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Mary Gauvain is Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside. She received her BA from UC Irvine in Social Ecology, MA from Stanford University in Sociology of Education, and PhD from the University of Utah in Developmental Psychology. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the City University of New York, Graduate Center and at the Oregon Social Learning Center. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Psychological Association, the American Educational Research Association, and the American Psychological Society. She has held faculty positions at Oregon State University and Scripps College and visiting academic appointments at the University of Pennsylvania, University of Melbourne, and University of Hawaii. She has received support for her research from the NIMH, the Spencer Foundation, and the Murray Center at Radcliffe College. Gauvain has served elected offices as Treasurer and as Council Representative of the American Psychological Association (Division 6: Developmental Psychology). She was an Associate Editor of the Merrill-Palmer Quarterly and for the past six years has served as Associate Editor of Child Development. She is currently the Chair of the Academic Senate at UCR and serves as the campus representative to the UC Academic Council.
Dr. Gauvain’s research examines social and cultural influences on cognitive development, the development of planning skills, and children’s spatial cognition. Her research focuses on the contributions of adults and peers to cognitive development in early and middle childhood. She is the author of numerous publications as well as The Social Context of Cognitive Development (Guilford, 2001) and co-author of Child Psychology (with R. Parke, 7th ed., McGraw-Hill, 2008) and Readings on the Development of Children (with M. Cole, 5th ed., Worth, 2008). Her current research on children’s comprehension of water and food contamination in sub-Saharan Africa, funded in part by the Gates Foundation, investigates social and cultural contributions to children’s learning of scientific concepts and the practical application of this knowledge in a context where such information is of vital importance to children’s everyday well-being.