Marc H. Bornstein, Ph.D.

Senior Investigator

Section on Child and Family Research




Research Topics

Child and Family Development across the First Three Decades 

Child and Family Research (CFR) investigates dispositional, experiential, and environmentactive adults. l factors that contribute to physical, mental, emotional, and social development in human beings across the first three decades of life.  The research goals of the CFR are to describe, analyze, and assess (a) the capabilities and proclivities of developing children and youth, including their physiological functioning, perceptual and cognitive abilities, emotional and social growth, and interactional styles; (b) the nature and consequences of interactions within the family and the social world for offspring and parents; and (c) influences on development of children's exposure to and interactions with the natural and designed environments.  The CFR pursues two integrated multiage, multi-informant, multivariate, multicultural research programs that are supplemented by a variety of ancillary investigations.  These research programs represent an en bloc effort.  The first program includes a prospective longitudinal study designed to explore multiple aspects of child development in the context of major sociodemographic comparisons. As a part of this program, investigations in developmental neuroscience (cardiac function and EEG in psychological development; eye-tracking, perception, and cognition; and categorization) and behavioral pediatrics (developmental sequelae of cancer in infancy;  children's understanding and coping with medical experiences; parental depression, preterm birth, deaf culture  and child development; and behavior problems in adolescence) are carried out, addressing questions at the interface of child development, biology, and health. 

The second CFR program broadens the perspectives of the first to encompass cultural influences on development within the same basic longitudinal framework. Cultural study sites include Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, England, France, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Peru, and the Republic of South Korea, as well as the United States; in all places, intra-cultural as well as cross-cultural comparisons are pursued. In this effort, the CFR collaborates Parenting across Cultures, which studies 8- to-16-year-olds and their families longitudinally in 11 cultural groups in 9 countries, and makes use of the UNICEF Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey of ~50 low- and middle-income countries globally. Overall, CFR research topics concern the origins, status, and development of psychological constructs, structures, functions, and processes across the first three decades of life; effects of child characteristics and activities on parents; and the meaning of variations in parenting and in the family across a wide variety of sociodemographic and cultural groups.  The ultimate aims of both CFR research programs are concerned directly with promoting aware, fit, and motivated children who, as a hopeful eventuality, grow into knowledgeable, healthy, happy, and productive adults. 


MARC H. BORNSTEIN is Senior Investigator, Head of Child and Family Research, and Head of the Fetal-Maternal Medicine, Imaging, and Behavioral Determinants of Development Affinity Group at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.  He holds a B.A. from Columbia College, M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Yale University, and honorary doctorates from the University of Padua and University of Trento.  Bornstein was a J. S. Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, and he received a Research Career Development Award from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.  He also received the C. S. Ford Cross-Cultural Research Award from the Human Relations Area Files, the B. R. McCandless Young Scientist Award and the G. Stanley Hall Award from the American Psychological Association, a United States PHS Superior Service Award from the National Institutes of Health, two Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Fellowships, four Awards for Excellence from the American Mensa Education & Research Foundation, the Arnold Gesell Prize from the Theodor Hellbrügge Foundation, an Award of Merit from the National Institutes of Health, and the Distinguished International Contributions to Child Development Award and the Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Child Development Award from the Society for Research in Child Development.  Bornstein is President of the Society for Research in Child Development and a past member of the SRCD Governing Council and Executive Committee of the International Congress of Infancy Studies. Bornstein has held faculty positions at Princeton University and New York University as well as academic appointments as Visiting Scientist at the Max-Planck-Institut für Psychiatrie in Munich, Visiting Fellow at University College London, Professeur Invité at the Laboratoire de Psychologie Expérimentale in the Université René Descartes in Paris, Child Clinical Fellow at the Institute for Behavior Therapy in New York, Visiting Professor at the University of Tokyo, Professeur Invité at the Laboratoire de Psychologie du Développement et de l'Éducation de l'Enfant in the Sorbonne in Paris, Visiting Fellow of the British Psychological Society, Visiting Scientist at the Human Development Resource Centre in Bamenda, Cameroon, Visiting Scholar at the Institute of Psychology in Seoul National University in Seoul, South Korea, Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Cognitive Science in the University of Trento, Italy, Profesor Visitante at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago, Chile, Institute for Advanced Studies Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professor, University of Bristol, Jacobs Foundation Scholar-in-Residence, Marbach, Germany, Honorary Fellow, Department of Psychiatry, Oxford University, and Adjunct Academic Member of the Council of the Department of Cognitive Sciences, University of Trento, Italy.

