Academics and Research / Magazine Feature

DU professors bring developmental research to public

When doctors, pediatricians or parents have questions about the latest research in childhood development, they now can turn to a single source thanks to DU psychology professors Marshall Haith and Janette Benson.

Benson, associate professor of psychology, and Haith, professor emeritus, are authors of the Encyclopedia of Infant and Early Childhood Development (Academic Press, 2008). The two edited and compiled 150 articles on the latest literature on child development from psychology, genetics, neuroscience and sociology.

“It was a huge project that took four years,” Haith says.

The work was so well-received by universities and public libraries that publishers asked Benson and Haith to break the articles down into three volumes — each dedicated to a specific topic — to make them more affordable for parents and physicians.

In August, three new books came out: Social and Emotional Development in Infancy and Early Childhood (Academic Press, 2009), Language, Memory & Cognition in Infancy and Early Childhood (Academic Press, 2009) and Diseases and Disorders in Infancy and Early Childhood (Academic Press, 2009).

“We learned an immense amount,” Haith says. “There is no way to be up to date on every area in the field.”

Readers will be able to better understand developmental changes in children, when they occur, why they occur, how they occur and factors that influence development. Although some medical information is included, the emphasis of the books is on normal growth and is from a psychological perspective.

“It is a once in a lifetime project,” Benson says. “I feel like I really made a contribution.”

The encyclopedia and individual volumes are available on


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