German Scholars Collaborate on Human Development Research with Claudia Haase

German Scholars Collaborate on Human Development Research with Claudia Haase

Claudia Haase

The questions of how nature and nurture interact and how to promote new learning among older adults spark wide interest. SESP assistant professor Claudia Haase has moved forward in exploring both these questions through international research with two scholars from Germany, Nina Alexander and Martina Reitmeier.

Nina Alexander
In exploring the issue of nature vs. nurture across the life span, gene-environment research offers exciting new avenues to explore, according to Haase. She pursued a joint research project this summer with Nina Alexander of the University of Dresden, a postdoctoral researcher and an expert in research on gene-environment interactions, epigenetics and stress reactivity.

Together with Thom McDade, Alexander, Haase and graduate students at the Life-Span Developmental Laboratory began to examine gene-environment interactions, drawing from data from the Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey. Funding for this research came from SESP’s Global Initiative as well as Alexander’s home institution.

Moreover, Haase and Alexander are co-chairing a symposium on “New Frontiers in Gene-Environment Research” at the inaugural meeting of the International Convention of Psychological Science to be held in Amsterdam in March. This symposium will feature contributions from investigators from around the world who pursue new approaches in gene-environment research, including Marian Bakermans-Kranenburg of Leiden University in the Netherlands, Michael Pluess of Queen Mary University in London, Jay Belsky of University of California-Davis, Haase and Alexander.

Martina Reitmeier

Martina Reitmeier
While the old adage warns that an old dog can’t learn new tricks, is this really true? Graduate student Martina Reitmeier of Technical University Munich is pursuing that question with her adviser, professor Jutta Roosen, and SESP’s Haase, her co-adviser.

Focusing on a particular kind of “trick,” Reitmeier asks: What makes older adults change their eating behavior? As part of her dissertation research, she visited the Life-Span Developmental Laboratory at SESP during winter and spring 2014 to work with Haase on a paper on positive life-span transitions and novel food choice in older adults.

Reitmeier presented findings from the research at the Mini-Conference on Consumers and Consumption, which was sponsored by the American Sociological Association in Berkeley in August and at the Association for Consumer Research North American Conference in Baltimore in October.

In addition, Reitmeier and SESP graduate students Ryan Svoboda and Sara Thomas have been taking the lead on a multi-method study on emotion, motivation and well-being in adulthood for which data collection is currently underway. This study is a project of the Life-Span Developmental Laboratory.

SESP global initiative
The School of Education and Social Policy has determined that a strategic priority is to develop a more global perspective. Global initiatives will enable the School to extend its resources, improve scholarship and address critical issues worldwide. Professor James Spillane is the director of the Office of Global Initiatives.

By Claudia Haase and Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 7/13/16