Bornstein is coauthor of Gender in Low- and Middle-Income Countries, Development in Infancy (5 editions), Development: Infancy through Adolescence, Lifespan Development, Genitorialità: Fattori Biologici E Culturali Dell'essere Genitori, and Perceiving Similarity and Comprehending Metaphor.  He is general editor of The Crosscurrents in Contemporary Psychology Series, including Psychological Development from Infancy, Comparative Methods in Psychology, Psychology and Its Allied Disciplines (Vols. I-III), Sensitive Periods in Development, Interaction in Human Development, Cultural Approaches to Parenting, Child Development and Behavioral Pediatrics, and Well-Being: Positive Development Across the Life Course, general editor of the Monographs in Parenting series, including his own Socioeconomic Status, Parenting, and Child Development and Acculturation and Parent-Child Relationships. He edited Maternal Responsiveness: Characteristics and Consequences, the Handbook of Parenting (Vols. I-V, 2 editions), and the Handbook of Cultural Developmental Science (Parts 1 & 2), and Editor-in-Chief of the SAGE Encyclopedia of Lifespan Human Development. He also coedited Developmental Science: An Advanced Textbook (6 editions), Stability and Continuity in Mental Development, Contemporary Constructions of the Child, Early Child Development in the French Tradition, The Role of Play in the Development of Thought, Acculturation and Parent-Child Relationships, Immigrant Families in Contemporary Society, The Developing Infant Mind: Origins of the Social Brain, and Ecological Settings and Processes in Developmental Systems (Volume 4 of the Handbook of Child Psychology and Developmental Science). He is author of several children's books, videos, and puzzles in The Child's World and Baby Explorer series.  Bornstein is Editor Emeritus of Child Development and founding Editor of Parenting: Science and Practice. Bornstein has administered both Federal and Foundation grants, sits on the editorial boards of several professional journals, is a member of scholarly societies in a variety of disciplines, and consults for governments, foundations, universities, publishers, scientific journals, the media, and UNICEF.  His has published widely in experimental, methodological, comparative, developmental, and cultural science as well as neuroscience, pediatrics, and aesthetics.  Bornstein was named to the Top 20 Authors for Productivity in Developmental Science by the American Educational Research Association. 

Selected Publications

  1. Bornstein MH, Putnick DL, Cote LR, Haynes OM, Suwalsky JT. Mother-Infant Contingent Vocalizations in 11 Countries. Psychol Sci. 2015;26(8):1272-84.

  2. Bornstein MH, Putnick DL, Suwalsky JTD. Parenting cognitions → parenting practices → child adjustment? The standard model. Dev Psychopathol. 2017:1-18.

  3. Bornstein MH, Putnick DL, Suwalsky JT. Emotional interactions in European American mother-infant firstborn and secondborn dyads: A within-family study. Dev Psychol. 2016;52(9):1363-9.

  4. Bornstein MH, Putnick DL, Lansford JE, Al-Hassan SM, Bacchini D, Bombi AS, Chang L, Deater-Deckard K, Di Giunta L, Dodge KA, Malone PS, Oburu P, Pastorelli C, Skinner AT, Sorbring E, Steinberg L, Tapanya S, Tirado LMU, Zelli A, Alampay LP. 'Mixed blessings': parental religiousness, parenting, and child adjustment in global perspective. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2017;58(8):880-892.

  5. Bornstein MH, Esposito G. Beyond cry and laugh: toward a multilevel model of language production. Behav Brain Sci. 2014;37(6):548-9.

This page was last updated on September 25th, 2017