Charles Super

Professor, HDFS and Pediatrics
Co-Director, CHHD

Super, with Harkness, Cookie Monster, and Puppeteer, Lego conference 2016

Mailing Address

348 Mansfield Road U1058
Storrs, CT 06269-1058

Campus:  Storrs



Professional Interests

  • Cultural regulation of human development
  • Parental and professional ethnotheories of child development
  • Interventions to promote the physical and mental health of children and families
  • Research methods appropriate for comparative and culturally based research

Testing a newborn

I am a developmental psychologist trained in an interdisciplinary department; much of my career has been dedicated to understanding what early human development looks like outside of middle-class America. I have worked particularly in Africa and Europe (as well as the U.S.), with other interests in Korea, China, Bangladesh, and India. Recognizing culture in development requires both identifying and measuring qualities, particularly in patterns of belief and behavior that are tied together by social meanings. I find meeting that task with a mixture of methods to be an enjoyable challenge.

There is no better way to test one's understanding than to apply it (to paraphrase Kurt Lewin), and the use of knowledge I have been given is a particular kind of moral obligation. Training and experience as a clinical psychologist for children and families has informed much of my work, both in research and in the evaluation of intervention and training programs.

Current projects

I continue to analyze and publish findings from the International Study of Parents, Children, and Schools, and from the International Baby Study, as well as from our years of research among the Kipsigis of Kenya. Collaborations with Connecticut's Office of Early Childhood and the National Family Development Credential program endure as sources of professional inspiration and pleasure.

Recent CHHD-related publications

The International Baby Study Team

Super, C. M., Blom, M. J. M., Harkness, S., Ranade, N., & Londhe, L. (2021). Culture and the organization of infant sleep: A study in the Netherlands and the U.S.A. Infant Behavior and Development, 64. Doi: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2021.101620.

Super, C. M., & Harkness, S. (2020). Culture and the perceived organization of newborn behavior: A comparative study in Kenya and the U.S. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development. doi: http://10.1002/cad.20366

Super, C. M., Harkness, S., Bonichini, S., Welles, B. Zylicz, P. O., Ríos Bermúdez, M., & Palacios, J. (2020). Developmental continuity and change in the cultural construction of the “difficult child: A study in six Western cultures. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 170, 43-68.

Harkness, S., & Super, C. M. (2020). Culture and Human Development: Where did it go?  And where is it going? New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development. doi: http://10.1002/cad.20378.