‘...promotes research on human development all over the world...’
ISSBD - History


While the idea for a society devoted to the study of behavioural development emerged in 1957 at the XV International Congress of Psychology in Brussels, it was not established officially until May 31, 1969.

During the intervening 12 years, the idea was fostered by a group of European investigators who were conducting collaborative multi-national studies on somatic, social, and cognitive development.

Beginning in the mid- 1960s, this group convened a series of meetings to discuss the objectives, constitution, and program activities for the new society, which was founded at the University of Bonn, 1969. Since 1971, the ISSBD has held 25 Biennial Meetings on six continents: twelve in Europe, six in North America, three in Asia, two in Australia, one in South America, and one in Africa. Approximately 200 people attended the first meeting in Nijmegen, the Netherlands; while the most recent meetings have attracted more than 1,000 participants. Biennial Meetings of the International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development have been held as follows:

1971: Nijmegen, Netherlands

1973: Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

1975: Guildford, UK

1977: Pavia, Italy

1979: Lund, Sweden

1981: Toronto, Canada

1983: Munich, Germany

1985: Tours, France

1987: Tokyo, Japan

1989: Jyvaskyla, Finland

1991: Minneapolis, USA

1993: Recife, Brazil

1994: Amsterdam, Netherlands

1996: Quebec City, Canada

1998: Berne, Switzerland

2000: Beijing, China

2002: Ottawa, Canada

2004: Ghent, Belgium

2006: Melbourne, Australia

2008: Würzburg, Germany

2010: Lusaka, Zambia

2012: Edmonton, Canada

2014: Shanghai, China

2016: Vilnius, Lithuania

2018: Gold Coast, Australia

2020: Rhodes, Greece

Among the Society's proudest achievements are the workshops and special conferences that the ISSBD has supported with expertise and partial funding. Over its 50-year history, the ISSBD has sponsored over 60 regional workshops to advance its mission to include and engage a global community of developmental scholars, including workshops in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America, Australasia, and Southeast Asia. The ISSBD has repeatedly proven itself to be an effective medium for scientific exchange. Its influence can be seen through increased investigator interest in cross-cultural and cross-national studies of behavioural development and through the numerous international research efforts originating from ISSBD meetings and workshops. For more detail on Biennial Meetings click here and for information on Regional Workshops click here.

By Willard W. Hartup

Willard W. Hartup, PhD, former ISSBD President, is Regents' Professor of Child Psychology at the University of Minnesota Institute for Child Development.

Hartup, W. W. (1996). The International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development after 25 years: Retrospect and Prospect. International Journal of Behavioral Development. Vol 19(2), 243-254

Silbereisen, R. K. (2003). The International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development. In J. R. Miller, R. M. Lerner, L. B. Schiamberg & P. M. Anderson (eds.), Human ecology: An encyclopedia of children, families, communities, and environments. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio.

ISSBD 50th Anniversary

ISSBD celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2019 and we have marked this key milestone with special publications, video recordings and events recognizing our history over the course of 2019 and beyond.

Read more here.

ISSBD Past Presidents


Name Country Time Period
Hans Thomae Germany 1969 - 1975
Jan de Wit The Netherlands 1975 - 1979
Willard Hartup USA 1979 - 1983
Paul Baltes Germany 1983 - 1987
Harold W. Stevenson USA 1987 - 1991
Lea Pulkkinen Finland 1991 - 1996
Harry McGurk United Kingdom 1996 - 1998
Ken Rubin Canada 1998 - 2002
Rainer K. Silbereisen Germany 2002 - 2006
Anne C. Petersen USA 2006 - 2010
Wolfgang Schneider Germany 2010 - 2014
Xinyin Chen USA 2014 - 2018
Toni Antonucci USA 2018 - 2022


Revise and Resubmit: A Long Journey

Most Read
Most Cited