Heidi Keller, born in Talling, Germany, in 1945. Ph.D. from the Universität Mainz. Professor of Psychology and Head of the Department of Culture and Development at the Universität Osnabrück.
Fellow (1 September 2002 – 30 June 2003)
The focus of my research is on early socialisation experiences across cultures and the subsequent developmental consequences. My stay at NIAS during the academic year 2002 2003 allowed me to make substantial progress in the theorising and the methodological advancement of my research programme. In terms of theoretical differentiation, I broadened the scope of my research programme by integrating two new areas: the cultural code of parental language as a striving socialisation force and the development of children’s autobiographical memory of early socialisation experiences. The analysis of the cultural code of parental language allows us to address diverse theoretical questions in the study of parental ethnotheories that have not been adequately treated so far. The analysis of infant or child directed speech further helps us to understand the cultural pattern of parenting by revealing the underlying ‘models of men’. A conceptual analysis of the emergence of children’s autobiographical memory makes it possible to trace longitudinal pathways with respect to the development of the self concept. The methodological advancement is also twofold: based in research about maternal narrating styles with preschool children in different cultures, I was able to develop a style manual for the analysis of parental (mothers, grandmothers, fathers) language with and about infants in different cultures. I was also able to become acquainted with qualitative research methodology, which complements quantitative analysis in the study of cultural socialisation patterns. Several papers on the conceptual and methodological development of my research programme have been accepted or are under review. My stay at NIAS has been very productive and an emotionally and socially rewarding time due to a wonderful staff and wonderful co-Fellows.