Department Head and Professor
1202 West State St.
West Lafayette, Indiana 47907-2055
Doran French joined the Department of Human Development and Family Studies in fall 2008. Previously, he was professor and chair of the Department of Psychology at Illinois Wesleyan University. His career of more than 30 years includes clinical experience as a licensed psychologist and faculty positions at Lewis and Clark College, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and University of Rhode Island.
His research interests include neuropsychology of social interaction, religion and social competence, peer relationships, cultural psychology, and conflict.
His research on children’s development and culture began in Indonesia in 1994 when he was there on a Fulbright Fellowship. He makes a point of traveling to Indonesia at least once a year to conduct research.
My Indonesian colleagues and I are currently exploring how peer relationships help explain the processes by which religious involvement (in this case Islam) leads to low levels of problem behavior. Adolescents tend to develop friendships with others who are religiously similar to themselves, and these relationships impact behavior, beliefs, and values.
French is also studying peer conflicts of North American, Indonesian, and Chinese children.
I am exploring how culturally shaped conflict behavior is learned and practiced by young children. Indonesian and Chinese children approach conflict differently than U.S. children. In Indonesia, where it is very important to maintain interpersonal harmony, it is culturally appropriate to disengage from conflict. In contrast, such withdrawal might be seen in the U.S. as excessively passive.
See Dr. French's faculty page for a complete list of research, publications, and awards.