Kurt W. Fischer

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Kurt W. Fischer
Born (1943-06-09)9 June 1943
Baltimore, Maryland
Fields Sociology
Cognitive Psychology
Developmental psychology
Institutions University of Denver
Harvard University
Alma mater Harvard University
Known for dynamic skill theory, a Neo-Piagetian theory of cognitive development
Influences Jean Piaget

Kurt W. Fischer is Charles Bigelow Professor of Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education.[1] Fischer studies cognitive and emotional development and learning.[2] His work, called dynamic skill theory,[3] is considered to be one of the Neo-Piagetian theories of cognitive development. It offers an explanation for both consistency and variability in developmental patterns.[4]

His current focus has been on the field of Mind, Brain, and Education (or educational neuroscience). He is the founding president of the International Mind, Brain, and Education Society[5] and founding editor of the journal Mind, Brain, and Education.[6]

Notable publications[edit]

  • Fischer, K. W. (1980). A theory of cognitive development: The control and construction of hierarchies of skills. Psychological Review, 87, 477-531.
  • Fischer, K. W., Shaver, P., & Carnchan, P. (1989). A skill approach to emotional development: From basic- to subordinate-category emotions. In W. Damon (Ed.), Child development today and tomorrow (pp. 107–136). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Fischer, K. W., & Rose, S. P. (1994). Dynamic development of coordination of components in brain and behavior: A framework for theory and research. In G. Dawson & K. W. Fischer (Eds.), Human behavior and the developing brain. (pp. 3–66). New York: Guilford Press.
  • Fischer, K. W., Ayoub, C., Singh, I., Noam, G., Maraganore, A., & Raya, P. (1997). Psychopathology as adaptive development along distinctive pathways. Development & Psychopathology, 9, 749-779.
  • Fischer, K. W., & Bidell, T. R. (2006). Dynamic development of action, thought, and emotion. In R. M. Lerner (Ed.), Handbook of child psychology. Vol 1: Theoretical models of human development(6th ed., pp. 313–399 ). New York: Wiley.
  • Fischer, K. W., Daniel, D., Immordino-Yang, M. H., Stern, E., Battro, A., & Koizumi, H.. (2007) Why Mind, Brain, and Education? Why Now? Mind, Brain, and Education, 1(1), 1-2.
  • Fischer, K. W., & Fusaro, M. (2007). Using student interests to motivate learning. In R. P. Fink & J. Samuels (Eds.), Inspiring success: Reading interest and motivation in an age of high-stakes testing (pp. 62–74). Newark DE: International Reading Association.
  • Fischer, K. W., Bernstein, J. H., & Immordino-Yang, M. H. (Eds.). (2007) Mind, brain, and education in reading disorders. Cambridge U.K.: Cambridge University Press.
  • Battro, A.M., Fischer, K.W., & Lena, P. (2008). (Eds.) Visual learning and the brain: Lessons from dyslexia. Mind, Brain, and Education, 1(3), 127-137.
  • Fischer, K.W., & Immordino-Yang, M.H. (2008) The fundamental importance of the brain and learning for education. In Jossey-Bass reader on the brain and learning (pp. xvii-xi). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Stein, Z., Dawson, T., & Fischer, K. W. (2010 ). Redesigning testing: Operationalizing the new science of learning. In M. S. Khine & I. M. Saleh (Eds.), New Science of Learning: Cognition, Computers and Collaboration in Education (pp. 207–224). New York: Springer.
  • Fischer, K. W., & Heikkinen, K. (2010). The future of educational neuroscience. In D. A. Sousa (Ed.), Mind, brain, and education: Neuroscience implications for the classroom (pp. 248–269). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree.


  1. ^ Bucuvalas, Abigail (October 1, 2003). "The Developing Child: An Interview with Bigelow Professor Kurt Fischer". HGSE News. Retrieved January 5, 2012. 
  2. ^ Fischer, K. W., & Heikkinen, K. (2010). The future of educational neuroscience. In D. A. Sousa (Ed.), Mind, brain, and education: Neuroscience implications for the classroom (pp. 248–269). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree.
  3. ^ Dynamic Development Laboratory. "About Dr. Kurt Fischer". Retrieved January 5, 2012. 
  4. ^ Donna Coch (July 3, 1996). "Order in Chaos: GSE professor Fischer explores human development". Harvard Gazette. Retrieved January 5, 2012. 
  5. ^ Harvard Graduate School of Education. "Faculty biography". Retrieved January 5, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Website for Mind, Brain, Education journal". Wiley InterScience. Retrieved January 5, 2012.