Professor Emeritus of Psychology


Professor Lipsitt retired from regular teaching in 1996, but supervises occasional Honors students, and presently organizes a study group on "development, adversity, and resilience." He remains active in campus affairs, consults with students, and serves on university committees. He founded the Society of the Elderbears, which now shares quarters in the Faculty Club with the Faculty Committee on Retirement, and currently serves on the Faculty Committee on Honorary Degrees.
Dr. Lipsitt continues as a collaborator in a longitudinal research project, originally involving 4,000 births in Providence. The studied individuals are now in their forties, and neuropsychological exams and interviews are conducted to relate early developmental indices (obstetrical, pediatric, and psychological) to life-span outcomes. A special focus of this research is on adult conditions of individuals who had learning disabilities in early life. Studies also evaluate effects of parental smoking, during fetal development and post-birth, on developmental outcomes.
A developmental psychologist, Prof. Lipsitt received his B.A. from the University of Chicago (1950), his M.S. in clinical and social psychology from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst),(1952), and his Ph.D. in child psychology from the University of Iowa (Iowa City), (1957). At Brown since 1957, Lipsitt is currently Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Medical Science, and Human Development, and is also Research Professor of Psychology.
Prof. Lipsitt has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a Fellow of London's Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, and a Cattell Fellow at Stanford University's Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. He received the Nicholas Hobbs Award for "science in the service of children" in 1990 from the American Psychological Association (APA) Division of Child, Youth, and Family Services, and won the 1994 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Lifetime Achievement Mentor Award for his work with minority persons and women in the pursuit of scientific careers. He was president of the Brown University chapter of the Society of the Sigma Xi, and is a Fellow of the American Psychological Society (APS), for which he was a founding executive board member. In 1995 Dr. Lipsitt received a Professional Achievement Award from his undergraduate alma mater, the University of Chicago.
The founding director of Brown University's Child Study Center from 1967 to 1991, Lipsitt was a visiting scientist at the National Institute of Mental Health in 1986-87, studying psychopathological risk-taking. He has authored many articles on infant learning and perception, perinatal risk, crib death, adolescent suicide, and various conditions threatening young people's lives.
With Alvin Poussaint, M.D., Prof. Lipsitt co-directed the Lee Salk Center of KIDSPEACE, a national center for young people overcoming crises. As editor of the Brown University Child and Adolescent Behavior Letter for 15 years, his Newsbriefs appeared in the Sesame Street Parents Guide. He was a consultant to a WNET documentary TV series, and has served on advisory boards of BabyTalk and Child magazines.
Past president of the Eastern Psychological Association, 1992-93, and on the executive committee of the New England Psychological Association, which honored him with the Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award, he received the Musiker-Merenda award for mental health services to RI.
A past president of APA's Division of Developmental Psychology, Prof. Lipsitt has also been president of the Division of General Psychology, and was elected to the APA Council of Representatives for four terms. He chaired APA's board of scientific affairs, and was the APA executive director for science.
Founder in 1963 and co-editor of Advances in Child Development and Behavior, and founding editor (1978) of the journal, Infant Behavior and Development, Lipsitt also edited the Advances in Infancy Research. He has chaired the steering committee of the National Study of Early Child Care sponsored by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and was a founding member and chair of the population health and human development advisory committee for the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.

Brown Affiliations