds from the sale of the farm, the UI established a fund to bring top scholars in a variety of disciplines to the university for lectures and discussions.