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Distinguished Speaker Series: Kenneth Dodge

Psychology Distinguished Speaker Series 2017-2018

Nov 30, 2017
from 04:10 PM to 05:30 PM

Multi-Purpose Room, Student Community Center

Dr. Kenneth Dodge, Pritzker Professor of Early Learning Policy Studies and Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University, will give a special seminar titled "Development and Prevention of Chronic Violence in High-Risk Children".

The reception will begin at 3:30pm, and Dr. Dodge will begin his lecture at 4:10pm, followed by a Q&A session.



Understanding the psychological mechanisms of aggression has the potential to solve some of the world’s most vexing problems among families, social groups, and nations. Over the past several decades, we have learned that aggressive behavior is largely mediated by an acquired pattern of defensive response to perceived provocation that includes perceptual readiness to attribute hostile intent to others and testosterone release and heart rate hyperreactivity to perceived threat. This pattern is acquired through early experiences of maltreatment by parents and peers, and its life course consequences include not only aggressive behavior but also self-destruction and economic burden to society. We have used this knowledge to develop and test preventive interventions and policies. The Fast Track intervention is designed to teach children to respond to provocation more calmly and to arm them with skills to become successful when interacting with others. A randomized controlled trial demonstrates that we can teach high-risk five-year-old children necessary skills and that doing so leads to better outcomes 20 years later, including fewer violent arrests and higher overall well-being and happiness. This lecture will conclude with implications for education policy.



Kenneth Dodge is the Pritzker Professor of Public Policy and Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University, where he founded the Center for Child and Family Policy. As a clinical and developmental psychologist, he has devoted his career to understanding how adverse early experiences such as child abuse and chronic peer social rejection lead children to develop problem behavior patterns such as aggression, violence, and substance abuse. He has used this understanding to develop intervention programs to prevent problem outcomes in high-risk children and parents. He is now disseminating these programs and is identifying ways to finance preventive interventions and to shape public policy toward more benign and peaceful outcomes.