Human Development and Family Studies

Jonathan Tudge -Research

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Most of my research focuses on the interrelations between the social world and children's social, moral, and cognitive development. My current line of research is on the development of gratitude, and the decline of materialism, in children and adolescents. Those who feel grateful for what they have typically feel better about themselves, their family, and their teachers and have a less materialistic outlook on life than their less grateful peers. Colleagues and I are therefore exploring the development of these characteristics in children and adolescents, and the role of their parents, in different cultures. Our ultimate goal is to use our findings to design materials that will help teachers and parents encourage gratitude in their children. This research has just received three years of funding from The John Templeton Foundation, and here is a link to the executive summary of the study.


In much of my research I use cultural-ecological theory, a contextualist theory that draws on the ideas of Lev Vygotsky and Urie Bronfenbrenner. The major line of research is longitudinal and cross-cultural in design, dealing with the ways in which young children become part of the cultural group in which they live. This work involves extensive observations of the everyday activities of children when they are three years of age as well as interviews and questionnaires with their parents regarding their child-rearing values and beliefs. The children are followed through their first years of school, when data on parents’ and teachers’ perceptions of the children’s social and academic competence are also gathered. This research is cross-cultural (US, Russia, Estonia, Finland, Korea, Kenya, and Brazil) and examines within-societal variations as a function of ethnicity and social class. A book, based on this research, was recently published: Tudge, J. R. H. (2008). The everyday lives of young children: Culture, class, and child rearing in diverse societies. New York: Cambridge University Press.


Publications on these and other topics can be found in the papers or presentations section of my web site, and a link to the book based on the observations of 3-year-olds around the world can be found here.


More details are on my web site, where you can also find my full CV. Some recent publications include the following:

Tudge, J. R. H., Freitas, L. B. L., Wang, Y. C., Mokrova, I. L., & O’Brien, M. (under review). The expression of gratitude and materialism in children and young adolescents. International Journal of Behavioral Development.


Rosa, E. M., & Tudge, J. R. H. (2013). Urie Bronfenbrenner’s theory of human development: Its evolution from ecology to bioecology. Journal of Family Theory and Review, 5(6), 243–258.


Tudge, J. R. H. (2013). Urie Bronfenbrenner. In Heather Montgomery (Ed.), Oxford bibliographies on line: Childhood studies. New York: Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199791231-0112


Tudge, J. R. H., Lopes, R. S., Piccinini, C. A., Sperb, T. M, Chipenda-Dansokho, S., Marin, A. H., Vivian, A. G., Oliveira, D. S., Sonego, J., Frizzo, G. B., & Freitas, L. B. L. (2013). Parents’ child-rearing values in southern Brazil: Mutual influences of social class and children’s development. Journal of Family Issues, 34(10), 1379–1400. doi: 10.1177/0192513X12453820


Tudge, J. R. H., Piccinini, C. A., Sperb, T. M., Odero-Wanga, D., Lopes, R. S., & Freitas, L. B. L. (2013). Vulnerable children? The heterogeneity of young children’s experiences in Kenya and Brazil. In D. Johnson, D. Agbenyiga, & R. Hitchkock (Eds.), Vulnerable children: Global challenges in education, health, well-being and child rights (pp. 121–137). New York: Springer. DOI 10.1007/978-1-4614-6780-9_9


Tudge, J. R. H., Piccinini, C. A., Sperb, T. M., Odero-Wanga, D., Lopes, R. S., & Freitas, L. B. L. (in press). Vulnerable children? The heterogeneity of young children’s experiences in Kenya and Brazil. In D. Johnson, D. Agbenyiga, & R. Hitchkock (Eds.), Vulnerable children: Global challenges in education, health, well-being and child rights. New York: Springer.


Elliott, J. J., & Tudge, J. R. H. (2012). Multiple contexts, motivation, and student engagement in the USA and Russia. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 27(2), 161–175.


Marin, A. H., Piccinini, C. A., Gonçalves, T. R., & Tudge, J. R. H. (2012). Práticas educativas parentais e competência social de crianças em idade pré-escolar [Parental child-rearing practices and pre-school children´s social competence]. Estudos de Psicologia, 17(1), 5-13.


Piccinini, C. A., Silva, M. R., Gonçalves, T. R., Lopes, R. S., & Tudge, J. R. H. (2012). Envolvimento paterno aos três meses de vida do bebê [Fathers’ involvement with their 3-month-old babies]. Psicologia: Teoria e Prática, 28(3), 303–314.


Tudge, J. R. H., Piccinini, C. A., Lopes, R. S., Sperb, T. M., Chipenda-Dansokho, S., & Freitas, L. B. L. (2012). The cultural ecology of human values. In A. Branco & J. Valsiner (Eds.), Cultural psychology of human values (pp. 63-83). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishers.


Tudge, J. R. H., & Freitas, L. B. L. (2012). Parenting: A cultural-ecological approach. In C. A. Piccinini & P. Alverenga (Eds.), Parentalidade: Da gestação à escola [Parenting: From birth to school] (pp. 171-196). São Paulo: Casa do Psicóligo.


Freitas, L. B. L., Mileski, A. Z., & Tudge, J. R. H. (2011). O juízo moral das crianças sobre a ingratidão [The moral judgment of children about ingratitude]. Aletheia, 34(1), 6-18.


