The Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize 2012 honored the leading international developmental and clinical psychologist Professor Dante Cicchetti. For more than 30 years, Cicchetti has been researching the results of child maltreatment and neglect as well as the conditions that lead to resilience, the psychological capacity to withstand difficult life conditions.
What is special about his work is his investigation of psychosocial aspects, such as the familial circumstances of a child, in connection with neurobiological and genetic variables. With this multi-dimensional approach, he pursues the goal of helping to decode the multi-layered, highly complex construct of human resilience and of developing corresponding measures to promote it.
The connection of practical intervention with solid research is a matter of great concern to Cicchetti and forms the foundation of his work that has led to groundbreaking findings: thus, for example, he was able to dismiss the prejudice that poverty and child maltreatment are directly connected and that their developmental results were the same. He proved that the impact of violence, maltreatment and abuse of both body and mind changes in the course of a life. Comparative studies of maltreated and non-maltreated preschool children that observed angry facial expressions show a clear difference in the level and distribution of activity in the brain.
For his research on the resilience of children and the developmental results of difficult life conditions, Dante Cicchetti was awarded the Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize 2012 at a celebratory award ceremony at the University of Zurich on December 7, 2012.
Every year, an international panel of seven experts elects a prize-winner with an excellent track record of achievement in the sciences.
The Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize 2013 honored Professor Greg J. Duncan of the School of Education at the University of California, Irvine. Duncan has spent more than 30 years investigating the impact of poverty on children’s development. His research focuses primarily on issues of income distribution, poverty and child well-being. Trained as an economist, Duncan has always taken an interdisciplinary approach to exploring the complex dynamics of child and youth development, drawing on insights from the fields of economics, psychology, sociology, neuroscience and epidemiology.
The Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize 2011 honored the developmental psychologist Professor Michael Tomasello. The principal results of Professor Michael Tomasello’s research are that even one-year-old children who cannot yet speak help and cooperate with other children. This behavior exists without any educational influence from adults.
Terrie Moffitt and Avshalom Caspi have opened up new perspectives on the interplay between genetic disposition and environmental influences in the development of children. In 2002, Terrie Moffitt and Avshalom Caspi published groundbreaking findings in the renowned journal Science regarding the complex interplay between genetic disposition and environmental influences in the development of antisocial behavior.
Laurence Steinberg has made a lasting contribution to how the development of young people is understood by both scientists and politicians.
Laurence Steinberg once described his own childhood and youth as “disgustingly normal”. Today, Laurence Steinberg is regarded as one of the most distinguished experts in adolescent psychological development.