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Kurt Fischer

Emeritus (retired)
Kurt Fischer

Degree:  Ph.D., Harvard University, (1971)
Email:  [javascript protected email address]
Vitae/CV:   Kurt Fischer.pdf
Office Hours Contact:  Not available for appointments at this time


Kurt Fischer studies cognitive and emotional development and learning from birth through adulthood, combining analysis of the commonalities across people with the diversity of pathways of learning and development. His work focuses on the organization of behavior and the ways it changes, especially with development, learning, emotion, and culture. In dynamic skill theory, he provides a single framework to analyze how organismic and environmental factors contribute to the rich variety of developmental change and learning across and within people. His research includes students’ learning and problem solving, brain development, concepts of self in relationships, cultural contributions to social-cognitive development, early reading skills, emotions, child abuse, and brain development. One product of his research is a single scale for measuring learning, teaching, and curriculum across domains, which is being used to assess and coordinate key aspects of pedagogy and assessment in schools. Fischer has been visiting professor or visiting scholar at University of Geneva (Switzerland), University of Pennsylvania, University of Groningen (Netherlands), Nanjing Normal University (China), and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (Stanford). He is the author of “Dynamic Development of Action, Thought, and Emotion” in the Handbook of Child Psychology (Volume 1), Human Behavior and the Developing Brain, Mind, Brain, and Education in Reading Disorders, and a dozen other books, as well as over 200 scientific articles. Leading an international movement to connect biology and cognitive science to education, he is founding president of the International Mind, Brain, and Education Society and founding editor of the new journal Mind, Brain, and Education.


Psychological Antecedents of Agression in Childhood

Brain-Behavior Relations in Child Development; Development of Self and Consciousness


President, Jean Piaget Society,(1988)

Fellow, American Psychological Association, American Psychological Society

Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences

Sponsored Projects

Maximizing Engagement in a Rigorous Academic Program (2012-2013)
St. George's School

In a partnership with St. George’s School in Rhode Island, the research team of Kurt Fischer, Christina Hinton (doctoral graduate 2012), and Catherine Glennon (MBE masters graduate 2009) work with teachers and the Merck-Horton Center for Research at St. George’s (Thomas Callahan, Director) to initiate research to assess what engages students at the school and to use formative assessment to help teachers to improve their instructional practice and to understand their students’ perspectives better. They interview many St. George’s students from freshmen through seniors to gain information about what engages them and how students and teachers can work together to shape classroom goals. Broadly speaking, the goals of the project are the following:
1)Researchers learn to work as scholars in a school setting.
2)Teachers hone teaching skills and learn how to conduct action research.
3)Researchers, teachers, and administrators master dissemination techniques.


Fischer, K.W., & Immordino-Yang, M.H. The fundamental importance of the brain and learning for education. In Jossey-Bass reader on the brain and learning (pp. xvii-xi). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.,(2008)

Battro, A.M., Fischer, K.W., & Lena, P. (Eds.) Visual learning and the brain: Lessons from dyslexia. Mind, Brain, and Education, 1(3), 127-137.,(2008)

Coch, D., Fischer, K. W., & Dawson, G. (Eds.). Human behavior, learning, and the developing brain: Normal development (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford.,(2007)

Coch, D., Dawson, G., & Fischer, K. W. (Eds.). Human behavior, learning, and the developing brain: Atypical development (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford.,(2007)

Fischer, K. W., & Fusaro, M.. Using student interests to motivate learning. In R. P. Fink & J. Samuels (Eds.), Inspiring success: Reading interest and motivation in an age of high-stakes testing (pp. 62-74). Newark DE: International Reading Association.,(2007)

Fischer, K. W., Daniel, D., Immordino-Yang, M. H., Stern, E., Battro, A., & Koizumi, H.. Why Mind, Brain, and Education? Why Now? Mind, Brain, and Education, 1(1), 1-2.,(2007)

Fischer, K. W., Bernstein, J. H., & Immordino-Yang, M. H. (Eds.). Mind, brain, and education in reading disorders. Cambridge U.K.: Cambridge University Press.,(2007)

Fischer, K. W., & Bidell, T. R.. Dynamic development of action, thought, and emotion. In R. M. Lerner (Ed.), Handbook of child psychology. Vol 1: Theoretical models of human development(6th ed., pp. 313-399 ). New York: Wiley.,(2006)

Schwartz, M. S., & Fischer, K. W.. Useful metaphors for tackling problems in teaching and learning. About Campus, 11(1), 2-9.,(2006)


Founding Editor, Mind, Brain, & Education Journal,(2006-present)

Founding President, International Mind, Brain, and Education Society,(2004-present)

Editorial Board, Developmental Science,(1996-present)

Editor, Series in Cognitive and Perceptual Development, Cambridge University Press,(1994-present)

Editorial Board, Adult Development,(1992-present)

Founding President, International Mind, Brain, and Education Society

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