Freitas, L. B. L., Pieta, M. A., & Tudge, J. R. H. (2011). Beyond politeness: The expression of gratitude in children and adolescents. Psicologia: Reflexão e Crítica, 24(4), 757-764.


Marin, A. H., Piccinini, C. A., & Tudge, J. R. H. (2011). Estabilidade e mudança nas práticas educativas maternas e paternas ao longo dos anos pré-escolares da criança [Stability and change in mothers’ and fathers’ child-rearing practices during the child’s preschool years]. Psicologia: Reflexão e Crítica, 24(1), 74-79. Doi: 10.1590/S0102-79722011000100009


Marin, A. H., Piccinini, C. A., & Tudge, J. R. H. (2011). Práticas educativas maternas e paternas aos 24 e 72 meses de vida da criança [Mothers’ and fathers’ child-rearing practices from the 24th to 72nd month of the child’s life]. Psicologia: Teoria e Pesquisa, 27(4), 419-427. Doi: 10.1590/S0102-37722011000400005


Tudge, J. R. H., Brown, J., & Freitas, L. B. L. (2011). The cultural ecology of play: Methodological considerations for studying play in its everyday contexts. In A. D. Pellegrini (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of the development of play (pp. 119-137). New York: Oxford University Press.


Alvarenga, P., Piccinini, C. A., Frizzo, G. B., Lopes, R. C. S., & Tudge, J. R. H. (2010). Estabilidade e mudanças nas práticas educativas de mães e pais dos 18 para os 24 meses de vida da criança. [Stability and change in the child-rearing practices of mothers and fathers from the 18th to the 24th month.] Revista Interação em Psicologia, 13(2), 253-262.


Karnik, R. B., & Tudge, J. R. H. (2010). The reality of pretend play: Ethnic, socioeconomic, and gender variations in young children’s involvement. In E. E. Nwokah (Ed.), Play as engagement and communication. Play and culture studies, Vol. 10 (pp. 63-81). Lenham, MD: University Press of America.


Piccinini, C. A., Tudge, J. R. H., Marin, A. H., Frizzo, G. B., & Lopes, R. C. S. (2010). The impact of socio-demographic variables, social support, and child sex on mother–infant and father–infant interaction. InterAmerican Journal of Psychology, 44(2), 203-212.


Fleer, M., Hedegaard, M., & Tudge, J. R. H. (Eds.) (2009). The world year book of education 2009: Childhood studies and the impact of globalization: Policies and practices at global and local levels. New York: Routledge.


Tudge, J. R. H. (2009). Children’s development under conditions of poverty: A cultural–ecological analysis. In A. C. Bastos & E. P. Rabinovich (Eds.). Living in poverty: Developmental poetics of cultural realities (pp. 309-320). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishers.


Tudge, J. R. H. (2009). Methods of assessment of young children’s informal mathematical experiences. The Encyclopedia of Language and Literacy Development. Available on line at http://literacyencyclopedia.ca/index.php?fa=items.show&topicId=269


Tudge, J. R. H. (2009). Social contextual theories. In R. A. Shweder, T. R. Bidell, A. C. Dailey, S. D. Dixon, P. J. Miller, & J. Modell (Eds.), The child: An encyclopedic companion (pp. 268-271). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


Tudge, J. R. H., Freitas, L. B. L., & Doucet, F. (2009). The transition to school: Reflections from a contextualist perspective. In H. Daniels, J. Porter, & H. Lauder (Eds.), Educational theories, cultures and learning: Critical perspectives (pp. 117-133). London: Routledge/Falmer.


Tudge, J. R. H., Mokrova, I., Hatfield, B., & Karnik, R. B. (2009). Uses and misuses of Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological theory of human development. Journal of Family Theory and Review, 1(4), 198-210.


Tudge, J. R. H., & Odero-Wanga, D. (2009). A cultural–ecological perspective on early childhood among the Luo of Kisumu, Kenya. In M. Fleer, M. Hedegaard, & J. R. H. Tudge (Eds.). The world year book of education 2009: Childhood studies and the impact of globalization: Policies and practices at global and local levels (pp. 142-160). New York: Routledge.


Freitas, L. B. L., Shelton, T. L., & Tudge, J. R. H. (2008). Conceptions of US and Brazilian early childhood care and education: A historical and comparative analysis. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 32(2), 161-70.


Tudge, J. R. H. (2008). The everyday lives of young children: Culture, class, and child rearing in diverse societies. New York: Cambridge University Press.


Tudge, J. R. H. (2008). A teoria de Urie Bronfenbrenner: Uma teoria contextualista? [Urie Bronfenbrenner’s theory: Is it contextualist?]. In L. V. C. Moreira & A. M. A. Carvalho (Eds.), Família e educação: Olhares da psicologia [Family and education: Perspectives from psychology] (pp. 209-231). São Paulo: Paulinas.


Tudge, J. R. H., Li, L., & Stanley, T. K. (2008). The impact of method on assessing young children’s everyday mathematical experiences. In O. N. Saracho & B. Spodek (Series Eds.) & O. N. Saracho & B. Spodek (Vol. Eds.) Contemporary perspectives in early childhood education: Mathematics in early childhood education (pp. 187-214). Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.