RESEARCH AND THEORY DEVELOPMENT
My central theoretical and research interest is in the relationship between social change, culture, and human development. I have studied three generations of child development and socialization in a Maya community in Chiapas, Mexico as the community experienced a radical shift in their way of life and economy from subsistence and agriculture to money and commerce. This research led to a theory of social change, cultural evolution, and human development, first published in 2009. With collaborators in many parts of the world, the theory has generated studies of social change, cultural evolution, and human development in the U.S., Israel, China, and various regions of Mexico.
An important source of social change is immigration into a new cultural environment. Since the 1990s, I have been working with colleagues to understand - and help teachers understand - the cross-cultural value conflict experienced by Latinx immigrants in California who immigrate from a more family-centered collectivistic culture into the individualistic culture of the United States. Most recently, with former graduate student, Dr. Yolanda Vasquez-Salgado, now at California State University, Northridge, we have documented the conflict experienced by Latinx students from immigrant families and other first-generation college students, between family obligation and academic obligation, as well as the cultural conflicts that arise when roommates come from different social-class backgrounds.
Since the 1990s the main motor of social change in the United States has been communication technologies. My colleague and former graduate student, Professor Kaveri Subrahmanyam and I established the Children's Digital Media Center @ Los Angeles, a collaboration between UCLA and California State University, LA. Collaborating with many graduate students and postdocs, we have, since that time, researched the implications for cultural change and human development of teen chat, personal websites, MySpace, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, message boards for pregnant teens, parenting Internet Forums, and mobile technologies.Studies have been done in the U.S., Japan, and Turkey.
Moving to the present: Since COVID-19 and governors' stay-at-home orders, my collaborators and I have explored the pandemic as a source of social change with the potential to shift mortality salience, cultural values, activities, family relatonships, and parenting. We have documented change in all of these areas, through both mounting large-scale surveys and analyzing massive amounts of on-line behavior.
On the undergraduate level, I teach Culture and Human Development, with a focus on the effects of social change. I also give an honors seminar to accompany this course. My graduate teaching currently consists of an interdisciplinary seminar on mixed-method and qualitative methodologies; the seminar is geared toward students who would like to go beyond quantitative methods in their research.
Please visit my websites:
GRADUATE STUDENT APPLICANTS, 2020
I will be accepting new graduate students this year; if you are interested, please apply to the Developmental Psychology graduate program. The two research areas where I would like to work with an incoming graduate student are:
- Cross-cultural value conflict and peer relations in the transition to college. I plan to continue exploring the experience of UCLA students in cross-cultural roommate situations. Here is the foundational research for this project carried out in the Greenfield lab; it explores the perspective of first-generation Latinx students at UCLA. https://greenfieldlab.psych.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/168/2019/01/68-Burgos-Cienfuegos-Vasquez-Salgado-Gracia-Ruedas-Greenfield-HJBS2015.pdf
Future research step: the development of an intervention for incoming undergraduates to improve cross-cultural roommate relations.
- Continuing to apply my theory of social change, cultural evolution, and human development to understanding effects of the global pandemic on mortality salience, cultural values, activities, family relatonships, and parenting. The first three papers on this topic are currently under review. As soon as one is published, it will be posted here. Here is a link to an article that introduces the foundational theory:https://greenfieldlab.psych.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/168/2019/01/47-Greenfield-Theory-of-Social-Change-and-Human-Development-2009.pdf
2019 Ernst E. Boesch Prize from the German Society of Cultural Psychology, for major impact on cultural psychological research
2019 Outstanding Contributions to Cultural Psychology, Cultural Psychology Preconference, SPSP
2014 Election to American Academy of Arts and Sciences
2013 Award for Distinguished Contributions to Cultural and Contextual Factors in Child Development, SRCD
2010 Urie Bronfenbrenner Award for Lifetime Contribution to Developmental Psychology in the Service of Science and Society, APA, Div. 7
2010 J. Arthur Woodward Graduate Mentoring Award, Department of Psychology, UCLA
2005 R.L. Shep Book Award for Weaving Generations Together: Evolving Creativity in the Maya of Chiapas, Textile Society of America
2004-2005 Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, California
1999-2000 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, Resident Scholar, School of American Research, Santa Fe
1997-1998 James McKeen Cattell Sabbatical Award
1992 American Association for the Advancement of Science Prize for Behavioral Science Research
1992 American Psychological Foundation, Distinguished Teaching in Psychology Award, American Psychological Association
1988 UCLA Gold Shield Faculty Prize for Academic Excellence
1986-87 Science Fellow, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University
1986 Teaching Award for 4-year colleges and universities, Division 2, American Psychological Association
1985 UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award
SELECTED RECENT PUBLICATIONS
Greenfield, P. M. (2018). Studying social change, culture, and human development: A theoretical framework and methodological guidelines. Developmental Review, 50, 16-30.
Vasquez-Salgado, Y., Ramirez, G., & Greenfield, P. M. (2018). The impact of home-school cultural value conflicts and President Trump on Latina/o first-generation university students' attentional control. International Journal of Psychology, 53, S2, 81-90.
Sherman, L.E., Hernandez, L. M., Greenfield, P.M., & Dapretto, M. (2018). What the brain 'Likes': Neural correlates of providing feedback on social media. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 13, 699-707.
Greenfield, P. M., Rotem, O., & Weinstock, M. (2019). Ethiopian Immigrants to Israel: The persistence and transformation of African values and practices in art and life Psychology in Africa, 29, 613-624.
Greenfield, P.M., Espinoza, G., Monterroza-Brugger, M., Ruedas-Gracia, N., & Manago, A. M. (2020). Long-term parent-child separation through serial migration: Effects of a post-reunion intervention, School Community Journal, 30, 267-298.
Trumbull, E., Greenfield, P. M., Rothstein-Fisch, C., Maynard, A. E, Yuan, Q., & Quiroz, B. (2020). From altered perceptions to altered practice: Teachers bridge cultures in the classroom. School Community Journal, 30, 243-265.