Distinguished ProfessorUniversity of California, Davis
Office: 279 Young Hall
Dr. Thompson's work focuses on early personality and socioemotional development in the context of close relationships, an interest that contributes to the cross-disciplinary field of developmental relational science. This interest takes his work in two directions. First, his research explores the influence of relational processes on emotional growth, conscience development, emotion regulation, and self-understanding. Recent studies have examined, for example, how the content and structure of early parent-child discourse shapes young children's developing representations of emotion, morality, and self. Second, he has worked on the applications of developmental relational science to public policy problems concerning children and families, such as school readiness and its development, early childhood mental health policy, and research ethics. Dr. Thompson has served twice as Associate Editor of Child Development, was a Senior NIMH Fellow in Law and Psychology at Stanford University in 1989-90, and served on the Committee on Integrating the Science of Early Childhood Development of the National Academy of Sciences (1998-2000). He received the Ann Brown Award for Excellence in Developmental Research in 2007. His books include Preventing Child Maltreatment Through Social Support: A Critical Analysis (Sage, 1995), The Postdivorce Family (Sage, 1999), Toward a Child-Centered, Neighborhood-Based Child Protection System (Praeger, 2002), and Socioemotional Development (Nebraska Symposium on Motivation; University of Nebraska Press, 1990), and he is currently working on Early Brain Development, the Media, and Public Policy. He has received the Boyd McCandless Award from the American Psychological Association, and the Outstanding Research and Creative Activity Award from the University of Nebraska, where he was also a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers.