Melanie Killen is a developmental psychologist and Professor of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology, Professor of Psychology (Affiliate), and the Associate Director for the Center for Children, Relationships, and Culture at the University of Maryland, as well as Honorary Professor of Psychology at the University of Kent, Canterbury, U.K. She has conducted extensive research on social and moral development, social exclusion and the origins of prejudice, moral reasoning and group dynamics, peer relationships, and social-cognitive development. She has received funding from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), and the National Science Foundation (NSF) for her research. In 2008, she was awarded Distinguished Scholar-Teacher by the Provost's office at the University of Maryland.
Melanie Killen obtained her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, where she was a NIMH Predoctoral trainee, and her B.A. in Psychology from Clark University, where she was awarded a New England Psychological Association undergraduate Honorary Fellow.
Melanie Killen’s research areas of expertise include children’s and adolescents’ social and moral reasoning, peer relationships, social inclusion and exclusion, intergroup relationships and attitudes, prejudice and bias, gender roles, social development, social competence, and the role of school environments on development. Killen has served as an expert witness in a federal school desegregation case and helped prepare two Supreme Court briefs regarding the impact of school desegregation on children’s social development. She has consulted for the U.S. Government in the area of peer conflict resolution as well as for Sesame Workshop and Teaching Tolerance. She has also served as a consultant for a federal initiative on interventions designed to reduce prejudice and to promote inclusion in U.S. elementary schools. In 2011-2012, Killen and her research team were commissioned by Anderson Cooper at CNN AC360 to conduct a study on children's racial biases which aired in April, 2012, and won an Emmy Award for Outstanding News and Analysis, October 1, 2013. Killen serves on the expert advisory panel for the new National Children’s Museum in Washington, D.C., and her research has been profiled in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Baltimore Examiner, The American Scientist, The Chronicle of Higher Education, American School Board Journal, Teaching Tolerance Magazine, ABCNews.com, Newsweek.com, Parenting, Parent-Wise Magazine, Redbook, Baby Journal, as well as other print and media outlets.
- Ronald B. Lippin Lecturer in Ethics, Rock Institute for Ethics, Pennsylvania State University, 2014.
- Fellow, Society for the Study of Psychological and Social Issues, 2013- on.
- Outstanding Graduate Director of the Year Award, University of Maryland, 2012.
- Funded study on children's intergroup biases was selected as featured research for "NSF Highlights: Social Factors in Bias and Stereotyping" by the National Science Foundation Office of Legislative and Public Affairs.
- Graduate Mentor of the Year Award, University of Maryland, 2010
- Distinguished Scholar-Teacher Award from the Provost for Academic Affairs, University of Maryland, 2010.
- Honorable Mention, Otto Klineberg Intercultural and International Relations Prize, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI), for Intergroup attitudes and relations in childhood through adulthood (Eds. S. Levy & M. Killen), Oxford University Press, 2009.
- Full member, Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, 2009
- Allen Edwards Endowed Lecturer in Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, 2007.
- Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year Award, University of Maryland, 2004
- Fellow, Association for Psychological Science, 2003.
- Recipient, James McKeen Cattell Sabbatical Award from the James McKeen Cattell Foundation, Duke University, 2000.
- Winner, Outstanding Book Award for 1997, Moral Development and Education Special Interest Group (SIG) of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), Morality in everyday life: Developmental Perspectives, Cambridge University Press.
- Fellow, American Psychological Association (Division 7, Developmental Psychology), 1997.
- Visiting Faculty Fellow, Yale University, Yale/Mellon Visiting Faculty Program, 1990.
- NIMH Predoctoral Traineeship, National Research Service Award, Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, 1979-1984.
- Chancellor’s Patent Fund Award for Dissertation Research from the University of California, Berkeley, 1984.
- Soroptimist International of America, Founder Region Fellowship for Dissertation Research, 1984.
- Psi Chi Honorary Society, 1978
- Undergraduate Honorary Fellow, New England Psychological Association, 1978
- Jonas Clark Scholarship, Clark University, 1974.
- Killen, M., & Smetana, J.G. (Eds.). (2014). Handbook of moral development, 2nd edition. NY: Psychology Press/Taylor & Francis Group.
- Killen, M., & Rutland, A. (2011). Children and social exclusion: Morality, prejudice, and group identity. New York: Wiley/Blackwell Publishers.
- Killen, M., & Coplan, R. J. (2011). Social development in childhood and adolescence: A contemporary reader. NY: Wiley/Blackwell Publishers.
- Killen, M., & Smetana, J.G. (Eds.) (2006). Handbook of moral development. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. (Translated into Chinese and Korean).
- Levy, S.R., & Killen, M. (Eds.). (2008). Intergroup attitudes and relations in childhood through adulthood. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. Honorable Mention, Otto Klineberg Intercultural and International Relations Prize, from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI)
- Killen, M., Lee-Kim, J., McGlothlin, H., & Stangor, C. (2002). How children and adolescents evaluate gender and racial exclusion. Monographs for the Society for Research in Child Development. Serial No. 271, Vol. 67, No. 4. Oxford, England: Blackwell Publishers.
- Langer, J., & Killen, M. (Eds.). (1998). Piaget, evolution, and development. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
- Killen, M., & Hart, D. (Eds.) (1995). Morality in everyday life: Developmental perspectives. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. Winner, Outstanding Book Award for 1997, from Moral Development and Education Special Interest Group (SIG) of the American Educational Research Association (AERA)
Edited journals, special issues
- Killen, M., Rutland, A., & Yip, T. (2016). Discrimination, social exclusion, and intergroup attitudes: Equity and justice in developmental science. [Guest Editors]. Child Development. Doi: 10.1111/cdev.12593.
- Abrams, D., & Killen, M. (Eds.) (2014). The social exclusion of children. [Guest Editors]. Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 70, Number 1.
- Killen, M. (Ed.). (1996). Children's autonomy, social competence, and interactions with adults and other children: Exploring connections and consequences. (New Directions for Child Development Vol. 73). S.F., CA: Jossey-Bass, Inc.
- Killen, M. (Ed.). (1995). Conflict resolution in early development [Guest Editor]. Early Education and Development, Volume 6.
- Killen, M., & McKown, C. (Ed.) (2005). Children’s intergroup attitudes about race and ethnicity [Guest Editors]. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, Volume 26.
Selected publications (past two years) in peer reviewed journals
For a complete list of Melanie Killen's recent publications, please visit her lab website.
- Elenbaas, L., & Killen, M. (2017). Children's perceptions of social resource inequality. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 48, 49-58. doi.org/10.1016/j.appdev.2016.11.006
- Killen, M., & Verkuyten, M.J.M. (2017). The importance of social-cognitive development and the developmental context for group dynamics. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations. DOI: 10.1177/1368430217711771
- Li, L., Rizzo, M.T., Burkholder, A., & Killen, M. (2017). Theory of mind and resource allocation in the context of hidden inequality. Cognitive Development, 43, 25-36. doi: 10.1016/j.cogdev.2017.02.001
- Mulvey, K.L., & Killen, M. (2017). Children's and adolescents' expectations about challenging unfair group norms. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. DOI 10.1007/s10964-017-0671-y
- Cooley, S., Elenbaas, L., & Killen, M. (2016). Social exclusion based on group membership is a form of prejudice. Advances in child development and behavior, 51, 103-129. doi:10.1016/bs.acdb.2016.04.004
- Elenbaas, L., & Killen, M. (2016). Age-related changes in children’s associations of economic resources and race. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, PMID 27378981
- Elenbaas, L., & Killen, M. (2016). Children rectify inequalities for disadvantaged groups. Developmental Psychology, 52, 1318-1329. doi: 10.1037/dev0000154
- Elenbaas, L., & Killen, M. (2016). How do young children expect others to address resource inequalities between groups? Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 150, 72-86. Doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2016.05.002
- Elenbaas, L., Rizzo, M.T., Cooley, S., & Killen, M. (2016). Rectifying or perpetuating resource disparities: Children’s responses to social inequalities based on race. Cognition, 155, 176-187. doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2016.07.002
- Killen, M., Elenbaas, L., & Rutland, A. (2016). Balancing the fair treatment of others while preserving group identity and autonomy. Human Development, 58, 253-272. doi: 10.1159/000444151
- Killen, M., Rutland, A., & Yip, T. (2016). Discrimination, social exclusion, and intergroup attitudes: Equity and justice in developmental science. [Guest Editors]. Child Development. Doi: 10.1111/cdev.12593
- Meidenbauer, K.L. Cowell, J., Killen, M., & Decety, J. (2016). A developmental neuroscience study of moral decision-making regarding resource allocation. Child Development. doi:10.1111/cdev.12698
- Mulvey, K.L., Hitti, A., Smetana, J., & Killen, M. (2016). Morality, context, and development. In L. Balter & C. Tamis-LaMonda (Eds.), Child psychology: A handbook of contemporary issues, 3rd edition (pp. 285-304). NY: Psychology Press.
- Rizzo, M. T., Elenbaas, L., Cooley, S., & Killen, M. (2016). Children’s recognition of fairness and others’ welfare in a resource allocation task: Age related changes. Developmental Psychology, 52, 1307-1317. https://dx.doi.org/10.1037/dev0000134
- Rizzo, M.T., & Killen, M. (2016). Children’s understanding of equity in the context of inequality. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 34, 569-581. Doi.10.1111/bjdp.12150
- Sodian, B., Licata, M., Kristen, S., Paulus, M., Killen, M., & Woodward, A. (2016). Understanding of goals, beliefs, and desires predicts morally relevant theory of mind: A longitudinal investigation. Child Development, 87, 1221-1232. Doi: 10.1111/cdev.12533
- Hitti, A., & Killen, M. (2015). Expectations about ethnic peer group inclusivity: The role of shared interests, group norms, and stereotypes. Child Development. Doi: 10.1111/cdev.12393
- Cooley, S., & Killen, M. (2015). Children’s evaluations of resource allocation in the context of group norms. Developmental Psychology. doi:10.1037/a0038796
- Rutland, A., & Killen, M. (2015). A developmental science approach to reducing prejudice and social exclusion: Intergroup processes, social-cognitive development, and moral reasoning. Social Issues and Policy Review, 9, 121-154.
- Killen, M., & Malti, T. (2015). Moral judgments and emotions in contexts of peer exclusion and victimization. Advances in Child Development and Behavior, 48, 249-276. 10.1016/bs.acdb.2014.11.007
- Mulvey, K. L., & Killen, M. (2015). Challenging gender stereotypes: Resistance and exclusion. Child Development, 86, 681–694. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12317
- Ruck, M., Park, H., Crystal, D., & Killen, M. (2014). Intergroup contact is related to evaluations of interracial peer exclusion in suburban and urban African American youth. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. DOI 10.1007/s10964-014-0227-3
- Fu, G., Xiao, W. S., Killen, M., & Lee, K. (2014). Moral judgment and its relation to second-order theory of mind. Developmental Psychology, 50, 2085-2092. doi:10.1037/a0037077
- Abrams, D., & Killen, M. (2014). Social exclusion of children: Developmental origins of prejudice. Journal of Social Issues, 1 -11. Doi: 10.1111/josi.12045.
- Mulvey, K.L., Hitti, A., Rutland, A., Abrams, D., & Killen, M. (2014). Context differences in ingroup preferences. Developmental Psychology. Doi: 10.1037/a0035593.
- Mulvey, K.L., Hitti, A., Rutland, A., Abrams, D., & Killen, M. (2014). When do children dislike ingroup members? Resource allocation from individual and group perspectives. Journal of Social Issues, 70, 29-46. Doi: 10.1111/josi.12045
- Mulvey, K.L., Hitti, A., Rutland, A., Abrams, D., & Killen, M. (2014). Social reasoning about resource allocation in an intergroup context from an individual and a group perspective. Journal of Social Issues, 70, 28-45.
- Brenick, A., & Killen, M. (2014). Moral judgments about Jewish-Arab intergroup exclusion: The role of cultural identity and contact. Developmental Psychology. Doi: 10.1037/a0034702
- Richardson, C., Hitti, A., Mulvey, K.L., & Killen, M. (2014). Social exclusion: The interplay of group goals and individual characteristics. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. Doi: 10.1007/s10964-013-9967-8
- McDonald, K., Malti, T., Killen, M., & Rubin, K. (2014). Best friends’ discussions of social dilemmas. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. 10.1007/s10964-013-9961-1
- Killen, M., & Rizzo, M. (2014). Morality, intentionality, and intergroup attitudes. Behaviour, 151. [Reprinted in F.B.M. de Waal, P. S. Churchland, T. Pievani, & S. Parmigiani (Eds.), Evolved Morality: The Biology and Philosophy of Human Conscience, 2014, Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill Publishers].
- Killen, M., Elenbaas, L., Rizzo, M. T., & Rutland, A. (2017). The role of group processes in social exclusion and resource allocation decisions. In A. Rutland, D. Nesdale, & C. Spears Brown (Eds.), Handbook of group processes in children and adolescents (pp.101-123). New York, NY: Wiley. ISBN 9781118773161
- Killen, M., & Smetana, J.G. (2015). Origins and development of morality. In R.M. Lerner & M.E. Lamb (Ed.), Handbook of child psychology and developmental science, Vol. 3, 7th edition (pp. 701-749). Editor-in-Chief, R. M. Lerner. NY: Wiley-Blackwell.
- Killen, M., Hitti, A., Cooley, C., & Elenbaas, L. (2015). Morality, development, and culture. In M. Gelfand, C.Y.Chiu, & Y.Y. Hong (Eds.), Advances in culture and psychology (pp. 161-220). New York: Oxford University Press.
- Killen, M., Hitti, A., & Mulvey, K.L. (2014). Social development and intergroup relations. In J. Simpson & J. Dovidio (Associate Eds.), APA Handbook of personality and social psychology, Vol.2, Interpersonal relations and group processes (pp. 177-201). Washington, D.C.: APA Press